The health of our country, and of our company, depends on an educated workforce. For decades, our company has invested time, money, and volunteer efforts to ensure that students of all ages have access to a quality education. In particular, we want to ensure they are exposed to science in everyday life, complete high school, and are encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
In the next five years, the US will add eight million jobs in STEM fields. Yet more than 20% of all students, and half of all minority students, drop out of school before graduation. On average, one million students do not complete high school each year. This warrants asking: Who will get those quality jobs?
That question is at the heart of GSK’s support for a range of educational programs for students from all ages and stages, from the youngest elementary, school children to individuals who have overcome adversity and pursued an education as a means of changing their lives.
All of us at GSK can appreciate the joy that comes from experiencing science through the eyes of a child. We see this every year through Science in the Summer™, our free, hands-on, science program for elementary and middle school kids.
The program was started decades ago in the Philadelphia area when one of our scientists, Dr. Virginia Cunningham, gathered extra lab supplies and started teaching kids in her community. She recruited colleagues and was able to secure corporate funding. Today, Science in the Summer continues in Philadelphia, and also is offered in Research Triangle Park, NC and in more than 20 markets across the country.
This science education program features inquiry-based activities and experiments designed to teach elementary and middle school children basic scientific concepts, demonstrate how science is directly related to their everyday lives and get them excited about studying science. Classes in bioscience, chemistry, genetics, oceanography, physical science/electricity and learning how simple machines work are offered.
Why do we put such an emphasis on supporting educational program, especially STEM programs? We have no choice! As an R&D company, we want to foster the next generation of world-class scientists so that we can deliver on our mission.
In addition to the Science in the Summer, GSK supports the following educational programs:
Durham At-Risk Youth Collaborative, which is committed to changing outcomes and expectations for children and families living in a 120-block area of East Durham, NC through the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI).
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, through a $1 million endowment for science teachers pursuing National Board Certification.
GSK Opportunity Scholarship, which provides scholarships for individuals in the greater Triangle Region and Philadelphia who have overcome adversity, such as abuse, serious illness and personal loss, and are pursuing education as a means of changing their lives. The scholarship endowments are more than $1 million each.
United Negro College Fund, which receives GSK support for graduate-level scholarships through the UNCF’s GSK Science Achievement Awards. These scholarships fund individuals majoring in the biological sciences at UNCF-affiliated universities.
The Franklin Institute, which receives funding from GSK for the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, the Science in the Summer™ program, and the Partnership for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS) program.