October 24, 2018

Detroit 4th graders inspired by top engineers during literacy event at Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center – “I learned I can be an engineer!”

DETROIT – The Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center transformed into a small solar kit car manufacturing center on Oct. 24, as 40 fourth graders from Durfee Elementary School worked alongside 10 engineers from the Hyundai MOBIS Technical Center of North America to build solar kit cars.

The Hyundai Mobis Junior Engineering class is the first engineering literacy event of its kind at the new Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center located at Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit. It opened its doors on Oct. 17 with the support of founding partner, General Motors.

“This engineering literacy enrichment activity helps children build vocabulary and comprehension in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Lisa Bastian, head of human resources at Hyundai Mobis, a Beyond Basics partner. But Bastian said this activity ended up being much more than a vocabulary lesson. “It was about creating moments of happiness and opening up a whole new world to these fourth graders.”

When the Hyundai Mobis engineers asked the children what they learned today, the engineers figured they would say they learned how to build a car. Instead, several students shared, “I learned I can be an engineer.” They also asked the children how it made them feel. “The smiles and their answers told it all – “happy,” said Bastian.

“Literacy in vulnerable communities is more than teaching children how to sound out words correctly. It’s about helping them break through invisible barriers that overshadow their hopes and dreams and enables them to experience the world that exists beyond their neighborhood. Fun activities like these provide a spark for lifelong learning,” said Pam Good, co-founder/CEO, Beyond Basics. “We appreciate that Hyundai Mobis continues to be a great mentoring partner for Beyond Basics.”

This is the first time Hyundai Mobis has brought this activity to the United States after working with students in Korea and Frankfurt, Germany. The engineers specialize in research and development, autonomous driving, advanced engineering, electronics, software development and infotainment.

Two groups of 20 fourth graders participated in the two-hour class on Oct. 24 and interacted with four guests from Korea. Each child built a car that they took home. To see the program in action, Kim Junghwan from the Hyundai Mobis Corporate Social Responsibility Team, traveled to the United States with Kim Bohoon, head of management planning team from the National Academy of Engineering of Korea, and Choi Junghoon and Hwang Bukgi, two professors from Hanyang University, Korea. The professors worked with Hyundai Mobis to create the lesson plans to teach the Junior Engineering class material.

To see the fun in action, visit the Beyond Basics’ Twitter feed, Beyond Basics’ Facebook post, Hyundai Mobis’s video and photos. 

 About Beyond Basics
Beyond Basics’ proven methods have unlocked the miracle and power of reading and opened a whole new world and future to those who need it most. Beyond Basics is a 501(c)(3) literacy focused nonprofit organization dedicated to one-on-one reading tutoring and literacy enrichment programs for pre-K-12th grade students and family literacy in Metropolitan Detroit.

 About Hyundai MOBIS
Hyundai-Mobis is a global Tier One supplier (#7) to major automotive OEMs with 2017 sales exceeding $30 billion.  Mobis has 20,000 employees worldwide in 27 manufacturing sites, 48 aftermarket sales offices and 8 R&D Centers to deliver diverse products ranging from autonomous driving, electronics, chassis, cockpit and front end modules, brake, steering, and safety systems to multimedia, mechatronics, lighting, and green car parts.

Editors note: Photos can be accessed here. Questions? Contact Janine Krasicky Sadaj at 248-514-4558 or janine@j9media.com.