HudsonAlpha STEM education students
26 Apr 2024


By supporting HudsonAlpha’s Summer of STEM program, Jacobs Space Exploration is sparking a love of STEM among the next generation

Space is serious business in Huntsville, AL. Home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center, the city is packed with skilled aerospace corporations who contract with NASA, each specialized in space flight and exploration. As the United States space program expands and sets ever more ambitious goals, the need for a skilled and educated STEM workforce is crucial to help NASA and its contractors meet staffing needs.

Huntsville is also the home of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The Institute’s mission is to drive scientific advancement through the study of genomics, boost economic impact in biotechnology, and provide educational programming to cultivate the next generation of the STEM workforce.

STEM student experiences, such as summer camps and internships, significantly boost young people’s interest in STEM careers, while also growing confidence in their abilities to be successful in STEM.

Supporting STEM experiences is in Jacobs Space Exploration Group’s DNA. As a NASA contractor, the organization is deeply familiar with the industry’s needs for a skilled and educated workforce and has been a generous supporter of STEM education throughout north Alabama.

“Jacobs recognizes that the ability to recruit strong talent works as a cycle, and that cycle begins with education,” said Jeff Haars, Jacobs Vice President and Program Manager. “Developing the STEM workforce pipeline by fueling STEM programs is a priority for us.”

Jacobs made a generous donation to become a HudsonAlpha Summer of STEM sponsor, a program that helps fund the Institute’s Educational Outreach programs that take place over the summer. Programming covered by Summer of STEM sponsors includes middle and high school summer camps, undergraduate and graduate internships, and educator professional development camps.

HudsonAlpha has hosted summer programs every year for over 10 years, recognizing the importance of offering engaging out-of-school experiences that allow students and educators to learn hands-on. Haars believes these out-of-school activities offer invaluable opportunities for children as well as the teachers who inspire them.

“Out of classroom activities expose students to a more diverse group of people and allows them to meet other people who are interested or already involved in the same fields,” said Haars. “Those connections make a difference in students’ lives. Kids are more inspired when they realize they have the potential to work in STEM and receive the encouragement they need to make those dreams come true.”

Support from Summer of STEM sponsors allows HudsonAlpha to continue offering such important educational experiences for students and educators, which in turn strengthens the STEM workforce pipeline in north Alabama. “HudsonAlpha contributes to good jobs and good schools, making our community a better place and a more attractive place to live,” said Haars. “HudsonAlpha starts conversations and enriches our community’s opportunities.”

HudsonAlpha’s Summer of STEM sponsorships are a powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to our community’s future. As a nonprofit organization, HudsonAlpha relies on philanthropic support to help make STEM opportunities available.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can join Jacobs in becoming a Summer of STEM Sponsor at HudsonAlpha, please contact Elizabeth Herrin, Senior Director of Advancement, at