MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 200 teachers from around the world are gearing up to take the trip of a lifetime to Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy (HESA) – the 'game-changing' experience celebrating its 10 th anniversary of inspiring teachers who, in turn, inspire students to pursue STEM education and careers.
Created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC), Honeywell (NYSE:HON) developed the award-winning scholarship program to help middle school math and science teachers become more effective educators in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). During the past ten years, Honeywell has awarded scholarships to 2,176 teachers from 55 countries and 52 U.S. states and territories.
Since 2004, educators have shared their experiences and knowledge to more than 2 million students, inspiring many to pursue STEM education and careers. From winning grants from local and federal governments, to entering students in international and NASA educational projects, to creating STEM-focused after school programs, the impact of the program is continuing beyond the classroom. To help mark the program's decade-long run, 10 HESA alumni have been selected, one representing each year, to be the guests-of-honor at the graduation ceremony on June 23.
"HESA inspired me and in turn touched my students in a unique way. Years later, I was thrilled when I learned that the young engineer at Kennedy Space Center speaking about his wonderful job was one of my former students," said David Auerbach, HESA 2006 alumni and a middle school teacher from Canaan, New Hampshire.This year, 204 teachers from 27 countries, including 144 from 43 U.S. states and territories, will attend one of two five-day programs offered over consecutive weeks from June 11-24 at the USSRC in Huntsville, Ala. Teachers will be given rigorous training focused on science and space exploration including astronaut-style exercises like high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space mission, land and water survival training, and interactive flight dynamics programs. "This program is all about re-igniting passion in teachers," said Tom Buckmaster, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's global citizenship initiative responsible for HESA. "STEM subjects are some of the most challenging to teach, but this experience helps teachers discover new ways of delivering lesson plans to the next generation of engineers, programmers, mathematicians and astronauts." According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in the last ten years, the demand for STEM related jobs grew three times faster than jobs in other fields. However, according to the U.S. Education Department, only 16 percent of high school seniors are considered proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Only half of those students who pursue STEM courses in college actually go on to careers in STEM fields.