Nathan Klingbeil and Mark Romito

Mark Romito (right), director of external affairs for AT&T Ohio, presented a donation to Nathan Klingbeil, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, during an April 2 ceremony.

For the second time, AT&T has donated $10,000 to Wright State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science in support of the Wright STEPP program.

Mark Romito, director of external affairs for AT&T Ohio, presented the gift to Nathan Klingbeil, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, during an April 2 ceremony at the college.

Wright STEPP is designed to increase the number of students from public schools in Dayton and Springfield who graduate from high school with the academic skills to earn their bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

“It just fits very well with the AT&T Foundation emphasis,” Romito said. “Anything that could help with the retention of students, to get them through high school and to get a good foothold into college is a high priority for our foundation.”

“We are genuinely grateful to both AT&T and Mark Romito for taking the time to visit with us and for their generous support of our program,” Klingbeil said. “We look forward to continuing our shared efforts to make an impact where it’s needed most!”

Wright STEPP (Science, Technology and Engineering Preparatory Program) is an education intervention program for at-risk and underrepresented students in grades seven to 12. The program enhances students’ preparation for secondary education, educates them about STEM occupations, and encourages their enrollment in STEM-related academic programs.

Operated by the College of Engineering and Computer Science for 26 years, the highly successful program is a partnership between Wright State, Dayton Public Schools, Springfield City Schools, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and local foundations and corporations. More than 1,400 students have participated in the program, with success indicators including an 80 percent program completion rate and 100 percent Ohio Proficiency Test/Ohio Graduation Test pass rate among program graduates.

Students who complete the program are eligible for full tuition-paid enrollment at Wright State in STEM disciplines.

Initial funding of Wright STEPP was provided entirely by Wright State, but since 1990, a variety of donors have supplied funding and in-kind support. They include the Standard Register Co., Sherman-Standard Register Foundation, General Motors Corp., the U.S. Department of Energy, Mead Data Central, the Ohio Board of Regents, American Association of Blacks in Engineering, Corning Glass, Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association, The Springfield Foundation, The Llewellyn Foundation, Della Selsor Trust and the National Science Foundation. AT&T first supported the program with a $10,000 grant in 2011.