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Drexel University and the Motorola Foundation Partner to Inspire Tomorrows Innovators

June 23, 2009

Drexel University today announced it has received a $50,700 Innovation Generation grant from the Motorola Foundation. The ESTEEM (Exploring Science, Technology, and Engineering Excellence with Math) program is designed to close the gap in the representation of minority women in STEM related fields. The program’s target population will be 40 middle school-aged girls who attend the Morton McMichael K-8 School. Located in Philadelphia’s Mantua section, the school is within a short distance of Drexel’s Main Campus. Its proximity to the University will provide opportunities for tours of the STEM-related academic resources on campus.

The Motorola Foundation’s Innovation Generation grants support programs that engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to build the confidence and skills they need for success both now and in the long-term. In 2009, the Motorola Foundation is providing $5 million in grants to support out-of-school programming, teacher training, curriculum development and other programs that spark students’ interest in STEM.

“We know that the provision of mentoring and role models is cited as a critical factor in programs to increase the participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields (American Association for the Advancement of Science). We are delighted to be able to deliver a highly interactive program with girls who are at a critical age regarding decisions that impact their future,” said Cynthia Livingston, Assistant Vice President of Community Relations and principal investigator for the project.

Minority girls who live in a community with few resources and high levels of violence, morbidity and mortality are often unlikely to have access to accomplished professional women from backgrounds similar to theirs, who can provide encouragement and inspiration. ESTEEM students will meet with women in various STEM fields in 16 one- and- a- half- hour sessions scheduled throughout the school year, and will prepare for those meetings by conducting research on the speakers’ professional areas. Drexel University is working with the Motorola Foundation to increase access to STEM education and equip students for successful futures. Introducing students to the real-world application of concepts they learn in the classroom strengthens problem-solving skills, increases knowledge retention and opens their eyes to the possibilities associated with pursuing careers in those fields.

“Innovation Generation programs make science and math both real and fun for today’s students, bringing to life what they hear from their teachers every day,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. “The work Drexel University is doing to engage students in these subjects will help our next generation to succeed in a global, knowledge-based economy where critical thinking is no longer just a benefit, but a necessity.”

This year, Motorola will convene its grantees at the first annual Innovation Generation Conference. Drexel will join dozens of other grantees to share best practices and cultivate the collaborative learning environment necessary to harness students’ curiosity about STEM.

Founded in 1891, Drexel is the is ranked as one of the nation’s most innovative universities by US News & World Report. Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program, technology and use-inspired research.

To learn more about the Motorola Foundation’s Innovation Generation grants visit


Drexel Public Relations: Noah Cohen 215-895-2705 E-mail:

Principal Investigator: Cynthia M. Livingston, MSW 215-255-7893

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