Developing Future STEM Stars at Camp Skyhook

STEM education that’s nothing but net

In today’s interconnected world, could you survive being in a forest, miles away from home with no cellular reception for an entire week? Through a recent investment made by the Panasonic Foundation, fourth and fifth graders – or Gen-Zers, true mobile mavens – are doing just that and gaining what is sure to be a transformative and memorable experience.

At Panasonic, our innovations are rooted in data. In factories, we’re using data to improve supply chain management. On roads, we’re deploying connected vehicle data ecosystems to help reduce traffic accidents. And in communities across the country, data informs and drives our philanthropic investments.

We know that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs will represent more than 80% of future U.S. jobs, but only 16% of undergraduates pursue these degrees. Globally, the U.S. is ranked 25th in math and 17th in science. We don’t need advanced computational skills to know these are issues that need addressing.

In response to the growing demand for STEM literacy, the Panasonic Foundation has formed exciting new partnerships with organizations that also recognize the need for action. Recently, the Panasonic Foundation made a $100,000 investment in Camp Skyhook, an immersive, outdoor learning experience in the Angeles National Forest that aims to initiate and encourage children’s interest in STEM. Working in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the camp exposes kids in underserved communities to science, nature and – more than anything – the opportunity to pursue new dreams.

Preparing grade-school students for next-level jobs

As a long-time advocate for children, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar founded the Skyhook Foundation with the goal of bringing educational opportunities to students in underserved communities. By investing in Camp Skyhook, we’re providing fourth- and fifth-grade students with access to an innovative science curriculum that was developed in partnership with UCLA and NASA to help students build skills and gain knowledge for the global workforce.

We help kids soar above and beyond the four walls of the class room by providing an engaging STEM-based educational experience in the great outdoors, preparing students to be successful in the 21st century.

Camp Skyhook mission statement

Out of the 20 fastest growing occupations, 15 require serious mathematics or science preparation.

Introducing students to the exciting concepts behind STEM education at a young age is critical. Research indicates that 92% of boys and 97% of girls will lose interest in STEM topics if they are not engaged by the 5th grade. By providing students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in STEM early in life, they will attain a competitive advantage in the 21st-century job market.

STEM equity and inclusion

As part of Camp Skyhook’s mission, students from socioeconomically, racially and culturally diverse backgrounds are encouraged to imagine a future for themselves in STEM as they participate in a week-long, multi-sensory experience in nature. According to research, children who attend programs such as Camp Skyhook have a stronger chance of pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

These programs are in high demand, which makes it difficult for many students to gain access. As important as the curriculum is, it will have the biggest impact by reaching as many children as possible. This investment by the Panasonic Foundation helps cut down Camp Skyhook’s current six-year waiting list.

Camp Skyhook Fun Facts

  • A longitudinal study on the impact of Camp Skyhook through 2023 found a 60% increase in content knowledge from sample questions.
  • The same study saw a 30% increase in girls interested in STEM.
  • 15,080 students have graduated from Camp Skyhook.
  • Camp Skyhook has a 95% graduation rate.
  • 80% of Camp Skyhook students have learned English as a second language.

Together, we can increase opportunities for students to experience and explore career pathways in STEM fields. At Panasonic, we’re committed to investing in programs that help prepare students for success in the global 21st century. For more information on how Panasonic is providing opportunities for students across the world, visit our webpage on Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar