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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

Building a skilled and diverse pipeline of STEM talent is critical to U.S. competitiveness as well as global innovation. The biopharmaceutical industry has an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on this issue by supporting efforts to increase enthusiasm for STEM-related studies and career paths among young people.

As a STEM employer, Cubist believes there is an urgent need to prepare the next generation of innovators working to improve the quality of life for people around the world with new medicines, as well as tackling other challenges such as developing alternative energy sources and solutions to world hunger. As we strive to meet the growing demand for qualified and educated talent we have focused on providing real-world, hands-on experience to young people and partnering with non-profits and educators in their efforts to create and sustain programs to ignite enthusiasm for STEM. Currently, Cubist’s efforts include:

For students, making connections between textbooks and classroom instruction to life skills, the real world, and sustainable careers is too abstract and often difficult. To help address this, Cubist opens its doors to young people, particularly those who may not have as many opportunities to be exposed to science. When students visit us, see our labs, participate in hands-on, inquiry-based activities and hear from our employees, they are able to see how what they are learning in the classroom translates into solving real problems such as curing life-threatening infections. We help students see the broad spectrum of opportunities in STEM, but beyond that, we are showing students that STEM is something that is interesting, fun and most importantly, possible.

To compete in the global economy, we need to continue to make STEM education a priority. Clearly there is an opportunity for all of us within the biopharmaceutical industry as well as our partners in the community, educators and policy leaders, to exponentially increase our efforts to engage young people in STEM, boost academic achievement and spark an interest in careers in related fields. Now let’s get out there and get it done.

Carmela Mascio
Senior Research Associate, Cubist

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Carmela Mascio
Senior Research Associate, Cubist

Carmela Mascio is a Senior Research Associate in the Infectious Diseases department at Cubist Pharmaceuticals. In her 10 year tenure she has worked on a number of discovery research programs, including one of the company’s antibiotic candidates currently in late-stage clinical trials.

She is an active and contributing member of Cubist’s Corporate Giving Committee, where together with colleagues, she helps review and award grants to support non-profits with STEM programs, and seeks, engages and mobilizes Cubist employees to volunteer with these organizations. In her community outreach work she has been a strong advocate for young scholars by introducing them to STEM, demystifying science through interactive, hands-on activities/demonstrations as well as helping students to understand various career opportunities in science-related fields.

Prior to joining Cubist in 2003, Carmela was the lead Microbiologist at Bio-Concept Laboratories. She received both her Bachelor’s of Science with a Minor in Medical Laboratory Sciences and Master’s of Science with a specialization in Microbiology from the University of New Hampshire.

 

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

The key to addressing the STEM skills gap and bolstering U.S. economic growth lies in collaboration between the private and public sectors to prepare the 21st century workforce.

Currently, only one in five of U.S. students are interested and proficient (17.3%) in the STEM subjects, though STEM represents the fastest growing fields. The Lemelson Center at MIT, cites the fact that most students don’t interact or know STEM professionals as the main reason for this lack of interest. Most students don't understand what a STEM professional does, making it harder to dream and plan for a future in STEM.

At Citizen Schools, we have seen first-hand the impact that STEM professionals can have on students. The national organization partners deeply with leading science and technology companies and nonprofits to mobilize over 4,000 volunteers yearly to teach hands-on apprenticeships, largely in the STEM subjects. Data shows that 80% of Citizen Schools’ 8th grade students express an interest in STEM careers after completing a STEM apprenticeship.

Together, we can help change students’ perceptions of STEM careers by exposing them to professionals in the field. Further collaboration between the private and public sectors would allow experts to step outside of the office or laboratory and into a classroom. President Obama relayed the importance of bringing together the different sectors, calling for an “all hands on deck” approach last spring. The organization US2020 was created to answer this call by generating large-scale, innovative solutions to the STEM education challenge. US2020 will match 1 million STEM mentors with students at youth-serving nonprofits by the year 2020, creating moments of discovery for the next generation of STEM professionals, from kindergarten through college.

Giving students the opportunity to learn about science and technology through experience builds STEM skills while allowing exploration into different potential careers. The definition of who teaches STEM needs to be expanded to create educational experiences for students and provide exposure to modern methods of research, technology, and sources of inspiration to study STEM subjects at the middle school, high school, and college levels.

To ensure future prosperity of the U.S. and the STEM sectors, it is imperative that we connect the nation’s STEM talent to students, particularly girls, minorities, and those in underserved communities. Inspiring students through hands-on experiences with STEM is a key step to building the 21st century STEM workforce we need to compete globally.

