Learn More About Us

Join our community

While we continue to build Kids Ahead we need to find young people, parents, teachers, mentors and club leaders who will want to use the Kids Ahead website in the future. We will keep you updated on our progress. If you would like to help us build Kids Ahead through donations, partnerships, quality content or just have an idea you would like to share, please contact us.

Through our STEM endeavors over the last few years, we have also been lucky to connect with many individuals in this vibrant community. We have talked with you face-to-face during our CSI programs and conference participation, interacted with you online through our Kids Ahead and STEM-Works websites and have become "friends" and "followers" through our social media accounts. After connecting with so many wonderful people, we really wanted to have a platform to better engage with you and to share exciting STEM content, ideas, and people. The STEM-Works blog was implemented in May 2013 to serve as a unifying platform for our audience, follwers and friends.

Our Mission

The Kids Ahead program is an initiative to increase the number of kids with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competencies and interests. Our program is designed to inspire young people to learn about STEM through innovative interactions in the physical and virtual worlds.

The Kids Ahead program is part of a larger national initiative being led by Southern Methodist University aiming to improve STEM skills in young people. By providing middle school children access to quality content, activities, projects, events and information, Kids Ahead will spark their interest and passion. Kids Ahead also seeks to provide parents, teachers, club leaders and STEM volunteers the resources they need to keep STEM activities a central part of young people’s lives.

Our Goals

Develop a virtual community in support of our mission. That community consists of people like you. We hope that you will join our community, tell others about us and contribute what you know to this effort.

Create a virtual environment where kids will be inspired, learn and have fun. Kids Ahead provides high quality projects, activities and events for middle school children.

Support parents, teachers, club leaders and other adults all across America that are able to help inspire kids through STEM activities. By providing exciting, fun, challenging quality resources that adults can use as they engage with kids, we believe that STEM-related activities will increase.

Our Impact

By creating a unique virtual environment and a supporting community that is focused on giving kids the experiences they need to see themselves as future scientists or engineers we will ensure our nation has the necessary technical knowledge to maintain our status as a world leader. The Kids Ahead site is an exciting environment built to provide kids access to these fun, exciting and challenging opportunities and activities.

The Kids Ahead project hopes to reach middle school children across the U.S. We believe that it is possible to provide interesting content, fun and creative activities, and access to events and projects in their local areas that will motivate kids to learn STEM skills. The Kids Ahead program will provide parents, teachers, club leaders and other adults the resources they need to be positively impact young people through parenting, teaching, mentoring and club activities associated with STEM subjects.

Program overview

The Kids Ahead website was launched in the Fall of 2010. Initially, kids, teachers, parents, mentors and club leaders will find projects and activities related to three topics: Robotics, Forensics and Wind Energy with location-specific content for the Washington, DC Dallas/Fort Worth, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Seattle, Washington areas. Eventually, we plan to have events identified throughout the entire country and across many more subjects. Kids Ahead is also working in support of organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H Club and the Boys and Girls Clubs by providing resources they can incorporate into their activities.

Explore the articles, activities, cool jobs, and events where kids of all ages can learn and be inspired.

Our Team

Kids Ahead is sponsored by the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at the Southern Methodist University. Through the Board of Advisors for the Caruth Institute, we have a far reaching and very influential group of people helping us achieve our goals.

  • Frank Cappuccio, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Advanced Development Programs and Strategic Planning, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
  • David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University
  • Gano Ehlers, A leader in STEM education for over 25 years
  • Gene Frantz, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Principal Fellow
  • Gary Payton, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs, former Astronaut
  • Sue Payton, Former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, and President - SCI Aerospace Inc.
  • B. J. Penn, Former Secretary of the Navy, former Navy pilot
  • Torrence Robinson, Director of Education and Workforce for Texas Instruments
  • Maxine Savitz, Retired General Manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell, Inc.
  • Karen Shuford, Charitable trust consultant, leader and volunteer for civil agencies and organizations that support medical care, education and the arts in Dallas, TX
  • Carole Young, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Medical City Dallas Hospital, member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor’s Council of The University of Texas System, and member of The Presidents’ Circle of The National Academies Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Medical City Dallas Hospital, member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor’s Council of the University of Texas System, and member of the President’s Circle of the National Academies
  • Jim Young, Former Executive Assistant to the Chairman of EDS. Currently serves or has served on the boards, advisory councils, and/or executive committees, including Kipp Schools
Delores Etter, Ph.D.

About our Founder Delores Etter, Ph.D.

The founder of the STEM-Works program is Dr. Delores M. Etter—an engineer, scientist and innovative leader and Caruth Professor in Engineering Education and the Distinguished Fellow in the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security. As part of the new Caruth Hall at SMU, she is responsible for the Innovation Gymnasium where students will learn through hands-on activities how to be our future innovators.

Her many initiatives are aimed at ensuring all young people are able to have fun, interesting and challenging experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learn more about where she works and about her other initiatives to inspire young people.

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