Over 300 guests including 50 students, educators and volunteers gathered at the Westin Book Cadillac on May 14 for the SAE Foundation Annual Celebration. Since its inception in 1997, the event has raised over $6 million to support SAE International’s award-winning A World In Motion® (AWIM) program, Collegiate Design Series™(CDS), awards and scholarships. This year’s event raised just under $300,000 to support the mission of the SAE Foundation to increase student achievement and participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Nationally, 80% of the fastest-growing occupations depend upon mastery of STEM skills, and the growth in STEM jobs is 3 times greater than non-STEM jobs, according to Million Women Mentors. The SAE STEM education solution transforms traditional education by providing teachers with global resources and support to connect classroom learning with real-life application equitably empowering every student to embark on a path of lifelong learning. With Pre-K through college programs, the SAE Foundation has reached over 5 million students globally and engaged over 30,000 industry volunteers to fuel development of the next generation of STEM-fluent innovators.
“This event celebrates what the SAE Foundation, its partners and volunteers are able to achieve together, and we are thrilled with the results this year in terms of audience, corporate support and funds raised,” said Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation Director. Through the dollars raised, we will deliver inspiration and diversity to STEM education programming in communities and schools where the need is greatest.”
The festivities opened with a networking reception where guests were invited to experience the awe and wonder of personal discovery through the eyes of students participating in SAE AWIM programs. Students from Lawrence Technological University shared successes and lessons learned from the front lines of CDS events where teams design, build, test and compete their vehicle against other teams from around the world.
Two 7th graders at Emerson Middle School in Detroit, LaN'adyha Garner and Heaven Brown, welcomed guests and had some fun with the audience as they kicked off the formal program by sharing their experiences with the recently released AWIM Cybersecurity Challenge. In addition to developing competency in science and math, SAE programs enhance 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication that all employers are seeking. The ability to stand in front of a large audience to confidently and expressively speak is one of those skills.
In the spirit of celebration, the event pays tribute to industry leaders whose benevolent spirit and remarkable accomplishments inspire us all. The Foundation presented the prestigious Industry Leadership Award to Roger Penske, Chairman, Penske Corporation recognizing his profound impact on the automotive industry and his philanthropic leadership in the renaissance and revitalization of Detroit. Karen Healy received the Donald W. Ableson Award for Visionary Leadership for her significant contributions to advance the mission of the SAE Foundation. BorgWarner was recognized with the AVL-sponsored Gordon Millar Award for their outstanding global philanthropic support and the recipients of the DENSO-sponsored Young Industry Leadership Awardees were Rohit Jigjinni with Faurecia and Brendan Chan with Navistar.
Other highlights of the evening included a live interview with John McElroy, host of Autoline.tv, and Roger Penske. The interview is expected to be posted to the Autoline website and YouTube channel on June 6 and air in the Detroit market on WTVS on June 9 and on June 13.