Claudio Alfaro
VP of External Engagement, Citizen Schools

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Claudio Alfaro
VP of External Engagement, Citizen Schools

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Claudia Alfaro joined Citizen Schools in January 2007 as the Director of Volunteers for Boston and became Chief Civic Engagement Officer in 2009. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Claudia is a bilingual professional with over seven years in the non-profit community and nine years of professional work in various aspects of business development, marketing, operations and recruiting in high growth companies and organizations. Claudia formerly worked for Building Excellent Schools as their Director of Recruitment implementing a national recruitment strategy for a start-up program in a non-profit organization. There, she developed national relationships and brand recognition with key stakeholders in non-profit, private, and government sectors. Prior to that, Claudia was the Director of the USA High School Program, part of the Council of International Educational Exchange, and she managed the operations and marketing. Claudia has also worked in international markets, primarily Europe and South America. She is currently working on her MBA at Northeastern University.

 

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

One aspect of STEM learning that is rarely addressed is the importance of making STEM subjects fun, compelling and inspirational to learn. Studies have shown that an eighth grader who is interested in science is three times more likely to pursue post-secondary studies in science than one who has simply scored well on tests.

Troy Campbell, a researcher at Duke University, wrote in a recent Huffington Post article:

"In working with science museum staffs, I've discovered museum staffs are smart and, most importantly, practical. They know their two main goals are to educate and to encourage guests to be good stewards of the planet. But to reach these noble goals, they realize they must put the goal of 'fun' first."

Because the average American spends less than 5 percent of their life in classrooms, much of science is learned outside of the school setting. Research shows that out-of-school opportunities to learn STEM and to become interested in these topics are major predictors of children's development, learning and educational achievement. So if we want to jump-start a child's long term interest in these topics, we need to explore ways that keep these topics fresh, compelling, and, yes, fun!

Creating hands-on experiences; showing students that STEM career options can be creative and enjoyable fields of endeavor; developing mentoring programs by enthusiastic workers in a particular STEM industry; and teaching in a lively manner can all go into the mix. As an association of science centers and museums around the world, ASTC witnesses first-hand the importance of using excitement, curiosity, discovery, wonder, joy, engagement AND fun to help put the "WOW" factor into STEM subjects.

ASTC is an association of 650 science centers and museums throughout the United States and across the globe. Our members have a collective mission to educate and inspire the public about science, and to increase public engagement in science related to issues that affect their lives.

Kathleen Pasley
Director of Development, ASTC

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Kathleen Pasley
Director of Development, ASTC

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Kathy Pasley is the Director of Development at the Association of Science-Technology Centers, an association of 650 science centers and museums throughout the United States and across the globe. Our members have a collective mission to educate and inspire the public about science, and to increase public engagement in science related issues that affect their lives. Today, these institutions, reaching 92 million visitors each year, have the opportunity to delve more deeply into the science and, at the same time, dramatically heighten public awareness about the world they live in and the technological advances and environmental changes that are happening around us. Science centers and museums are uniquely positioned as ideal platforms for addressing topical scientific issues. Excitement...Curiosity...Discovery...Wonder...Joy...Engagement through Hands-on Learning -- this is the extraordinary mix of ingredients that science centers utilize to "wow" their visitors.

In the past, she has experience raising funds for international women's issues, children's mental health, medical associations, and AIDS. She has an MBA in Marketing and lives in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

The advances in medicine that extend our lives, the innovations in transportation, energy and materials, the explosion of communications and IT companies, the improvements in food production and the research that underpin such discoveries are just examples of the fields that absolutely require a strong, well-prepared STEM workforce. And right now, we are not, as a nation, graduating sufficient numbers of students from high school, two- and four-year colleges to meet the growing needs of our future.

For nearly 20 years, I have had the pleasure of working with Bayer and its Making Science Makes Sense initiative to address this critical issue facing our country.

From our perspective, our nation’s best means for closing the current STEM skills gap and helping the U.S. retain its innovation leadership is to ensure that all students, have access to a high-quality, hands-on, inquiry-based STEM education. And it is especially important that we ensure that the incredible talent pool of girls and underrepresented minorities is developed.

Business-education partnerships are definitely a strategic part of the solution. To that end, Bayer has held and I have moderated several national STEM education diversity forums that garnered insight on how STEM companies can forge long-term, productive education partnerships. Among ideas:

Mae Jemison
Founder, The Jemison Group

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Mae Jemison
Founder, The Jemison Group

Dr. Mae C. Jemison is founder of the technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group, Inc. that integrates the critical impact of socio-cultural issues when designing and implementing technologies, such as their projects on using satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries.

Dr. Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 Spacelab J(apan) mission in September 1992. Jemison served as NASA’s first Science Mission Specialist performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness.

