Full STEAM Ahead: How Jacobs is turning today’s students into tomorrow’s problem-solving professionals
Each day, Jacobs talented team of approximately 60,000 professionals seeks innovative solutions for every sector, from traffic safety to climate response. Each effort is united with a single goal: to solve the world’s most critical problems. True to their forward-thinking approach, they’ve included students in the process.
STEAM and sustainability are at the heart of Jacobs and the organization is committed to creating inclusive education opportunities that support social value, diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Jacobs is passionate about connecting students with STEAM opportunities,” said Robert Paquin, traffic and transportation engineer. “We’ve set a company-wide goal to reach 50,000 hours of steam volunteering by 2025.”
Currently at 18,000 outreach hours and counting, Jacobs hosts events like virtual homework help, in-person presentations and problem-solving challenges for students kindergarten through high school. The goal is to reach students with opportunities not only to build skills but to see how they connect to their world and future.
“I remember when I was young and my two older cousins became engineers,” Paquin said. “It sounded cool but honestly I didn’t really know what being an engineer meant. That’s why it’s so important to show students the potential that lies within the field of engineering.”
Robert described one student exercise that stood out to him from a recent event.
“The kids were given the task to build a structure, but there was a catch: they couldn’t verbally communicate,” he said. “The teams had to find a creative way to express their plans to each other. The ultimate test was seeing how closely the builders were able to replicate the designers’ plans. It was a wonderful lesson in problem solving.”
It’s not only engineering that Jacobs promotes. The company was intentional when including the ‘a’ in the acronym STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
“STEAM highlights a broader range of interests and enables more people to see their place in the field,” Paquin said. “The addition of the arts is important because design and innovation work together to provide a whole solution. It’s not just science and math that solve problems.”
These efforts all feed into Jacobs’ quest for sustainability, which Jacobs calls The Butterfly Effect. The program provides students with the knowledge they need to put sustainability at the heart of their decisions as the consumers of the future.