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nConnect History

nConnect was founded in 2005 after Scott Keeney, CEO of nLIGHT, a leading manufacturer of semiconductor lasers read "Rising above the Gathering Storm". The citations from "Trends in International Math and Science Study" (TIMSS) particularly piqued his interest. These data clearly documented what he had anecdotally observed among his colleagues and staff, that those who had been educated abroad had faced much more rigorous coursework than the typical US high school student. These data were distressing, but they also offered great hope. While average US students were at the bottom of international comparisons, students who passed Advanced Placement® (AP) tests were at the top of the list.

Based on this data, nConnect was founded in 2005 with the simple and pragmatic idea to provide mentors to encourage and support students taking rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement Courses. By pairing engineers, scientists, and other professionals from the high tech sector with small groups of students taking AP classes, nConnect supports students taking rigorous AP classes with a mentor who provides both an important relationship and who brings greater relevance to coursework.

In 2005, with limited funding and volunteers from nLIGHT, Educational Service District 112, and Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, nConnect (previously known as MAPS) ran a pilot program. With seven engineers and physicists from nLIGHT, the pilot year focused solely on AP® Physics and served twenty-two students from six high schools.

The initial pilot received an enthusiastic response from teachers, students, mentors, and many others in the community. Based on this success, nConnect NW expanded in 2006 to include other leading high tech firms in Southwest Washington such as Hewlett Packard, Sharp Laboratories of America, Underwriters Laboratories, and nLIGHT. Supported by additional funding from local school districts, nConnect expanded to cover AP® courses beyond physics, including chemistry, calculus, biology, and statistics, and to serve over ninety students in ten schools. In 2006, nConnect also established a 501(c)(3) entity and a board of directors. By 2007, nConnect had secured funding from Washington State Legislature, private foundations, school districts, and individuals and began implementing plans to expand its scope of services across the state. For more information feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

© 2012 nConnect