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Dobbs, UT Featured in National STEM Campaign

Using the Tickle College of Engineering facilities as a backdrop, University of Tennessee graduate Josh Dobbs (BS/AE, ’17) will be featured in a new national space STEM awareness campaign, Space4All.

The five-year public awareness campaign will spotlight the relevance, impact, and accessibility of space and highlight pathways to success in space-related STEM education and careers. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, four nonprofit space organizations—American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Women in Aerospace (WIA), Club for the Future, and Space Foundation—are leading the unified industry/government partnership to help fill future workforce needs.

Dobbs returned to campus on Monday, June 10, to film a Public Service Announcement for AIAA. The NFL quarterback and president of the UT Alumni Board of Directors was active in AIAA as a student ambassador when he was in school at UT.

UT is the first college where a PSA has been filmed for the national initiative, which was initially announced on April 8 when Vice President Kamala Harris issued a Call to Action to bring the benefits of space to communities across America.

The PSAs will be appearing in science centers and museums across the country.

“As the industry continues to grow and develop and more commercial companies keep pushing the envelope of what they’re doing and putting humans in space, it’s important for our young engineers to know of those opportunities,” Dobbs said. “It’s important for them to know what AIAA is already doing now so that they’re able to continue to build the infrastructure and the platform for opportunities.”

Dobbs spent nearly three hours filming in the Min H. & Yu Fan Kao Innovation and Collaboration Studio on the bottom floor of the Zeanah Engineering Complex. The film crew from Think Twice Media also interviewed Tickle College of Engineering dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair Matthew Mench for the PSAs.

The national initiative is an unprecedented public-private partnership that aims to inspire, prepare, and employ a diverse, inclusive SpaceSTEM workforce. More than 150 corporate, federal, and community-based organizations have joined the campaign as Space Champions.

By 2025, the US STEM workforce will need 3.5 million new workers, according to AIAA CEO Dan Dumbacher, and only 16 percent of the aerospace and defense workers are Black or Hispanic.

Dobbs has served two NASA externships during his NFL career. He spent a month at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of the NFL Players’ Association Career Experiences program.

Dobbs established the ASTROrdinary Dobbs Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and inspiring all members of the community, particularly youth, through educational, economic, professional, and recreational empowerment.

Being able to film the PSA on UT’s campus was important for Dobbs given all the university did for him during his time as a student-athlete.

“It’s really cool to have the support of my alma mater for a national campaign,” Dobbs said. “I think it just shows the perspective and magnitude of this opportunity. This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I want to more people to know about the opportunities in the STEM world and feel there is a place for them. It’s really rewarding to see this project come to fruition at UT.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,