Editor’s note: Maxar’s Academic Outreach Program has a mission of “inspiring students and faculty by sharing Maxar’s story, fostering the adoption of its technology and advancing collaborative opportunities.” The Program has two groupsa K-12 Committee and a University Committeestaffed by team members who volunteer their time to bring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to students.

Maxar’s Tampa, Florida, office has forged a close relationship with Stewart Middle Magnet School over the past five years to inspire the students to study STEM subjects. Stewart is a nationally recognized magnet school and the school’s John Glenn Top Gun Academy is an honor society for students with an interest in aerospace and aeronautics. Over the years, the Maxar-Stewart partnership has evolved, and we’re now proud to help Stewart with a grant to develop digital STEM educational materials.

John Glenn Top Gun Academy students gather annually for a Challenger, Columbia and Apollo I memorial service at Stewart Middle Magnet School. Image courtesy Stewart Middle Magnet School.

STEM to the STARS grant

Stewart recently took advantage of an Education Research Announcement put forth by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, manager of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory. Given Maxar’s unique insight into developing space-based concepts, Stewart and Maxar worked together to submit a proposal to utilize ISS National Lab assets to engage the next generation of researchers and explorers. Subsequently, Stewart is the only K-12 school to receive this $52,000 grant, titled STEM to the STARS (Students Taking Aerospace Research Studies). It funds the creation of a digital learning library with content sourced from NASA and the ISS National Lab. The library will be geared toward middle school students and available online to educators at Stewart and other schools.

A grant ceremony was held for Stewart in January 2022. From left to right: Stewart’s Lead Teacher Emeritus Lynn McDaniel, President of the STEM Booster Club Brainard Harris, Stewart’s Principal Baretta Wilson and Maxar’s Alex Dunmire.

There are four strategic goals associated with STEM to the STARS:

  1. Create unique, equitable opportunities for students by promoting culturally relevant, inquiry-based instruction throughout Stewart.
  2. Enhance relationships with community STEM partners, like Maxar, and attract additional stakeholders to promote the benefits of space-based science inquiry and discovery.
  3. Develop a culturally diverse and inclusive future STEM workforce by stimulating student interest in ISS missions (NASA cargo resupply and NASA Commercial Crew missions) to highlight career paths that advance space exploration.
  4. Establish an inclusive cadre of students, families, teachers and other professionals who are eager to understand the impact of the ISS National Lab’s influence on scientific research, technology, engineering, medical advancements and future global commerce.

The grant will fund three specific outcomes:

  1. High school aerospace teachers, Project Lead the Way Engineering, Flight and Space classes and the John Glenn Top Gun Academy will have access to monthly space videos to enrich their curriculum. The videos will be produced by a student at the University of South Florida’s Zimmerman College of Advertising and Communications and the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s bioastronautics class.
  2. Monthly professional development opportunities will be offered to teachers.
  3. Stewart staff will host a nine-day ISS Space Camp on campus for 25-30 middle school students for two summers, starting this year. Maxar will be supporting these camps.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Program

Maxar connected Stewart with the NFTE Program, which focuses on providing young students with the knowledge, skills and mindset to become future entrepreneurs in our ever-evolving world. The school added a NFTE class with 24 students for its 2021-2022 school year, and Maxar team members in the Tampa office are providing lessons to complement the NFTE programming to teach the students about the tools and technology available to geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing specialists that can give businesses an advantage in their early stages. The student projects this semester will focus on space and technology.

Educational presentations

Maxar employees regularly hosted Stewart students at the Tampa office before the pandemic to provide them with a glimpse into the world of geospatial technologies. Maxar’s Tampa office specializes in geospatial data production, advanced geospatial analysis, and artificial intelligence and machine learning, supporting the U.S. government and commercial clients. The lessons were based on those capabilities.

Maxar team members and Stewart students have rewarding and engaging interactions.

Maxar looks forward to continuing our relationship with Stewart Middle Magnet School. Additionally, Maxar is proud to support efforts to engage students with an interest in STEM, ultimately developing a culturally diverse STEM workforce supporting the space industry and empowering students to pursue educational paths that advance space exploration.

Engage with Maxar

Educators can request a Maxar speaker to present to their students on a range of topics related to Maxar’s capabilities.

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