Embedded Ventures and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Collaborate to Relaunch Project Payload

Four-year commitment and a six-figure donation from Embedded Ventures provides new STEM opportunities for female middle school students

LOS ANGELES, April 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today Embedded Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in dual-use space startups beyond launch, announced a collaboration with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to reignite Project Payload, a program in which middle school-aged girls will authentically experience what it’s actually like to have a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through the design of rockets, payloads, and satellites, along with programming. Participants in Project Payload’s summer camp, taking place this July, will design, build and launch rockets and high-altitude balloon sensor devices at STARBASE in Los Alamitos, CA.

Embedded Ventures (PRNewsfoto/Embedded Ventures)

Both Project Payload alumni and students from USC’s annual summertime program now in its seventh year–Summer High School Intensive in Next-Generation Engineering (SHINE)–will serve as mentors, helping girls to form a STEM identity and bridging the gap to high school opportunities available through SHINE.

A portion of the donation from Embedded Ventures will be made in honor of Summer Medford, a 2019 Project Payload alumna. She was enthusiastic about space tech and STEM, but she really had an unmatched flare for rockets. She even once said, “I only want to do rockets” while brainstorming how she wanted to spend her time on school break. “What an incredible opportunity to honor Summer’s legacy by bringing back her cohort—now in the ninth and tenth grades—to mentor the incoming class of students as they collaborate on something Summer was so passionate about,” said Brit Bostic, Director of Operations at Embedded Ventures.

“Investing our time in the next generation of scientists through STEM education is an extremely important endeavor for us,” said Jenna Bryant, CEO, General Partner, and Co-founder at Embedded Ventures. “My co-founder Jordan Noone (USC Viterbi ’14) introduced me to the Viterbi School and its impressive set of programs, and as I learned more about Project Payload, I knew we had to make sure that this opportunity was not only visible but also readily available to all young women who are interested. We are so excited to provide an experience that encompasses the core elements of the STEM field while celebrating Summer, a fearless engineer who dreamed big and inspired us to do the same.”

According to iD Tech, 74% of middle school girls express an interest in engineering, science, and math, but only 0.4% choose computer science as a major when they get to college (Source: Girls Who Code). Additionally, in a 2019 STEM survey by Emerson, it was stated that two of three U.S. women said they weren’t encouraged to pursue a STEM career.

Since 2019, USC Viterbi reached gender parity in its entering engineering class. “At the Viterbi School of Engineering, our priority is ensuring that every student interested in STEM has equal access to opportunities they wish to pursue, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic standing,” said Darin Gray, Co-Director Viterbi K-12 STEM Center. “We thank Embedded Ventures for their commitment to reviving Project Payload, helping to assist young women and girls achieve their dreams.”

“I am incredibly proud to be an alumnus of a school that is offering such crucial education initiatives to young women,” said Noone (’14), General Partner and Co-founder at Embedded Ventures. “The STEM fields should be as inclusive as any other profession, and it is an honor to help facilitate opportunities for girls to advance their passions.”

To encourage those who previously may not have had the opportunity to be immersed in STEM programming, priority is given to historically underrepresented female students in STEM, but this is not a requirement, and all females are encouraged to apply. To learn more on the program and submit an application, visit the Project Payload website here.

About Embedded Ventures

Launched in 2020, Embedded Ventures is a next generation venture capital firm investing in dual-use space startups beyond launch, best described as “the skunkworks of Venture Capital,” named both for their unique investment approach and backgrounds. Co-Founders Jenna Bryant and Jordan Noone both have atypical industry experiences and strong passions for the communities they represent. The firm prefers to invest in the pre-seed and seed stage startups focused in space operations, digital engineering, and advanced manufacturing. To date, Embedded Ventures has announced investments in Inversion Space, Chromatic 3D Materials, Slingshot Aerospace, KittyCAD, and Skyryse. To learn more about Embedded Ventures, please visit its website, Medium, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube pages.

For more information:

Erin Haworth, High10 Media for Embedded Ventures, [email protected]



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