Science lab-on-wheels will 'trailblaze' a path to inspire hundreds of thousands of students

June 6, 2013
Thomas Tran of Watauga Middle School experiments with air pressure aboard Trailblazer II, a mobile science and engineering lab operated by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. Trailblazer II debuted at a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth Wednesday. Credit: Angel DelCueto.

Today Lockheed Martin and the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) unveiled the brand new Trailblazer II – a 40-foot trailer loaded with exhibits promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – at a launch event at the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth facility.

As the second unit in the Trailblazer fleet, the Trailblazer II is a mobile equipped with five exhibits and hands-on activities focused on space, energy, weather, aerodynamics and biotechnology, designed to tour schools across Texas.

"The Trailblazer program is a key piece of the TAME portfolio," said Savita Raj, TAME executive director. "Having a Trailblazer, especially one as eye-catching as this one, pull up to a school can be pretty exciting. We think that it will even spark an interest in those kids who are 'too cool' to care about science and engineering."

While it's meant to encourage all Texas youth in grades three through eight to pursue STEM careers, the program focuses on underrepresented minority and female students. Currently, more than half of the U.S. population is female, yet only 12 percent of the nation's practicing engineers are women. Furthermore, African American, Hispanic and Native American engineering professionals make up less than 10 percent of the field.

"Lockheed Martin share's TAME's vision to promote diversity in these critical career fields," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of Aeronautics Operations. "We believe that investing in our youth will ultimately enable us to continue driving innovation, as evidenced by the F-16 and F-35 we build at this very facility."

Trailblazer II, a mobile science lab operative by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, awaits its debut at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth. Credit: Angel DelCueto

TAME board members teamed up with five , including , to launch the Trailblazer II, raising more than $250,000 for the program. Over the next decade, TAME estimates the Trailblazers alone will reach more than 200,000 students and travel more than 300,000 miles visiting schools throughout Texas.

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