On April 29, hundreds of students from across the U.S. joined a virtual STEM Signing Day celebration, an event honoring students who commit to study a science, technology, engineering or math field at a two- or four-year college or trade school.
Boeing launched the inaugural STEM Signing Day — modeled after signing days for athletes — in South Carolina in 2017. The program continues to expand, with nearly 2,000 STEM students recognized over the past five years. More than 600 students in 16 states will be honored at STEM Signing Day events this year.
“What excites me about being involved in STEM is being able to create meaningful innovation that will improve the way of life and solve the challenges and problems we face today,” said Hillary Berkoh, a senior who will be studying computer science at the University of Washington.
Student honorees at this year’s virtual event heard from David Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO; Cheri Carter, vice president of Boeing Global Engagement; and Sydney Hamilton, Boeing structures stress engineering manager, as well as other inspiring STEM speakers and local community leaders.
“Ultimately it is STEM graduates that deliver on the promises that the world and the universe offer to humanity,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think it gets any bigger or any more exciting.”
Hamilton encouraged students to stay curious.
“It’s a journey, so explore; ask those questions! And most importantly, be curious. Try new things because we’re all out here to help you find your passion and help you pursue it,” Hamilton said. “We are choosing to change the world for the better through STEM. I’m excited to see you as STEM leaders.”
For the first time this year, honorees have the opportunity to engage with Boeing mentors who can provide advice and guidance after graduation and answer questions about their careers.
Mia Castillo, a civil engineering major who has completed her first year of college, was paired with a Boeing mentor last year as part of the mentorship pilot program.
“My mentor helped me with my communication skills, with my leadership skills, my resume and my classes,” Castillo said. “It’s been helpful seeing how the industry works, and it’s helped me develop where I would want to go. Stay connected to your mentor because they really help you.”