NJIT received $27,000 from Bridgewater-based National Starch and Chemical Foundation to support two NJIT’s pre-college programs, both benefiting women. The Women in Engineering Technology Initiative FEMME received $12,000 while a similar initiative to promote positive changes in the educational environment in Newark classrooms received $15,000.
FEMME works to improve math and science abilities of academically talented girls and encourages them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields. During an intensive five-week curriculum, girls completing fourth through ninth grades participate in a series of classroom and laboratory modules. Depending on grade level, the girls focus on environmental, aerospace, mechanical, or biomedical science and engineering in classroom activities, computer work, hands on laboratory experience and field trips.
FEMME participants take advantage of everything the university has to offer. "They use the labs and the classrooms and are taught by university professors," said Rosa Cano, a program administrator. "We track the girls’ progress, so we know the program works. I've seen tremendous changes in participants. They become more confident and more assertive. They broaden their horizons. The girl who comes into the program saying, 'I want to be an actress,' leaves it saying, "I want to be an engineer.' "
In addition, NJIT's Women in Engineering Technology Initiative received $15,000 for the Center for Pre-College Programs to promote positive change in the educational environment of Newark classrooms and improve students' science and math achievement.
National Starch and Chemical Company, a member of the ICI Group, is headquartered in Bridgewater and is a worldwide manufacturer of adhesives, specialty polymers, electronic materials, and specialty industrial and food starches, with nearly 9,000 employees worldwide and 2007 sales of $4 billion. These donations are part of National's commitment to communities in which it operates, according to a company press release.