During its 2021 STEM Signing Day celebration on April 29, Boeing recognized 92 high school seniors across South Carolina committed to pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree at a two- or four-year college/university. Boeing and Tallo launched the inaugural STEM Signing Day — modeled after signing days for athletes — in South Carolina in 2017. The program continues to expand nationally, 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.
Boeing announced during the event that it will offer student honorees exclusive access to a mentorship program facilitated by the company. The new program will be powered by Tallo, the nation’s premier online platform for connecting students with opportunities that enable them to pursue future careers.
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.
“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.”
“This past year has been especially challenging for high school seniors,” said Casey Welch, CEO and Co-founder of Tallo. “Tallo and Boeing want to ensure students have the support and guidance to succeed in their first year of college. This mentorship program will allow students to connect with people who once were in their shoes in a familiar, professional setting and empower students to make smart career decisions as they begin their college experience.”
The mentorship program will convene in small groups during virtual sessions on Tallo to help students discover high-growth career paths in STEM. The students will have an opportunity to choose career paths of interest to them and be matched with Boeing mentors in those fields. Boeing mentors will host sessions over the course of the next year, providing valuable educational and career guidance.
Additionally, South Carolina honorees heard remarks from Governor Henry McMaster, Boeing’s 787 vice president and general manager and Boeing South Carolina site leader Lane Ballard, plus South Carolina native Vanessa Wyche, who is Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“We are proud to recognize students across South Carolina committed to a STEM education,” said Ballard. “Innovation is critical to our business at Boeing South Carolina. STEM careers — like engineers, mechanics, physicists, IT professionals and beyond — are driving innovation every day to develop new and exciting technologies that will help us travel more safely, efficiently and sustainably.”
Students who participated in the event also explained the stories behind their passion for STEM.
“I participated in Robotics Club in my county, visited Boeing in North Charleston, and attended a Girls Who Code summer immersion program where I learned about different careers in STEM and the impact I could make in this field. I immediately knew that this would something that I would love to be part of my career,” said Ronshia Genwright from Marion County, S.C.
“A few years ago, I experienced my first plane ride during a vacation with my family. Immediately, I was fascinated by the design of the airplane and wondered how an inanimate object was able to fly through the sky,” said Katheryn Ringer from Saluda County, S.C. “After the plane ride ended, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the STEM field. My ultimate goal and greatest hope is to become an aerospace engineer and have the privilege to work for Boeing.”