Sometimes it is rocket science

Raytheon's virtual reality environment inspires STEM students

A Raytheon volunteer helps a young student with a science project at a company-sponsored event meant to encourage interest in STEM subjects. Raytheon invests in STEM programs to strengthen pathways for next-generation engineers.

There's nothing better to inspire budding young engineers.

Raytheon Australia's CAVE Automated Virtual Environment is a high-tech, virtual reality chamber that uses large screens arranged in a 320-degree arc to create a fully immersive, computer-generated environment. Because it is built to enable and showcase innovative engineering, it's just the right showcase to spark a passion for STEM among students.

A portable, interactive version of the 3D CAVE chamber (the original is located at Raytheon Australia's Canberra location) will be at the Avalon Airshow, 26-28 February in Melbourne, to show young Australians the power of STEM. 

“Seventy percent of new jobs will be in STEM industries,” according to Jessica Formica, a Raytheon Australia engineering executive based in New South Wales.

The CAVE allows Raytheon’s engineers to design faster and smarter. But there isn’t just one. This facility can link to other CAVEs around the world, including those in the U.S. Think of the CAVES as a centre of interaction between Raytheon, defence stakeholders, subject matter experts and defence partners. 

Lightbulb moments 

The projected future of the Australian workforce makes it critical that companies like Raytheon invest in STEM programs to strengthen pathways in higher education, according to Formica.

Other Raytheon engineers hope to inspire students at an early age, she said. Formica herself works on a range of subsystems across complex large-scale programs, including the Air Warfare Destroyer and the Collins Class Submarine. Her diverse technical background gives her an appreciation for the importance of getting into the STEM field as soon as possible.

“Being a Raytheon engineer is everything that I dreamed a career in STEM could be," she said.

NASA astronauts inspire kids

Raytheon Australia invests in STEM programs to encourage the skills future innovators will need to create sustainable careers. The company has partnered with Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, for 12 years. It's Raytheon’s longest-running sponsorship outside the U.S., Formica said.

Together, Raytheon Australia and Questacon have created an innovative, digital broadcast studio in Canberra, and implemented a primary school, space-based program with NASA astronauts. Raytheon Australia sponsored the Engineering is Elementary program and MathsAlive! exhibit in 2018 to help spark the flame of STEM in children around the country.

The Raytheon and Playford International College partnership has created a new scholarship called 'Innovation in STEM.' Awarded to a student in Years 8 to 10 who has shown drive, initiative and interest in STEM disciplines, it reaffirms the value next-generation scientists and engineers will play in sustaining industry and national security.

To find out more about Raytheon Australia in the community visit the Corporate and Social Responsibility page here.

Published On: 02/24/2019
Last Updated: 02/27/2019