Youth STEM Ambassadors to Peek Inside the World of Aviation and Aerospace

Local students will expand their exploration of STEM careers by tapping San Antonio’s rich aviation and aerospace industry through resources provided by the Dee Howard Foundation in partnership with the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) Texas Chief Science Officer program. The international CSO program empowers middle and school high school students to deepen their schools’ STEM culture and career awareness through youth-led on-campus projects and interaction with STEM professionals.

“The partnership with the Dee Howard Foundation will foster students’ discovery of STEM pathways and exposure to aviation and aerospace careers,” said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. “It is particularly powerful during the pandemic when CSO students are executing their action plans with adjustments for new health precautions.”

The Dee Howard Foundation provides virtual tours focused on aviation and aerospace career pathways for CSO students, who also will interact virtually with STEM professionals. In addition, the foundation provides its popular aerospace-focused curriculum to CSO teachers and advisors to use in their classrooms.

“The Dee Howard Foundation is honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with IDRA and include the IDRA Texas Chief Science Officer program as part of the DHF Pre-K thru 16+ Aeronautical STEM Pathway Initiative,” said Wayne I. Fagan, chair, The Dee Howard Foundation. “We see great synergism between the two programs for the benefit of the youth of our community.”

This new partnership is initially focused on students in the San Antonio area and will be expanded over time to Houston, Galveston and other cities in Texas to help more CSO youth STEM ambassadors foster their peers’ discovery of STEM pathways.

In the CSO program, each participating school selects at least two students to serve as their Chief Science Officers for the school year. IDRA provides leadership training and mentoring for students as they develop and carry out action plans to encourage STEM at their school. Action plans can include things like coordinating field trips, hosting science nights, starting STEM-related clubs, initiating student-led civic action projects, or bringing speakers from local industries to engage students in conversations about the STEM workforce. IDRA manages the Texas expansion of this international program, particularly in historically under-resourced schools and to serve students of color, girls and students in families with low incomes.