Donor Spotlight: AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter

Donor Spotlight

AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter

The AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter in Colorado Springs provides over 300,000 annually to STEM teacher grants for local elementary, middle, and high schools as well as STEM scholarships for UCCS and Pikes Peak Community College. We asked Russ Fellers, vice president of AFCEA about why his organization supports UCCS and this is what he shared.

Tell us why AFCEA gives to UCCS? The objective of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Education Program is to grow STEM professionals in El Paso County and the surrounding area. To meet that objective we strive to distribute our resources across the County’s diverse demographics from elementary school ages to older adults seeking to re-enter the workforce, so everyone has an opportunity to benefit. UCCS is a focal point and leader in the local community for higher education. As a goal institution for many students in El Paso county, AFCEA sees great value in partnering with UCCS to achieve our STEM education goals.

Is there something unique about UCCS, or our students that inspires AFCEA to give? UCCS has a diverse and unique portfolio of education programs that match the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s objectives. We proudly sponsor the annual UCCS Teach seminar where we are able to recognize, in front of their peers, the STEM teachers we awarded classroom grants. We also fund the UCCS Rural Teacher Grant that places STEM teachers in secondary schools to fill a critical gap for students in rural parts of our community. AFCEA has also been a long-term sponsor of the UCCS Regional Science Fair.

What are your long-term hopes for the UCCS and Colorado Springs community? We would like to help UCCS produce STEM leaders and contributors from the local to the national level. The hope being that Colorado Springs sustains a place of opportunity for all that is economically healthy and a leader in technology job market.

What is AFCEA and your members’ passion? Enabling anyone in the local community to achieve their dreams is our passion. We place high emphasis on early literacy as a key building block for higher education and especially STEM degrees and certifications. We fund the Scripps-Howard and local KOAA Channel 5 If You Give a Child a Book campaign and were able to provide five books to 1000 students at three Title 1 elementary schools in Colorado Springs this year. We also fund the local Goodwill charity to award Information Technology scholarships that provide certifications, mentorship, and job placement services to those in need.

What do you want AFCEA’s legacy to be? Many years ago the Rocky Mountain Chapter launched the Cyberspace Symposium held annually at the Broadmoor hotel. The proceeds from that event go directly back into the local community via our STEM education programs and partnership with UCCS. We hope our legacy is one of actively supporting the strong military presence in the area and encouraging the growth of cyber and IT in Colorado Springs.