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Bosch and Clemson University Partner to Combat Talent Shortage with STEM education

September 17, 2014

Clemson University automotive engineering graduate student and champion of STEM education named university’s first Bosch Fellow Monday

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As employers worldwide are coping with significant talent shortages, German engineering company Bosch is combating the manufacturing industry’s shortage of a skilled workforce with an eye toward the future, inspiring the next generation workforce with the Bosch Community Fund (BCF) and fellowship program.

South Carolina –based Clemson University is realizing the impact of the program after Mike Mansuetti, President of Robert Bosch, LLC, pledged $500,000 for Clemson’s automotive-engineering fellowships and named automotive engineering graduate student Vismita Sonagra as Clemson’s first Bosch fellow on Monday.  

As part of this fellowship, Sonagra received $20,000 to support her work at local elementary and middle schools, where she participates in activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Mansuetti is confident in the positive impact of STEM education on tomorrow’s workforce, as quoted in Clemson University’s news release:

“Vismita and her classmates represent the workforce of the future. She is well on her way, and we are excited by the potential of those who will follow in her footsteps in the future. Together, Bosch and Clemson will help move students into STEM-related careers and help individuals reach their full potential. We see tremendous opportunities now and in the future for students with a strong STEM background.”

Recruiting and keeping students in the STEM fields is a national problem raising concerns that a significant portion of the population could be neglecting some of the country’s fastest-growing and highest-paying job opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of high school students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Bosch funding will help develop and inform students about the opportunities available in STEM fields.

Other STEM initiatives are beginning to gain footing in the Upstate, including A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering, South Carolina’s first engineering and technology elementary which opened in 2009.  The school focuses on developing critical thinking and communication skills and fostering creativity through engineering, team work and technology. Industry partners include Fluor, GE Energy, Hubbell Lighting and Michelin who provide a variety of support, including hands-on learning opportunities.

Middle and high schools in the Upstate have also implemented new curriculum with a focus on project-based learning programs that will prepare students for the subject matter and soft-skills they’ll need in college and their careers. Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School opened in August on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) Millennium campus, offering opportunities for CU-ICAR students to visit the school and collaborate with young students —one of the core reasons the Bosch Fellowship was designed.

Imtiaz Haque, founding chair of the Clemson University automotive engineering department and executive director of the Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center at CU-ICAR commented:

“She [Sonagra] is the first of what will be many fellows who will help keep America competitive in the 21st century. The Bosch endowment helps us attain two major goals, namely bringing exceptional talent to the automotive engineering program and creating an exceptional talent pool for the STEM fields that are so critical to our future success as a nation.”

Bosch operates in nearly 50 countries, with more than 30 locations in the U.S., including three in the Upstate of South Carolina. In addition to the Bosch endowment, the company has partnered with Clemson University for a cooperative education program since 2000.

TOPICS: Colleges & Universities, News You Can Use, Upstate Thoughts