Amazon's Bezos Promotes Inventor Mindset to Nashville Students

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos showed up at a middle school in Nashville to kick off the area's "Amazon Future Engineer" program. This partnership will bring computer science courses and robotics to schools in Metro Nashville Public Schools, as well as other Tennessee districts.

"I want to encourage all of you guys to think of yourselves as inventors. The future is about invention. We get to make the world a little bit better at a time," Bezos told students and staff at STEAM-oriented Madison Middle School. "And if you have an education in engineering and science and math and robotics and computer science, you will be well positioned to invent that future."

"I know that every single one of you has an incredible mind and with the right resources and tools you are going to put that mind to use," he said. "You're going to invent the future and it's going to be incredible."

Amazon, which is opening a hub for retail operations in Nashville, is providing 21 elementary, middle and high schools with robotics programming, funding to launch FIRST robotics clubs, teacher professional development and $10,000 to expand access to computer science education at each school. The funding is meant to support field trips, hardware and technology upgrades.

The company also intends to fund introductory and Advanced Placement CS courses in three Metro Nashville high schools and other high schools in the state.

"While we may not operate on the scale of Amazon, we clearly believe in innovation, too," Adrienne Battle, the district's interim director of schools, told those in attendance. "We believe in finding new ways to get things done. We believe in finding new way to work together. I know we have a lot to learn from Amazon, and I firmly believe that as this partnership goes forward, Amazon might even learn a few things from our awesome students in Nashville."

Future Engineer is a program that encourages students in K-16, particularly those from underserved and low-income communities, to pursue CS careers.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.