To the editor of THE EAGLE:
As we enjoy the last few weeks of summer before the school year begins, I wanted to take a moment to share a unique summer experience that I am looking forward to sharing with my students at Lee Middle and High School.
As a teacher, I appreciate the value of lifelong learning and am constantly working to further my education in order to better myself and to share knowledge and experiences with my students. This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for the inaugural meeting of the GW-MIT Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Policy Institute. It is my duty to teach about and inspire interest in STEM. Currently, there is a drastic lack of gender and ethnic diversity in educational programs and career fields related to STEM. To be globally competitive, it is critical that we address the waning interest in STEM among our students through policy and practice.
George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Science and Engineering Program for Teachers and the affiliated Network of Educators in Science and Technology (NEST), hosted the GW-MIT STEM Policy Institute. The five-day program offered an opportunity for teachers from across the nation to truly become immersed in issues and innovations related to STEM education. The institute featured presentations by national experts, and visits to prestigious D.C. research and policy advocacy associations.
Perhaps most importantly, the institute offered me the opportunity to discuss key issues in STEM education policy, learn to be an advocate in my community, and engaged with federal policy makers on Capitol Hill about advancing STEM education. I met with Rep. Richard Neal and Sen. Warren and had interesting discussions with both their staff aides about STEM topics.
For many, the first day of school signals only the end of summer. This year, the first day of school should also signal a new opportunity for our community to advocate to public leaders about the importance of advancing STEM education. President Obama has called for an "all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math." We must work together to move American students ahead in science and math achievement, to prepare an effective STEM workforce, and to broaden the participation and interest in STEM to a more diverse population.
I cannot wait to get back to the classroom and share this energy and interest in STEM with my students and I hope that we can come together as a community to inspire our neighbors and leaders to do the same.
R. M. HUNGATE