The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University in partnership with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) recently hosted more than 140 high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers from across Texas at the eighth annual Engineering Teacher Summit & P-12 Leadership Forum.
The Teacher Summit is offered at no cost to the teachers and administrators through the generous donations of Texas A&M’s Public Partnership and Outreach, Office of the Provost, ETA hand2mind and Texas Instruments. In addition to receiving materials to supplement their high school curriculum, teachers and administrators earned eight hours of continuing education for participating in the event.
Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering, and Dr. Valerie Taylor, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the Look College, each spoke to the attendees. Banks and Taylor emphasized the importance of properly preparing high school students for success in an engineering major. Each provided overviews of the College of Engineering and applauded the participants’ efforts to attend Teacher Summit in order to serve their students using innovative and interactive teaching methods.
Dr. Christine Cunningham was the keynote speaker. Cunningham is the vice president at the Museum of Science, Boston and founder of Engineering is Elementary™, a groundbreaking project that engages elementary children (and their teachers) in principles of engineering and technology. Cunningham spoke on the importance of making engineering more relevant, accessible and understandable to underserved and underrepresented populations.
Breakout sessions in the form of experiential workshops followed the morning presentations. The workshops were designed with participants in mind, allowing interactions with workshop facilitators and fellow high school teachers. The introduction of new curriculum is imperative to addressing the disconnect students have regarding STEM fields.
“The sessions allow for teachers and administrators to work hands-on with the curriculum, allowing for transformation to take place at multiple levels,” said Dr. Johannes Strobel, director of Educational Outreach Programs. “Teachers and administrators leave the summit filled with ideas on how to incorporate their experiences with the curriculum into their own classrooms.”
Immediately following the sessions, panel presentations gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions directly to Texas A&M faculty and students about how to best prepare their students for college courses. Departments within the Look College along with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and several educational companies hosted resource tables to promote programs and opportunities of interest to high school students.
To learn more about the Engineering Teacher Summit & P-12 Leadership Forum, visit the website or call the Office of Educational Outreach Programs at 979-458-8590.