Earlier this spring, the JetBlue Foundation opened a granting application cycle to qualified programs and organizations working to fuel STEM learning. The Puerto Rico-specific grants are part of 100x35JetBlue, which is JetBlue’s ongoing initiative to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria through 35 ways over 100 days and beyond, with the JetBlue now focusing on the long-term phase. JetBlue currently serves three destinations in Puerto Rico including its San Juan focus city where JetBlue is the largest carrier, as well as Aguadilla and Ponce. This year, JetBlue celebrated its 16th anniversary of service to Puerto Rico.
Grant Recipients include:
Ciencia Puerto Rico’s mission is to democratize science and transform education in Puerto Rico by engaging and empowering a diverse, global community of scientists, students, educators and allies. Through its "Ciencia al Servicio de Puerto Rico" (Science in Service of Puerto Rico) program, the non-profit will leverage its large and committed network of more than 9,000 STEM professionals and educators to transform the way science is taught on the island.
EcoExploratorio inspires people to explore, share and protect the natural environment through STEM. EcoExploratorio will develop the “In the Clouds” program to enhance Aviation Engineering and Technology, Aviation Weather Forecasting and Sustainable Development. “In the Clouds” will work with 25 girls ages 10 to 14, from economically disadvantaged and under-represented communities throughout San Juan to stimulate their interests in aviation and STEM.
Inter American University of Puerto Rico (INTER), a previous JetBlue Foundation grant recipient, is the second largest university system in Puerto Rico.
INTER Aguadilla focuses on the holistic formation of students through excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At least 30 students per semester will learn the culture of science, and all academic areas will be strengthened with special attention to an interdisciplinary education and the integration of technology. The Aguadilla Campus will form the “Microbial Biodegradation of Jet Aviation Fuel” program as an opportunity to mentor the next generation of the Puerto Rican STEM workforce.
INTER Bayamón produces competent professionals with a high-quality academic education that is dynamic, relevant, and responsive to the latest advances in STEM, aeronautics, business administration, and the arts. The “Give Wings to Their Dreams” project will partner with the School of Aeronautics and JetBlue Foundation to support student pilots from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This program will aid in certifications and provide support toward pilot licenses.
The Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute (PRAMI) is the only institution in Puerto Rico that complies with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), part 147 for Aviation Maintenance Technician schools. Following Hurricane María, their library and equipment were damaged or destroyed. The Interactive Learning Space will receive special new equipment and will use special technical software to supplement traditional classroom learning. The initiative will also help PRAMI comply with the Puerto Rico Approval State Agency for accreditation and the FAA requirements.
The JetBlue Foundation’s new president, Ursula Hurley, was on hand to distribute these grants at a special ceremony where she met with the organizations that provide access to students and communities traditionally under-represented in STEM fields. The JetBlue Foundation was founded in 2013 with a mission to reach 5,000 students in five years and provide educational opportunities through grants and in-kind support to diverse programs, volunteerism and partnerships. Former JetBlue Foundation President Joanna Geraghty, who is currently president and chief operating officer at JetBlue, met this mission and recently passed the baton to Hurley. Hurley, who also serves as vice president and treasurer at JetBlue, will guide the Foundation in its next chapter of empowering future aviation professionals.
“JetBlue and the JetBlue Foundation are dedicated to helping Puerto Rico in its long-term recovery and towards an even brighter tomorrow. Our focus is on investing in the next generation of aviation professionals, and ensuring they are prepared to join the industry,” said Ursula Hurley, president, JetBlue Foundation. “These grants are just one of more than 35 efforts we’ve taken to invest in Puerto Rico, and will fuel both the long-term success of the island and our industry.”
Beyond just grants, the JetBlue Foundation provides in-kind support, mentoring, internships and much more to make a difference for the next generation of aviators, engineers, dispatchers, schedulers, aircraft mechanics and pilots and other STEM professionals. Over the past five years, the Foundation has built ongoing relationships with more than 50 aviation and STEM-focused programs and provided over $1.1 million in grants to help these programs take off and soar. For more information on the JetBlue Foundation, visit jetbluefoundation.org.