Utah STEM Bus Takes to the Road for the 2017-2018 School Year

Pete CodellaNews

Gov. Gary R. Herbert and STEM industry leaders unveiled the Utah STEM Bus (USB) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the State Capitol.

Last year, the Utah STEM Action Center received a $1.5 million grant from Andeavor (formerly Tesoro) to transform a donated Utah Transit Authority Bus into a mobile STEM classroom.

“We are proud to support the Utah STEM Action Center and its mission to further develop a STEM-competitive workforce,” said Brian Sullivan, vice president of corporate affairs for Andeavor and president of the Andeavor Foundation. “By investing in the STEM Bus, we hope to increase students’ awareness, interest and understanding of STEM-related concepts and careers, as well as provide valuable training opportunities for teachers across the state.”

The Utah STEM Bus will reach geographical areas that may have limited STEM opportunities. It will provide hands-on learning experiences to students, parents and educators to inspire a passion for STEM learning statewide.

“We are happy to support the STEM Action Center with the donation of a retired transit bus,” said UTA President and CEO Jerry Benson. “We know very well the importance of a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and math. We’re glad to see this bus start its second life as a mobile classroom and hope to see some of these students working in high-tech bus and train systems at UTA in years to come.”

The USB’s mission is to build STEM talent to support Utah’s workforce needs. The development of this program is an example of business-education partnerships that will ensure the state’s sustainable economic growth.

“We are excited to partner with Andeavor to take STEM ‘on the road,’” said Dr. Tamara Goetz, Utah STEM Action Center executive director. “The demand for the Utah STEM Bus is overwhelming, and we are working hard to reach all of the students that are eager for STEM experiences. Andeavor has been the spark that encouraged other companies to join our team, and we are grateful to everyone for their commitment to Utah students.”

Using curricula aligned with state standards, the Utah STEM Bus piloted the program to more than 3,000 students at 21 schools this year. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive – there is currently a waiting list for USB visits.

Featured classroom curriculum includes:

  • Robotics
  • 3-D Printing
  • Renewable Energy
  • Video Game Design
  • Computer Programming

“We appreciate the generous support of local companies and organizations that have stepped up to join this statewide initiative,” said Allison Spencer, Utah STEM Action Center Foundation director. “Partnerships like these help students gain awareness for career opportunities they might never know existed. Businesses that get involved enjoy a great ROI; they increase the chances of these students coming back and filling jobs in the future.”

The Utah STEM Bus is made possible by contributions from Andeavor, UTA, Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, IM Flash, Adobe, Comcast, Hill Air Force Base, MHTN Architects, Shell Oil, and more. For information on how to become an industry partner for Utah STEM Action Center initiatives, please contact Allison Spencer at aspencer@utah.gov or visit stem.utah.gov.