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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace takes stage to promote Space4All STEM awareness campaign

Prior to the GEICO 500, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace appeared on stage at Talladega Superspeedway with retired NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, commercial astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Vice President Brian Talbot.

The purpose of this diverse panel is to promote the Space4All STEM awareness campaign, a public-private partnership that aims to “spark interest in STEM and future careers in space, and highlight the many ways that space enriches life on Earth.”

The press conference was sponsored by Leidos, one of Wallace's key partners.

“Leidos is proud to work with customers such as the Air Force, Space Force, FAA, DoD STEM, NASA and other leading organizations to contribute to the Space4All initiative,” said Jonathan Pettus, senior vice president of Aerospace Systems at Leidos. “Together, we are working to close this gap by reinforcing the belief that space and STEM careers are truly accessible to all.”

The Space4All STEM awareness campaign is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education and four nonprofit space organizations. The effort was launched on April 8 to “bring the benefits of space to communities across America” ​​in the face of the looming crisis. STEM Worker Shortage.

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According to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the five-year campaign will “focus on the relevance, impact and accessibility of space and highlight pathways to success in space-related STEM education and careers,” and “focus on reaching underrepresented communities to ensure equitable, diverse and inclusive growth in the space industry.”

“By 2025, the U.S. STEM workforce will need 3.5 million new workers, and we need to attract all of the best and brightest talent to this exciting industry, especially from traditionally underrepresented communities,” said AIAA CEO Dan Dumbacher. “Currently, only 16 percent of the aerospace and defense workforce is Black and Hispanic. The aerospace industry has room to improve, and the shortage of STEM-skilled workers needs to be addressed immediately with long-term solutions.”

Leidos is one of more than 150 corporate, federal and community-based organizations that have joined the campaign.

“Through our special partnership with Leidos, we launched this awareness campaign to make meaningful connections with people from all walks of life and help them see themselves in space and STEM,” Talbot said. “This is just the beginning. We look forward to expanding our Space Champions network and adding more space-related companies and educational institutions to shape how people can connect the benefits of space directly to our lives.”

Leidos is the primary sponsor of Wallace's racing team, 23XI, and the official name of the driver's car is the #23 Leidos Toyota Camry XSE.

“With a company like Leidos, I don't think there's any wall that can't be broken through,” said Wallace. “We've proven that together we can accomplish any challenge. Whether it's developing new technology that racing teams can rely on to get faster and better data, or promoting diversity and inclusion in our community, I think the possibilities are endless. I'm excited to continue pushing the boundaries in all kinds of ways.”

Charles Vaughn is a contributing writer for Yellow Hammer News.

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