- THE MAGAZINE
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
The award honors Laurie Maxson for her ability to balance the educational needs of young people, Generation Y, with the complex challenges facing industry in its need for a technically savvy workforce. Serving as an effective conduit between both entities, her involvement has helped to secure financial support and in-kind donations from organizations such as 3M, Intel and the Kaufmann Foundation, making it possible for the SME Education Foundation to offer science and technology-based youth programs.
“Laurie Maxson’s contribution in spearheading our youth program initiative is the definition of outstanding," says Bart Aslin, director of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation. Her astute understanding of the challenges we face in reaching and motivating young people to take advantage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education has allowed our Foundation to accelerate and expand technology-based youth programs – exceeding the expectations of our partners and ourselves.”
In collaboration with Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit that creates innovative pre-engineering curriculum, Maxson directed youth programs for the SME Education Foundation organizing more than 237 Gateway Academies in 36 states where talented secondary students explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Middle and high school students have been able to take advantage of the Foundation’s Gateway Camps, Gateway Academies, and the sMe (Summer Manufacturing Experience) Institute.
In the United States today, companies continue to cut their workforce and move work to overseas markets where labor is not only cheaper, but offers an incredible pool of talented, technology proficient workers. The goal of the SME Education Foundation is to influence and encourage young people to take advantage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes to better prepare themselves for the highly-skilled jobs industry needs and emerging technologies will demand.
With more than 30 years experience in public education as a teacher and Career and Technical Education Director, Maxson earned her M.A. degree in Special Education from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the Colorado University Regents, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers “Building the Future Award – 2005,” the Career and Technical Education “Colorado Hall of Fame Award” in 2008, served on the National Oversight Board for Project Lead The Way and director of Youth Programs for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation and Project Lead The Way. A writer, she also co-authored an educational curriculum series published and distributed by Sopris West, and conducted presentations and training workshops at both the state and local level.
Project Lead The Way is a national 501c3, not-for-profit educational program that helps give middle and high school students the rigorous ground-level education they need to develop strong backgrounds in science and engineering. For more information, www.pltw.org.
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation – created in 1979, is dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing education and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists. Thanks to the generosity of its partners including corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors, the Foundation has awarded more than $29 million since 1980 in awards, scholarships and youth programs. For more information, visit www.smeef.org.