AIAA Signs Agreement with Project Lead The Way to Increase "STEM" Education in Schools

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Project Lead The Way (PLTW), to foster collaboration between the organizations in strengthening educational content and learning opportunities in the “STEM” subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in schools across the country.

“Project Lead The Way is one of the most effective and creative STEM education curriculum programs in the U.S., successfully encouraging middle and high school students to study technical disciplines,” said Mark Lewis, immediate past president of AIAA and Willis Young, Jr. professor and chair of the aerospace engineering department at the University of Maryland. “Their STEM education goals are compatible with our education goals at AIAA. I know from firsthand experience how inspiring their hands-on approach can be – my own children have benefitted from PLTW course material. So I am extremely enthusiastic about this partnership opportunity."

The agreement between AIAA and PTLW combines the organizations’ educational resources in an effort to create a diverse, qualified aerospace engineering workforce for the future. Teachers who are involved with PLTW may become AIAA Educator Associates, with access to all of AIAA’s aerospace science materials. The agreement also allows AIAA and PTLW to work together to strengthen PLTW’s STEM curriculum in schools, create aerospace science clubs for students, and increase learning opportunities for teachers through field trips for outside the classroom education. The agreement also promotes partnerships between classroom teachers and local AIAA chapters in an effort to increase mentoring opportunities for teachers and to increase interaction between students and aerospace professionals in the classroom environment.

“Project Lead The Way has informally been a partner with AIAA for years, with AIAA providing countless opportunities for students – and teachers – to interact with professionals in the field of aerospace engineering,” said Thor Misko, acting CEO of PLTW. “We have similar goals of meeting the scientific and technological workforce needs of the United States now and in the future. By formalizing our relationship we can expand opportunities provided to our students – and teachers – and further ignite the imagination of students through innovation and learning.”

Project Lead The Way, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization that is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs for schools. PLTW's comprehensive curriculum has been collaboratively designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in students. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. PLTW courses are taught in nearly 4,000 schools nationwide, engaging more than 350,000 students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.

AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.

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