When Daylight Solutions, Inc., became part of Leonardo DRS in 2017, it brought along not only a leap forward in laser power through its vaunted quantum cascade technology but also a commitment to serve the community by promoting interest in the so-called STEM subjects in elementary and secondary schools.
The business’s STEM initiative, launched in 2016, is an employee-led and organized volunteer program. Its broad objective is to enhance educational opportunities for young people of San Diego County, Calif., in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The first event staged by the STEM outreach committee of employees who guide the initiative was Jr. Scientist Night for Daylight families in July 2017. Attendance was about 100 and included children of all ages who circulated among about a dozen STEM exhibits put together by employees. Participants also listened to a presentation by CEO Tim Day on the scientific method, then got their hands dirty by building motors, learning how colors mix, and performing chemistry experiments.
Shortly after the event, the outreach committee was approached by a third-grade robotics team known as the Electric Bananas, and Daylight decided to sponsor the group for their season.. Plans are to invite them to the Daylight facility in the next few months.
“We are also planning to host a middle school STEM class at our facility in April,” said Tom Watson, senior manufacturing engineer and committee chairman. “This class is from an under-served community, so we are happy to provide this opportunity for them to see our facility, meet some of our team, and learn some beginning principles about lasers and optics.”
In addition, the committee plans to participate in a science night event at an elementary school in early June. One of its 2018 goals is to develop a mission and vision statement to better guide and focus its efforts.
“I expect that one outcome of this will be to look for opportunities to promote educational opportunities specifically in the fields of optics and photonics,” Watson said. “We believe these fields are somewhat under the radar compared with many other STEM education disciplines.”