Nissan Partners with SAE International to Bring STEM Education to Tennessee

On May 15, fourth- and fifth-graders from Homer Pittard School and Mitchell-Neilson Schools participated in a Jet Toy Challenge at the Campus School for Middle Tennessee State University, thanks to SAE International’s A World in Motion (AWIM) program sponsored by Nissan North America.

Students worked in teams to design a car made from construction paper, balloons, plastic wheels and plastic tubing of different sizes with the objective of making the car go far and straight. They quickly learned that the precision of the chassis made from construction paper and the wheel axle placement were critical to making the car go as straight as possible. After working with and adjusting the designs, students then realized how plastic tubing size affected the ability to blow up the balloon, and ultimately, the functionality of the car.

Finally, the challenge was on, and student teams launched their cars down the hallway tracks. The winning car traveled over 10 meters as onlookers cheered. Winning teams for distance and accuracy were awarded medals.

“The whole purpose of the program is to introduce kids into the world of science and engineering and get them interested and excited about science,” said Julie MacIntyre, program manager for A World in Motion.

The partnership between Nissan and SAE started in 2007 when the corporation donated $1.5 million to develop an educational curriculum for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Upon completion of the literature-based curriculum, SAE International became the first organization to provide in-classroom STEM education for this younger group of students.

Most recently funded by a $125,000 grant from Nissan North America, the AWIM program for elementary-age students is being delivered in six counties and 21 schools across Middle Tennessee, including eight in Rutherford County. The program reached 2,000 students in Middle Tennessee, teaching them the problem solving and analytical skills they will need to be successful throughout their education and beyond.

“We at SAE greatly appreciate Nissan’s support, which has made it possible to impact student learning and increase leadership skills that will provide our communities with future innovators needed to solve the complex problems that plague our communities, country and globe,” said Stacia Wetherington of the SAE Foundation.

“Nissan has been supportive of STEM-related activities, especially within communities where we have operations. For us it’s about building future leaders of our company,” said Justin Saia, Nissan Corporate Communications. “We want to expose young people to skills, problem-solving and critical thinking that can be applied someday, we hope, to careers in our plants and in our U.S. operations.”

About the SAE Foundation

The SAE Foundation, the charitable arm of SAE International, encourages and increases student participation and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It funds awards and scholarships as well as full continuum of K-16 STEM educational programs, including A World In Motion®, F1 in Schools, and the Collegiate Design Series™. SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 148,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering.

About AWIM

AWIM is teacher administered, industry volunteer assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to life in the classroom for students kindergarten through grade 8. Benchmarked to the national standards, the AWIM program incorporates integrated STEM learning experiences through hands-on activities reinforce classroom STEM learning.

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and, or visit the U.S. media sites and

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