Tech, Decatur Students to Honor GE Family's Commitment to Education

Officials with the Georgia Institute of Technology plan a special reception this evening to honor an on-going partnership with The General Electric Co. and its philanthropic foundation, the GE Fund. The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Gordy Room of the Wardlaw Center, 177 North Avenue.
Among the guests will be students participating in the Mentoring for Success Program, a collaboration of the City Schools of Decatur and Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).
The GE Fund recently provided Mentoring for Success a three-year, $255,000 grant to help the program increase female and minority student interest in science and math, especially among students in sixth- through 12th-grades.
"We're proud to support a program such as this, because developing brighter minds with a keen interest in math and technology makes sense for GE in so many ways," said John Rice, President and CEO of GE Power Systems.
"In Mentoring for Success, Decatur students are paired with students from Georgia Tech and the Atlanta University Center schools," Rice said. "Working side-by-side, college students help their younger counterparts improve their math and science skills while, at the same time, hopefully sharpening some students' interest in careers that might use those skills and talents on a daily basis. Perhaps, one day, even a few of these young students might join us at GE."
Decatur was chosen for the program because it is a good school system with a mix of students of different races and incomes, CEISMC Director Paul Ohme said. Although the system's test scores are solid as a whole, African American students tend to score lower in math and science. Also, minority students and girls do not enroll in higher-level science and math courses as frequently, he said.
"These young people who have not taken these courses and have not challenged their minds may not be in a position to compete in the economy later on," Ohme said.
"This is an exciting opportunity for both our students and our teachers," said Jane Carriere, mathematics and science coordinator for the City Schools of Decatur. "We welcome Georgia Tech mentors into our classrooms to work with, challenge, and encourage our students."
Birgit Burton in Georgia Tech's Office of Development helped secure the original Blank Family Foundation grant of $50,000 for Mentoring for Success in 2002. She said she is pleased the program continues to earn support from prestigious companies such as GE.
"We need this type of support, particularly for these programs that reach out to the community," Burton said, adding that only about 30 percent of Georgia Tech's revenue this past budget year came from the state. Much of the rest was raised from outside sources, often from private gifts and grants such as those from the GE Fund.
In return, almost 6 percent of Georgia Tech's expenditures for 2002-just over $35 million-went to public service activities such as those offered through CEISMC and similar programs.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified technology and services company dedicated to creating products that make life better. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, television programming and plastics, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

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