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Boeing Employees Mentor STLCC’s SEED Students

October 10, 2011

SEED students  
SEED program participants performed during a special
kickoff event for Boeing employees in observance of
Hispanic Heritage Month. The students are, from left, Gleen
Sanchez, Damaris Dominici, Marlon Montas, Maria Montes
and Jose Fana.

A chance meeting at a Cinco de Mayo Festival five years ago has enriched the educational opportunities of students from Central America and the Caribbean who attend St. Louis Community College through the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program.

As a result of that meeting between Irene Seale of Boeing and STLCC’s Susan McKnight, members of the Boeing Hispanic Employee Network (BHEN) have served as mentors to the SEED students. The students have visited the Boeing facilities, performed for employees and toured Boeing’s Leadership Center.

BHEN is one of the company’s seven affinity groups designed to further personal and professional development, promote diversity within the company and strengthen networking. The members share a common interest, such as race, gender or cultural identity.

“Working with the students has helped BHEN achieve community outreach goals and foster strong relationships with the students,” said Seale, a Boeing supply chain specialist. “We hope the students return to their countries with lasting memories of Boeing employees and that we have somehow enriched their lives. Perhaps one day some of them may work for Boeing or in some capacity with Boeing.”

SEED students currently are studying quality technologies and computer business applications. Students who arrived at STLCC in 2010 are all deaf or hard of hearing.

Learning from the pros in the field significantly enhances classroom experiences.

“This gives the students an opportunity to interact with professionals in their field of study,” said McKnight, the SEED program coordinator. “Some of the Boeing mentors are quality engineers, so our students get to learn about practical applications of what they actually are studying.”

BHEN members and SEED students also have collaborated on community service projects.

“I really hadn’t done any home repairs before, but here, with our friends from Boeing, we helped fix the home of an elderly woman,” said Fausto Hernandez, a hearing impaired student from San Juan Teotihuacan, Mexico. “We also went to Joplin to help repair homes damaged in the tornado. Joplin was a great, yet difficult, experience for me. It’s sad that so many people had to go through this.”

The partnership has been highly successful for both groups, McKnight said.

“We are so grateful for our friendship with the members of BHEN and the doors BHEN has opened for this very special group of students,” McKnight said.