Championing the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Exploring Northrop Grumman’s Commitment to Education Equity

Northrop Grumman employee in branded shirt stands holding a backpack during an event.

By Joseph Cohen

As an aerospace and technology leader, our team at Northrop Grumman knows that delivering excellent products for our customers in the future will depend on how we prepare the next generation of diverse science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals today.

That’s why so much of our company’s charitable giving and the contributions of the Northrop Grumman Foundation — totaling $297 million over the past 10 years — focuses on STEM education for underserved youth from kindergarten through college. It’s a companywide commitment that begins with our employees.

“I want kids to see someone who looks like them in STEM and know it is a viable option for them as well,” shared Northrop Grumman Staff Engineer Elizabeth Gutierrez. She’s led community outreach and STEM programs as a volunteer for more than 15 years. “My passion comes from a desire to help them see all the possibilities that abound.”

Here are three ways we’re supporting the next generation of STEM:

1.) Employee Volunteering

Northrop Grumman employees have volunteered more than 600,000 hours over the past decade, many in support of STEM education. We incentivize volunteering through programs like Community Service Grants (CSG), which award employees with more than 40 volunteer hours in a calendar year with a $500 grant to a qualifying organization of their choosing.

Anthony Hickman, senior principal software engineer, received the CSG in 2023 and used his grant to support a team of students participating in SeaPerch, an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) competition. Anthony started a SeaPerch student group in 2020 at Emma Jewel Charter School in Melbourne, Florida, where 95% of the students come from underrepresented backgrounds and most face financial hardship.i

Anthony recalled how finding a place for his student group to test and practice their ROV was a challenge.

“The schools that I work with don’t have the resources,” Anthony said. “I’m trying to help level the playing field.”

He said the CSG helped purchase inflatable pools and other materials they needed, and in 2023, their student group won third place in the SeaPerch category of the Brevard Innovation Games. The latter is a STEM competition for Brevard County, Florida, fourth through 12th graders; Northrop Grumman is also a co-sponsor.

2.) Higher Education STEM Opportunities

Going from school to a STEM career often means combating issues like self-doubt for students who haven’t seen STEM role models from their own community, Northrop Grumman Program Manager Pablo Mendoza explained. He remembers wishing he had a mentor of his own after graduating, and now as a volunteer, he’s mentoring a new generation through the transition from college to career, and volunteering with organizations like Great Minds in STEM.

“Students have to overcome challenges to believe they belong and see that they can be successful in any role,” Pablo said.

In 2023, we provided more than $8.7 million of higher education support, including $1.9 million to 45 colleges and universities to encourage enrollment and support of a diverse student pipeline in STEM fields. In addition, our ADVANCE program helps students transition from Northern Virginia Community College to four-year programs at George Mason University. More than 60% of participants are first-generation college students and 65% are students of color.

3.) Localized STEM Grants

By providing more than 206 localized STEM grants in 2023, we were able to make a national impact with a local touch.

“We look for schools where students have fewer opportunities,” said Carolyn Cavicchio, senior director of corporate citizenship and executive director of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “We want to equip teachers to introduce STEM subjects and encourage students to maintain their interest through college.”

Localized grants empower schools to address their unique challenges to offering STEM programming. Grants have been used to support STEM equipment, robotics programs, professional development for teachers and more.

“It’s common for underrepresented students to discover an interest in STEM and then give up because they don’t have engagement throughout their K-12 education,” Carolyn said. “Between the impact of our local grants and employee volunteers, we can continue inspiring students all the way to successful STEM careers.”


These examples offer just a glimpse into Northrop Grumman’s comprehensive support and commitment to education equity. The future of STEM is bright, and we’re proud to encourage the next generation of innovators and creators to define possible.

Read more about our commitment to communities and to creating a more sustainable, safe and inclusive world. You can also explore what life’s like working at Northrop Grumman.



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