The Nordson Corporation, a business that delivers precision technology solutions to more than 35 countries around the world, is no stranger to the power of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) innovation. The company was founded through the acquisition of patents covering the “hot airless” method of spraying paint and other coatings materials, and has a deep understanding and appreciation for the importance of continuous discovery and invention.
Nordson’s commitment to innovation and one-of-a-kind technology has fueled the company’s growth and success for more than 65 years, as well as its belief that helping develop the next generation of STEM professionals is key to staying ahead of the ever-changing marketplace.
A Commitment to STEM Education
Since 1989 the charitable arm of the company, the Nordson Corporation Foundation, has given more than $60 million in grants to improve the quality of life in its communities, placing a special focus on STEM and other education-related causes. The foundation was honored at the Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day event on Nov. 5, 2021 and received the Foundation Leadership Award in recognition of its exceptional work in Northeast Ohio.
“STEM education is basically the future,” said Cecilia Render, Executive Director at the Nordson Corporation Foundation. “Students need to be able to use critical thinking skills to assess an issue and discover a viable solution. So even if a student does not choose a career in STEM, the thought process that is taught through STEM education is necessary in all aspects of life.”
The Nordson Corporation Foundation and NIHF have partnered for more than 20 years to provide innovative STEM programming to more than 20,000 children across 15 states. Because NIHF programs are inspired by its Inductees, children participating in programs nationwide are introduced to relatable STEM role models, real-life examples of what they too can achieve.
“Students cannot aspire to be something that they are not familiar with. Role models are important in all fields but especially in STEM, and particularly for students of color,” Render said. “As the world’s demographics are changing, we need to make sure that those students in the fastest growing communities, our Black and Brown communities, are exposed to opportunities in fields where they have not been traditionally represented.”
Building a STEM Pipeline
To improve diversity within STEM fields, early exposure to innovation is essential. Research published by Opportunity Insights, a team of researchers and policy analysts based at Harvard University, found that the earlier children are exposed to innovation, the more likely they will invent into adulthood.
For children who live in the areas where the company operates, the foundation generously provides scholarships to attend Club Invention® and Camp Invention®. This gives underserved children the opportunity to connect with STEM concepts in accessible ways and ultimately become the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians.
Since NIHF’s programming is continuously researched and tested prior to implementation, Nordson remains confident it is helping to spark creativity and imagination in young minds through its partnership with NIHF.
“We love that NIHF reaches students where they are and inspires them to be inquisitive,” Render said. “That’s the starting point, piquing an interest in the field.”
The company views its partnership with NIHF as the beginning of a pipeline of STEM programs offered in its communities across the country. “If you live in a Nordson community, there are offerings starting with Camp Invention and Club Invention in elementary all the way up to college scholarships,” Render said.
After participating in NIHF’s programs, children are encouraged to attend Nordson’s Tech Corps, a one-week camp that teaches coding, 3D printing and even video game design. Through this program, young innovators have the opportunity to develop life skills including public speaking and leadership during a time in their lives when building confidence is essential.
Learn More About the Nordson Corporation Foundation
NIHF would like to sincerely thank the Nordson Corporation Foundation for its continued support and confidence in NIHF’s nonprofit mission and programs. To learn more about how the foundation supports communities across the country where its employees live and work, we invite you to visit its website.