E-STEM Awards inspire the next generation of environmental innovators

Pratt & Whitney is investing $250K in nonprofits focused on environmental STEM (E-STEM) education

The students worked on vastly different projects -- cleaner-burning cooking fuel in Nigeria, the use of solar panels in the U.S. But they reached the same conclusion: STEM can help solve environmental problems.

They did their work through the organizations Green Growth Africa and Envirolution, both of which were among the 2022 winners of the inaugural Pratt & Whitney E-STEM awards – a program run in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) to support environmental STEM education. Also known as E-STEM, this education approach is key to inspiring the next generation to tackle different climate challenges using science.

  • The awards, launched in 2022, provide $250,000 in funding annually to nonprofits around the world focused on E-STEM education.
  • In 2023, 15 nonprofits from 12 different countries won awards to support environmental STEM education programs.

The awards reflect Pratt & Whitney's work to design more sustainable aircraft engines, as well as its social responsibility program – part of an effort across the aviation industry to reduce its environmental impact through technology.

“Every sustainability innovation our industry sees today is thanks not only to dedicated engineers and technology experts, it’s thanks to the educators that inspired them to think about the environment and how we interact with it,” said Satheeshkumar Kumarasingam, chief transformation and strategy officer at Pratt & Whitney, an RTX business. “To continue implementing sustainable aviation technologies—or any renewable energy technologies--we need to invest in E-STEM education for students.”

“Companies are increasingly investing in technologies to address near-term challenges to climate change,” said Judy Braus, executive director at the NAAEE. “However, not all companies are investing in the people who will solve the next set of environmental challenges — today’s students. We hope more companies will join this initiative to help equip young people with E-STEM skills and build a new, green workforce.”

This year's winners


2023 Sustainable Aviation/Transportation awardee
A single Sustainable Aviation/Transportation award is granted to an organization focused on E-STEM solutions to aviation and transport.

  • Women in Aviation International, United States ($10,000)Women in Aviation International's Aviation for Girls program will add a special learning module on sustainable aviation science to its STEM education youth program. The module will include videos, webinars and hands-on STEM activities during Girls in Aviation Day events.

2023 Global E-STEM Excellence Prize awardees
Global E-STEM Excellence Prize winners demonstrate excellence in established E-STEM education programs.

  • Deniz Temiz Derneği, Turkey ($25,000)Deniz Temiz Derneği strategically combines STEM and marine environmental literacy to raise awareness among youth to motivate and engage them to build a cleaner and safer future. Students and teachers, often from underrepresented communities, build problem-solving skills to develop innovative marine projects with roots in the principles of STEM.
  • Europejska Fundacja Kosmiczna, Poland ($25,000)Europejska Fundacja Kosmiczna organizes a series of interactive workshops and lectures to show how satellite data can help observe climate change and its effects. More than 5,500 students have participated in this project since 2021.
  • Techbridge Girls, United States ($50,000)Techbridge Girls trains educators to engage girls and non-binary youth in meaningful, real-world problem-solving using STEM so that they can gain the skills needed to help solve complex environmental issues. Their Earth Engineers program annually reaches thousands of girls who identify as Black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC).

2023 Global E-STEM Innovation Grant awardees
Global E-STEM Innovation Grant winners put together promising proposals to launch new E-STEM programs.

  • Associacion Territorios Vivos, El Salvador ($5,000)The project Little Seeds focuses on the conservation of forests in El Salvador. Students in “Little Seeds” workshops will learn to monitor the health of trees, identify invasive species, and more.
  • BLAKE, New Zealand ($15,000) – BLAKE will develop a virtual reality lesson about climate change within their existing New Zealand Virtual Reality (NZVR) program. Over 10,000 students, including those from Māori and Pasifika indigenous groups, will study how climate change impacts the ocean through this engaging program.
  • FabLab Winam Foundation, Kenya ($10,000)FabLab's new GreenKit program provides hands-on learning to inspire and empower girls to study green energy. The program will foster curiosity and promote sustainable practices through the exploration of green energy, IoT, AI, and digital fabrication technologies.
  • Green Girls Platform, Malawi ($10,000) – Green Girls Platform’s proposed project aims to train 500 young people – primarily girls -- aged 11-20 in three underserved communities in Lilongwe to use E-STEM for climate solutions. Young people will be trained on E-STEM's role in climate action, identify local environmental issues, and then develop tailored E-STEM solutions.
  • Green Growth Asia Foundation, Malaysia ($15,000) – This program will engage students aged 10-17 from indigenous Pos Kemar to improve water sanitation using sustainable practices. Workshops will focus on water-quality analysis and utilize water filtration technologies to engineer community-driven solutions.
  • Nova Scotia Community College Foundation, Canada ($15,000)The College’s Techsploration program will feature a new E-STEM component. More than 400 ninth-grade girls will attend a series of workshops to increase students’ environmental literacy, build STEM interest and skills and create pathways to environmental careers.
  • People Protecting the Environment Foundation, Thailand ($15,000)This organization will bring together local youth and rice farmers to reimagine agriculture in Thailand. Students will learn about the sustainable agricultural practice of using microorganisms to break down rice stumps, instead of burning old crops. They will help encourage this practice with local farmers and implement the plan.
  • Smart Cheli, Nepal ($10,000)Smart Cheli provides young girls with mentors who share the technical and personal skills necessary to excel in STEM fields. They also show how STEM applies to real-world issues including environmental problems.
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), United States ($15,000)SFI will design E-STEM lesson plan resources and educator professional development workshops for teachers in Maryland and Oklahoma. SFI will then expand reach outside the two states by leveraging their nationwide Project Learning Tree network to the share these educator resources across the country.
  • UNICON, Nepal ($15,000)UNICON’s project combines workshops, hands-on activities, and partnerships to foster environmental stewardship, creativity, and inclusivity amongst Nepalese students, especially girls. Their goal is to nurture a new generation of eco-conscious leaders for a greener Nepal. Workshops will focus on the intersection of aviation, STEM, climate change, sustainable energy, and transportation.
  • Webfala Digital Skills Initiative for All, Nigeria ($10,000)Webfala’s proposed project is to provide innovative STEM and environmental literacy education programs and resources to 3,000 young students (aged 11-18 years) from 20 underserved schools in Kwara State, Nigeria. Webfala wants to inspire and empower students from marginalized communities to actively participate in the STEM and environmental fields.