Bulls and United Airlines partner on community program for students at Infinity High School

The Chicago Bulls and United Airlines announced today the launch of a new community program with Infinity Math, Science & Technology High School in Little Village – a predominantly Latinx neighborhood in Chicago. The program, which will conclude in May, is focused primarily on providing Latinx youth with opportunities to explore professional pathways across the STEM industries. It will also support the school’s efforts to strengthen its art curriculum and include programming for students through a collaboration with Bulls Creative Strategy & Design Advisor Don C. to design a deck of cards for the Bulls’ “Los Bulls Game” giveaway on March 15 vs. the Sacramento Kings at the United Center.

Through this program, students will complete a series of workshops focused on a specific pillar of STEM at various locations throughout the city. The first workshop will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Take Flight” exhibit, where students will climb aboard an actual United Airlines Boeing 727 and learn about the technology that shapes commercial aviation. From seeing first-hand how a 727’s mechanical, electronic and hydraulic systems work to talking with a United Airlines pilot and experiencing the exhibit’s flight simulator, the newly reimagined exhibit will allow students to get a peek behind the curtain on how the airline connects people around the world. The students will then explore the “Wired to Wear” exhibit focused on wearable technology, including prosthetics. After which, they will complete a hands-on workshop to build their own prosthetics.  

"As a daughter of Colombian immigrants, earning my wings had been nothing more than a dream when I was a child because I had never seen a pilot who looked like me. Today, as a proud Latina pilot for United Airlines, I am ecstatic about this new community program because I know first-hand how it will not only expose Latinx youth in Chicago to leaders and employees in the aviation industry but also ensure all those who dream of flying have the opportunity and pathway to do so," said Captain Claudia Zapata-Cardone, United Airlines A320 Captain and President of the Latino Pilots Association. "By introducing students of color to careers in aviation, this program is building on United's ongoing efforts to ensure the next generation of pilots and aviation workers better reflect the communities and customers our industry serves every single day. This program truly allows students to soar to new heights and I cannot wait to see their eyes light up when they walk onto the museum’s very own United Airlines Boeing 727.”

In February, the students will visit the Discovery Partners Institute, a research center focused on workforce and skill development for tech companies across Chicago, where they will learn about professions within the industry, the fundamentals of coding and build a mock mobile application and website. In March, the students will enjoy an exclusive tour of O’Hare International Airport to gain insight into the aviation industry. Later in the year, participating students will visit and speak to executives at the United Airlines Headquarters in downtown Chicago.

The Bulls also partnered with select nonprofit partners to help the students explore other aspects of STEM, including the Gray Matter Experience – a nonprofit that provides students of color with access to engaging business workshops, guest speakers and resources to empower them to pursue their entrepreneurial interests. Through the workshop with Gray Matter, students will tackle topics centered on building individual and community equity and discuss how they can bridge the equity gap through STEM. Following, students will explore the history and architecture of Little Village on a tour of the neighborhood led by Chicago historian and influencer Sherman “Dilla” Thomas.

“In recent years, the Bulls have made a concerted effort to provide students of color access to educational opportunities across various industries, expanding their vision of their future and the vast career paths and professions available to them,” says Bulls Vice President of Community Engagement Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry. “Our program with United is an extension of those efforts. We are excited to partner with them on this initiative and with Infinity High School for the second season.”

A highlight of the program will be the students’ collaboration with Don C. for the “Los Bulls Game” giveaway. In partnership with the students, all of whom are in the Junior class, Don C. will design a deck of cards inspired by the rich culture and history of the Latinx community, specifically Little Village. The card designs will also be showcased during the “Los Bulls Game” across various in-arena elements. The 47 participating students, all of whom will attend the game, are also working toward earning their associate degree in addition to their high school diploma through a two-year early college program offered by Infinity.

The program with United marks the Bulls’ second time partnering with Infinity – a continuation of the team’s efforts to increase its investment in Chicago’s predominately Latinx community, especially through educational opportunities for students at Chicago Public Schools. Last season, the Bulls partnered with Alt_Space Chicago, a nonprofit that works to revitalize South and West Side communities through art, on a yearlong arts program for a group of students at Infinity, which concluded with a final showcase and surprise visit from Don C.

United’s Commitment to Chicago

United is Chicago’s hometown airline — from headquarters in the iconic Willis Tower to the expansive operation at O’Hare International Airport, United is one of the largest employers in the state with more than 14,000 employees. United operates up to 450 daily departures from O’Hare and takes customers to more than 200 destinations around the globe. The airline has dedicated itself to making a difference in the communities it serves every day, which is why the airline has partnered with more than 30 non-profit organizations, charitable foundations and companies in the Chicagoland area, including the Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Red Stars, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Girls in the Game, My Block My Hood My City and many more.