STEM Education and Youth Outreach
Inspiring the next generation of innovators
To meet the changing needs of the food and agriculture industry, skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are essential.
We aim to partner and create tools for students – from K-12 through university – that will encourage them to be curious, think critically and ask questions in an effort to make better evidence-based decisions. Working collaboratively, we provide funding to prepare the next generation of leaders by encouraging students to learn more about and pursue careers in STEM, particularly in the food and agricultural industries.
There are not enough young people educated in the STEM fields to meet the growing demands of the industry. According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue University, about 58,000 jobs are likely to open each year in food and agriculture through 2020. The strongest demand is for STEM dependent jobs like plant scientists, water-resource scientists and engineers and precision ag specialists, among other positions.
At Monsanto we’re using our voice, resources, technology and people through collaborations to build the STEM knowledge and skills necessary to meet the growing workforce demands of the food and agriculture industries.
Some of the initiatives in which we’re currently involved include:
FIRST Robotics – The Monsanto Fund supports FIRST Robotics Competition teams in United States communities to nurture student interest in STEM. The organization’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs.
Feed, Nourish, Thrive Campaign – Developed by the STEM Food and Ag Council, a project of STEMConnector®, of which Monsanto is a member, the campaign aims to increase the number of people working to feed the planet’s growing population through STEM careers. The campaign’s online platform connects users to STEM education resources and career opportunities.
University Outreach – We reach students by participating in science conversations at universities and partnering with student groups like Planet Forward, Net Impact and professional agricultural sororities and fraternities. As a sponsor of Net Impact, Monsanto has helped design solution labs that engage emerging leaders on topics such as food security and the effects of climate change.
Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP) – This global program has helped 89 scholars pursue careers in plant breeding and related science fields focused on improving wheat and rice crops – the world's largest food crops.
Women in STEM – While women make up about half of the workforce in the United States, they only fill 25 percent of the jobs in STEM fields. We believe inclusion and diversity are key elements to success; great ideas and backgrounds coming together to create new innovations and discoveries. That’s why we’re working to improve opportunities for young girls to get involved with STEM education early, as well as helping to improve the visibility and availability of female role models in STEM careers.
America’s Farmers – Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, America’s Farmers programs work to make a positive impact in rural America through the support of communities, schools and youth. The programs have awarded more than $36 million across the United States since 2010.
- America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education encourages eligible farmers to nominate their local public school districts to apply for $10,000 and $25,000 grants to enhance math and science education.
- America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is a scholarship program that provides students an opportunity to earn a one-year $1,500 scholarship to help fund their education in an ag-related field of study.
- America’s Farmers Grow Communities, while not strictly an educational initiative, provides an opportunity for eligible farmers to win a $2,500 donation to direct to a rural nonprofit of their choice. Since the program’s inception, winning farmers directed nearly $2.3 million to nearly 1,000 4-H Clubs across the country.
Partnering with 4-H – Monsanto partners with the National 4-H Council to support positive youth development programs. Launched in 2014, the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience is a partnership between Monsanto, the National 4-H Council and Land Grant Universities that helps more than 10,000 young people annually develop the professional, leadership and STEM skills needed to support the future of the ag industry and feed a growing world population.
In recent years, the program has tasked participants to engineer a food distribution system that evenly dispenses soy-based fish food pellets to demonstrate the value of aquaculture; build a water windmill structure that simulates how wind-powered electricity can deliver clean, safe water to crops and farm animals; and learn about honey bee habitats, the role of honey bees in modern agriculture and challenges faced by bees and beekeepers.