STEAM on The Ray is a collaborative effort of the Callaway Foundation, Kia Georgia, the Center for Sustainable Communities and Chick-fil-A operators.

The Southeast has the largest industry in investment, job creation and innovation in the clean economy. Every part of the supply chain for electric vehicles (EV)—vehicle manufacturers, auto parts suppliers, battery manufacturers, and recycling plants—operates in Southeastern states. Governor Brian Kemp’s leadership has made Georgia the “electric mobility capital of America,” and the state is leading the Made in America clean economy boom. Since 2020, Georgia has attracted 40 EV-related projects, creating an estimated 28,000 jobs and leading the country in new clean energy investments. The Inflation Reduction Act has only accelerated this trend, with demand for EVs at an all-time high. 

The Ray’s STEAM on The Ray program for Georgia middle and high school students was implemented in response to this need. We deliver two classroom engagements using a curriculum that includes a set reading list and hands-on learning lessons. Students will also participate in a tour of The Ray Highway and the Kia Georgia plant. In this way, students are introduced to the exciting infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies available today—and the rich career opportunities they offer.

STEAM on The Ray program objectives:

  • Introduce middle and high school students to a hands-on, project-based STEAM learning experience on The Ray Highway
  • Contribute to and participate in Georgia’s multifaceted workforce development efforts, particularly in West Georgia and in the complex transportation and energy sectors
  • Promote greater accessibility to STEAM education for traditionally underrepresented populations

2023 Program Accomplishments:

Four student groups participated in tours and presentations from Troup County High School (55 students), Hillside Montessori in LaGrange (13 students), Creekside Middle School in Cataula (35 students) and Sharon Elementary School’s RoboKnights in Atlanta (10 students). The students had the opportunity to visit KIA Georgia, where they observed the advanced manufacturing process and learned about vehicle production. They also visited the Georgia Visitor Information Center (VIC) and engaged directly with the technologies showcased there as part of The Ray Highway.

Two groups (200 students total) participated in the final in-class activity, including Hillside Montessori and Creekside Middle School. The Ray partnered with the Center for Sustainable Communities and the Georgia NASA Space Grant Consortium to develop and deliver a hands-on activity for the students centered on the carbon cycle, emphasizing the transportation sector and vehicle tailpipe emissions. Students played the role of carbon molecules and traveled around the room to various stations representing different carbon cycle stages. These stages were broken into two sections: pre-industrial revolution and post-industrial revolution. The students then mapped their journey on the whiteboard, divided into pre- and post-industrial revolution maps, visually depicting the human effect on the carbon cycle. After the activity, students shared their future career interests and discussed how those aspirations could be linked to sustainability, environmental justice and community health.

The Ray also engaged with students at three student-focused events: 

  • Drew Charter School’s “Workshop Day”
  • Park Elementary School’s “Steam Fling Career Day” 
  • Troup County High School’s “We Heart the Arts Festival”