George Westrom created Future Scientists and Engineers of America (FSEA) in 1991 to address the critical shortage of American children who are enrolled in college-level science and engineering programs. Mr. Westrom was concerned that the United States would fall behind in the world economy without a skilled and motivated future generation to keep the country on the leading edge of technological change.
He secured initial funding from the American Electronics Association and the National Science Foundation to start FSEA while continuing his full time employment. FSEA started with two clubs in Orange County, California. It has since grown to include more than 4,200 children in 137 clubs in 13 states with more than 185 large and small businesses across the country serving as sponsoring organizations. More than 400 volunteers donate 22,336 hours annually.
The after-school program stimulates an interest in science and engineering by providing young people with hands-on projects that lead them to a greater understanding of technical and scientific issues. The program involves scientists and engineers from the community in the educational process, serving as mentors to both the teachers and the young people. One of the most popular projects on the elementary level is the "land yacht." Students are divided into teams of two and, as mentors from the technical community watch and advise, build wind-powered cars.
The program provides participants with real life experience and helps build skills that will help the students gain future employment. Today there are chapters throughout much of California, as well as in Arizona, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.