STEM Summit
Dr. Kate Blanding opens the Aberdeen Proving Ground STEM Summit Feb. 11 by outlining the goals and ambitions of area STEM proponents. A full house of educators, school administrators and government representatives took part in the kick-off meeting that hopes to inculcate STEM awareness in and around APG.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, along with other members of Aberdeen Proving Ground, understands the responsibility to help usher in the next generation of scientists and engineers.

A key component of achieving this is through successful education of students of all ages in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

STEM education is a multi-tiered undertaking by educators, administrators, government and private industry seeking to improve students' performance in STEM subjects. It is an initiative that leaders at all levels have proclaimed as critical to secure America's standing in the world for generations to come.

"The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us - as citizens, and as parents - are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed," President Barak Obama said during his State of the Union address last month.

Team APG has already taken steps to fulfill the President's call to improve STEM education for our children.

STEM initiatives are being implemented throughout the country, albeit on an individual basis. Educators and administrators have embarked on substantiated efforts with results already proving such efforts valuable. However, the lack of a coordinated STEM effort among APG, local educators and officials, government and private industry has us lagging behind successful programs elsewhere in the country.

Team APG convened a STEM summit on Feb. 11 to coordinate regional STEM efforts. The goals of the summit were to channel support to advance STEM curriculum; propose STEM enrichment opportunities for teachers; and identify ways to stimulate student participation in STEM disciplines. We achieved these goals!

We also asked for volunteers to sign up for one of four different workgroups: lighting the spark, teacher enrichment, curriculum enhancement and strategic communications. Each workgroup will analyze the data collected at the summit. It is our expectation that they will come prepared to our next summit with recommendations on what we need to do to advance our effort.

The resources in this area are so abundant; we just need to harness them. Identifying and consolidating these resources is a role that Team APG can -- and must -- fulfill.

Through STEM, we will foster a fundamental change in our culture, one that praises students who excel at science and math. It is a sentiment echoed by the President.

Aca,!A1/2"We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair," he stated during the State of the Union address.

Team APG has an obligation to a broad and diverse public. The success of STEM education is essential for the mutual success of both students and the workforce development at APG. It is a cycle of success that must begin during the early stages of education.

STEM is a long-term investment that has already proven successful. Imagine the results after a decade of these initiatives being implemented. Luckily, for those of us at APG, we won't have to. It will be our reality.

Page last updated Mon February 14th, 2011 at 09:13