Texas A&M hosts more than 100 teachers at 2010 Teacher Summit focusing on STEM

Texas A&M University's Dwight Look College of Engineering and the College of Science recently hosted more than 100 teachers for the 2010 Teacher Summit, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).The STEM program was created to address the growing concern that the United States is not preparing a sufficient number of students, teachers and practitioners in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.Teachers work on extracting the DNA of a strawberry during one of the hands-on exercises at the 2010 Teacher Summit which was hosted by the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the College of Science. The Strawberry DNA Extraction exercise was presented by members of the PBS series Design Squad.The conference, which was held at the College Station Hilton and Conference Center, was attended by teachers from all over the state of Texas, providing them with a day of interactive experiential learning. Teachers who attended received eight hours of valuable continuing education credit while being exposed to real science and engineering at a research one university. Additionally, the teachers received project ideas and materials to use in their classrooms.  The conference was offered at no cost to the teachers through generous donations from sponsors including Chevron, Nuclear Power Institute, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Spectra Energy, Ford, and the Subsea Tieback Foundation."Our nation is facing a critical shortage of students pursuing degrees in engineering, science, mathematics, and technology and we recognize the crucial role high school teachers play in guiding students with the aptitude for degrees in these areas," says Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. "Universities must be committed to providing teachers the tools and information they need to help students make informed decisions about the career path that's best for them." Featured speakers at the conference included Lisa Brown, aerospace education specialist, NASA-Johnson Space Center; Lawrence Griffing, associate professor, department of biology, college of science, Texas A&M; Rick McMaster, executive project manager, IBM Enterprise Transformation and advisory board member for PBS series Design Squad; and Kenith E. Meissner, assistant professor, biomedical engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering, Texas A&M.Workshop sessions the teachers participated in included: Strawberry DNA Extraction; Virtual Instruments; and the Physiology of Working in Microgravity ."The STEM Teacher's Summit builds relationships with high school teachers, brings them to campus and provides classroom-ready, hands-on activities that apply the curriculum in a way that helps the students connect the dots, to see how chemistry, physics and calculus are the foundational tools we use to improve water quality, create biofuels and develop better ways of delivering medicine at a molecular level," says Bennett. "Each teacher we help to make that connection can, in turn, touch hundreds of bright young minds that might have otherwise missed out on a promising career, simply for lack of information."Written by, Tim Schnettler