nConnect was founded in 2005 by Scott Keeney, CEO of nLIGHT, a leading manufacturer of semiconductor and fiber lasers. nConnect’s mission was informed by the National Sciecne Foundation report called "Rising above the Gathering Storm
" which highlighted the relatively poor science and math scores for the average US high school students when compared to their global peers. However, this report also offered hope. While the average US students were not as successful, students who passed Advanced Placement® (AP) tests were at the top of the list in both math and science.
nConnect was founded in 2005 with the simple and pragmatic idea to provide mentors to encourage and support students taking rigorous STEM courses. nConnect began as a small pilot program in 2005 with 22 physics students and 7 physics mentors from nLIGHT.
nConnect has expanded with the support of local schools, community organizations and other high tech companies in Southwest Washington. nConnect’s vision is guided by three core beliefs:
- More rigorous courses are requisite in high school if US students are to be competitive in the global economy.
- All students should have the opportunity to succeed in rigorous courses — not just the privileged.
- Mentors can play a significant role in education to both help many more students succeed in challenging courses and also support teachers.