Ivanka Trump made a surprise visit to a group of applied science students at a Connecticut high school on Monday morning, in one of her most recent efforts to showcase the importance of STEM education.
The first daughter and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty spent time with students part of the Norwalk Early College Academy, a program at Norwalk High School developed by IBM. The curriculum allows teenagers to complete a high school diploma and associate degree in software engineering in just four years.
As part of her White House portfolio, Trump has pushed for more technology education in schools and has spearheaded some public-private partnerships to make that happen. The Norwalk appearance was just the latest in a series of school visits in recent months.
“As part of the Administration’s commitment to economic growth and job creation, we are laser focused on helping Americans prepare for the jobs of the future," Trump told Refinery29 via email. "I was in Connecticut with IBM CEO and Chairman Ginni Rometty to meet with PTECH students, who will graduate in spring 2018 with both a high school diploma and an associate degree in software engineering. Skills training and hands-on learning are critical to meet the demands of our workforce."
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But even though the pictures showed Trump with a group of smiling students, not everyone was happy she dropped in unannounced. (Her visit was kept under wraps as a security measure.)
Some parents pulled their children out of class when they learned Trump was visiting.
"This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons," Norwalk parent Karey Fitzgerald told News 12 Connecticut. "I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home."
Trump confirmed to Refinery29 she plans to do similar visits to other schools in the future.