GASEF Funding Awards June 2021

On June 14, 2021, the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation announced awards of $58,000 in funding to 8 organizations to improve K-12 STEM education.

1. $3,000 to Innovation for Learning to support TutorMate and TeacherMate programs

In response to the disruption in learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Innovations for Learning (IFL) has launched Ready-Set-Read: a corporate engagement program that combines employee volunteerism for enrichment tutoring with high-dosage tutoring delivered by qualified IFL paraprofessionals to help the children and grandchildren of corporate employees achieve literacy success.  Funding will also support TeacherMate 1:1 instruction.  IFL is also working with school districts to design an intensive remediation plan to catch students up once they return to the classroom. Funding will support all of these efforts at a time when their funding stream from TutorMate has been severely decreased.  Many GA employees have participated in TutorMate over the past few years and we want to support this mutually beneficial program.

2. $5,000 to Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair  for their annual event

All funding for the GSDSEF goes directly into putting together the Science Fair and Outreach programs for the benefit of the student participants only. The Science Fair is operated fully by volunteers, who annually assist with science fair activities. The GSDSEF is a highly respected event that has promoted science to all 7th-12th grade students in San Diego and Imperial counties for 66 years. Over the years the GSDSEF has propelled thousands of students into STEM studies and careers, ranging from Astronomy to Zoology. The fair promotes scientific literacy and interest in the fields of science to the students, but also provides students with a valuable hands-on experience.  The GSDSEF provides opportunities for student recognition and invaluable networking for these students who aspire to pursue STEM careers.  The GA Sciences Education Foundation has supported an Advanced Materials Award at the fair since 1995.

3. $10,000 to the Museum of Science for providing STEM kits

The Museum of Science (Boston) has developed a flexible learning curriculum, including Try-It! Kits, to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM learning experiences, no matter their physical learning environment. Try-It! Kits provide students in grades 1-5 with the opportunity to think like engineers as they engage in discovery and creative thinking to solve real world challenges. Each kit includes all the materials a student needs to complete an engineering design challenge, removing the responsibility of families to gather “common household items.” Funding will enable the Museum of Science and the San Diego Food Bank to distribute approximately 500 Try-It! Kits to families living in San Diego County. The Museum of Science has been working in partnership with the Food Bank’s Director of Programs, who is deeply inspired by the partnership the Museum has built with the Greater Boston Food Bank in Massachusetts and is eager to provide San Diego families from the most vulnerable communities with the same STEM learning opportunities.

4. $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego for their Stepping Stones to STEM Success program

Since 2012, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego’s STEM program has engaged thousands of young people of diverse, predominantly low-income backgrounds in a hands-on discovery of many different facets of STEM. This program has sparked their interest in STEM, helped give them a competitive edge in their academic studies, and paved the way for them to pursue future STEM studies and career opportunities. The Stepping Stones to STEM Success program engages youth through a thoughtful and educational approach where participants learn STEM subject matter through hands-on activities. These supplemental, year round classes occur in the Boys & Girls Club STEM labs, and help ignite interest and aptitude in STEM subjects. Funding will support equipment and supplies for the Stepping Stones to STEM success program at all facilities open at the start of the 2021 Academic Year.

5. $5,000 to Ocean Discovery Institute for their In-School Program

Funding will support the In-School Program which provides more than 4,000 students from City Heights, one of San Diego’s most urban, low-income, and racially diverse communities, with science education from September 2021 to June 2022. From 1st grade through 5th grade, they provide students with tuition-free science programs during the school day. Ocean Discovery students will go on field trips to see tide pools, wetlands, and kelp forests along San Diego’s coast, where they will make observations, engage in interactive activities with plants and animals, alongside their classmates and mentors. The program objectives are that students from an under resourced community believe a scientist is someone they can become and that they achieve academically in school.

6. $10,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside for their STREAMing Ahead program

Funding received will support the STREAMing Ahead program during the 2021-2022 school year. STREAMing Ahead offers weekly sessions, four days a week. Youth participate in immersive projects that provoke high-level thinking and problem-solving skills, which are proven to facilitate long term learning retention. The projects span from one to ten days depending on the subject matter. Employing a hands-on approach to STREAM principles encourages youth to imagine creative solutions to broad societal challenges in a fun and engaging way. STREAMing Ahead also equips youth with the skills needed to successfully enter today’s workforce. This pandemic year, BGCO served over 2,600 youth, 81% of which come from minority backgrounds. Due to our proximity to Camp Pendleton, many of their youth members are military connected and in need of extra support services and mentoring.

7. $10,000 to Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones Colorado Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen for the Mile High Flight Program

Funding will support The Mile High Flight Program (MHFP) that takes students to secondary educational institutions for tours and briefings in their scientific and aerospace related departments. They visit aerospace, engineering and other scientific focused companies in the Front Range locations in Colorado to ensure their students are made aware of the career opportunities in high wage careers. They conduct glider aircraft orientation flights. They select the most motivated, capable and physically qualified students for ground and flight training in powered aircraft through their first solo flight as pilot in command. The MHFP generally starts with 60 - 80 students. Demographics may vary year-to-year, but averages would be 60-75% African-American, 20% Latino, 10% mixed, 10% Caucasian. The chapter has a twenty plus year history of working with youngsters grades 8-12, showing them the numerous opportunities in STEM fields and careers in scientific and aerospace related industries with the overall goal of increasing minority representation in these fields.

8. $5,000 to the San Diego Natural History Museum for their Environmental Science Education programs

Funding will support the Environmental Science Education programs with the funds used within one calendar year; the funding is critical to help the Museum keep these programs free and accessible to all students. Funds will enhance Environmental Science Education opportunities by providing live, topical presentations for students, teachers, and out-of-school-time organizations. Their resources are aligned with California-implemented Next Generation Science Standards and continue to be of particular interest to K-5 students, teachers, out-of-school-time organizations, and families. Students are also exposed to new STEM career possibilities through career spotlights.  The Museum works closely with the San Diego Unified School District, which has an extremely diverse student population, with more than 15 ethnic groups and 60% of students are eligible for the free or reduced meals program, and 27% are English learners.  They will build on the success of their live on-line programs, which had an average of 300-500 participants per event.

Since 1995, the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation has provided support for K-12 STEM education projects, and has given over $650,000 to science education non-profit agencies in San Diego and other locations to improve elementary, middle, and high school STEM, with a focus on traditionally underserved students. 

The Foundation also supports STEM outreach for GA&A employees via the GASSSS  (GA Scientists/Engineers Supporting Science/Engineering for Students) program, where GA employees perform education activities in K-12 settings, are reimbursed for STEM purchases, and are provided with a charge numbers for their time.  Through December 2020, over 662 employees have participated in the Foundation’s GASSSS outreach program, which has provided over 2600 outreach hours to GA staff and over $171,000 in funding to schools and programs for STEM supplies and support.

To support the employees involved in education outreach and the GASSSS program, there is now a GASSSS resource room in A20/2008 that has a large amount of outreach resources and is open to all employees. For additional information, contact Larry Woolf at