Record breaking pilot shares urges local students to consider STEM career

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News 12 This Morning/Monday May 19, 2014

(WRWD)--"STEM: science, technology, engineering and math," explained pilot Barrington Irving.

It's the focal point of Irving's educational program "Dream and Soar " where, with the help of Mitsubishi, he shares his story with students across the country.

"I'm where I am today because someone shared their story with me," he said.

And Irving's story is a unique one.

"Starting off from humble beginnings, [coming from a] rough neighborhood in Miami. [I was a] football star and life changes when I meet an airline pilot," he explain. "The next thing you know, I decide to pursue a career in aviation."

He started pursuing that aviation career at age 16.

Seven years later, he set a Guinness World Record for being the youngest person and also the first black person to fly by himself around the world.

"We need more minorities and women to become engineers and scientists," he said.

Adding to the female minority STEM population is a challenge 14-year-old Janna Nagai says she's ready to meet.

"I want to be a mechanical engineer," Nagai explained.

After hearing Irving's story, she and her fellow students at Morgan Road Middle School had the opportunity to present their class project to the head of Mitsubishi.

"It's amazing because I feel honored to that I'm able to be presenting in front of the president of Mitsubishi," she explained. "And, in front of the first youngest black to fly around the world."

Irving tells 12 he hopes his message will help as Nagai and other 8th grade students at Morgan Road prepare for high school.

"There are companies out there that are looking and seeking talent," he said. "And that's what this is about to create a sense of awareness and also let students know what their aptitude is."

Students at Morgan Road Middle are now eligible for a new project Irving is working on. It's called "flying classroom" and is virtual curriculum that will allow students to follow him as he and a team of scientists travel the world on expeditions.

For more information about Flying Classroom, click the attached link.

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