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Commitment to STEM runs in the family

BSC teammate Nathan Burgess serves as part of Boeing’s STEM Signing Day Mentorship Program. Now, he can watch his daughter grow as part of the program, too.

Boeing South Carolina (BSC) teammate Nathan Burgess has a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It’s something you might expect, as he has spent 12 years working for Boeing and the 787 program, currently working at BSC as a programmer analyst. Recently, he took the opportunity to serve as a mentor for one of Boeing’s 2021 STEM Signing Day recipients.

“It can seem a bit awkward virtually sitting down with someone you hardly know and start discussing their future plans,” Burgess said. “But, actually, I had a very positive experience with my mentee. I understand the challenges that students face upon entering a STEM field, and I provide insight and advice based on my own experiences.” 

BSC teammate Nathan Burgess (right) stands with his daughter, Ashley (left), following STEM Signing Day.

STEM Signing Day, which launched in 2012 at BSC, is similar to college signing days for athletes; the next generation of South Carolina STEM talent are recognized for their pursuit of a two- or four-year STEM-focused degree after graduating from high school. The 2022 South Carolina STEM Signing Day was held at Joseph P. Riley Park, home of the Charleston RiverDogs, on May 20, where 90 students from across South Carolina were honored. 

All STEM Signing Day students are also offered the opportunity to participate in the Boeing Mentorship Program, which matches students with Boeing teammates currently working in a STEM field. The mentorship program began in 2021, which is when Burgess began to take part. 

“It was wonderful to see the maturity and decision-making process being used by the students, and I was excited to be a small part of that,” Burgess said. 

The 2022 Mentorship Program will be even more special for Burgess – his daughter, Ashley Burgess, was honored during this year’s South Carolina STEM Signing Day. 

Ashley recently graduated from Summerville High school as the class salutatorian. She also earned her Associate of Science degree from Trident Technical College after participating in the schools early college program. She plans to attend Clemson University in the fall and study engineering.

“Ashley has always been interested in the STEM field. It was neat to see how her favorite classes migrated around math, chemistry, and physics,” Burgess said. “I am very excited for Ashley to participate in the Boeing Mentorship Program. I love seeing the diversity of students who take part in our programs. But, the reality is that you very rarely ever see someone in our own family in these programs. So, it is especially exciting to see my daughter on the recipient side, while I can be on the serving side. It elevates my pride and joy to a whole other level.” 

STEM Signing Day honorees were joined by representatives from Boeing and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) for the ceremony. Pictured (left to right): Darrel Larson, VP of 787 operations; Lisa Fahl, Senior Director of 787 Quality; Ashley Burgess, STEM Signing Day honoree; Raj Patel, Senior Leader of the Engineering Design Center; James Richter, Director of Workforce Development for SCMA.