Started after she left NASA, The Jemison Group also explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs and companies. BioSentient Corporation, a medical technology devices and services company focused on improving health and human performance through physiologic awareness and self-regulation is such a company. Jemison is guiding the company in the design, development and marketing of leading-edge, patented ambulatory equipment that provides wireless, real-time, real-life multi-parameter physiologic monitoring and the means to control one’s responses to their environment and stimuli. As an environmental studies professor at Dartmouth College, Jemison taught courses on sustainable development and technology design and ran The Jemison Institute for Advancing Technologies in Developing Countries. She was an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

A strong, committed national voice for science literacy, in 1994 Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ for students 12-16 years old from around the world, chairs the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence and serves as national advocate for Bayer Corporation’s award winning Making Science Make Sense program. In October 2006 the Foundation developed the program Reality Leads Fantasy—Celebrating Women of Color in Flight that brought together and highlighted women in aviation and space from around the world.

Prior to joining NASA, Jemison was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa for two and a half years overseeing the healthcare system for Peace Corps (and State Department in Sierra Leone). She was a general practice doctor in Los Angeles. Among other activities she is currently on the Board of Directors of Kimberly-Clark Corp., Scholastic, Inc. and Valspar Corp., a Trustee of Morehouse College; Chair of the Texas State Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board; Chair of Greater Houston Partnership Disaster Planning and Recovery Task Force; member Board of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and Board of Texas Medical Center.

Dr. Jemison earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering and the requirements for an A.B. degree in African and Afro-American Studies at Stanford University and her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University. Throughout Jemison’s career, she has worked internationally including in a Cambodian refugee camp with the Flying Doctors of East Africa. She is a highly sought after speaker on issues including health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation and has provided commentary for the BBC, McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC Nightline, NPR and CNN.

Jemison is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine; an inductee of National Women’s Hall of Fame, National Medical Association Hall of Fame and Texas Science Hall of Fame. Among many honors, awards and honorary degrees she received the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award, the Kilby Science Award and in 1999 was selected as one of the top seven women leaders in a presidential ballot national straw poll. In Find Where the Wind Goes, she writes for teenagers about growing up on the south side of Chicago, cultivating her aspiration to be a scientist, her experiences as a medical student in Africa and her history-making journey into space. She appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosted the Discovery Channel’s series World of Wonder and was chosen one of People Magazine’s “World’s 50 Most Beautiful People” in 1993. Dr. Jemison resides in Houston and loves cats.

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

From elementary school through high school and beyond, GSK is committed to STEM education for the future of our industry and our communities.

We have to get kids interested in STEM early. That’s why we created Science in the Summer™, our free, hands-on, science program, where elementary and middle school kids learn by doing. In chemistry classes, young scientists sport brightly-colored goggles and create fizzy new substances in Petri dishes. Students learn that science is fun, has an application to everyday life, and importantly, that it is understandable.

Science in the Summer started 27 years ago in the Philadelphia area when GSK scientist, Dr. Virginia Cunningham, recruited colleagues and secured corporate funding to teach kids in her community. Today, Science in the Summer reaches kids in Philadelphia, Research Triangle Park, NC; Pittsburgh, and DC. In 2013 alone, more than 9,500 students attended the classes. We partner with libraries and science institutions like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and The Franklin Institute.

Whenever I visit the Science in the Summer classes, I am amazed by how quickly these young students gain the command of complex information. It’s a wonderful thing to hear second graders talk about DNA, double helixes, and chromosomes...terms I learned in high school and at university! I’ll never forget being thanked by a homeless girl for giving her the happiest day of her life. She dreamed about becoming a scientist and learning more about DNA.

At the high school level, GSK’s early and ongoing support was critical to the development of North Carolina’s first STEM-focused schools. NC New Schools has partnered with public schools across the state to secure high graduation rates and real opportunity for students from underserved communities for 10 years. In fact, the NC New Schools’ approach to STEM education is now being scaled statewide, with more than 30 public schools focusing on fields that match the skilled jobs that are needed in NC. The main areas of study are health and life sciences, energy and sustainability, biotechnology and agriscience, and aerospace, advanced manufacturing and security.

We want to see a STEM-focused education system that intrigues kids early and keeps them interested all along the way, and public-private partnerships will help us get there. In addition to Science in the Summer and NC New Schools, we support others including The Franklin Institute’s PACTS program, the Philadelphia Education Fund’s Math and Science Coalition, and America’s Promise Alliance.

The children who are exploring the world of science through those goggles and then confidently tackling high school science classes are tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and scientists.

Mary Linda Andrews
Director, GSK

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Mary Linda Andrews
Director, GSK

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Ms. Andrews is Director, Community Partnerships, at GSK, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. GSK is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information, please visit www.gsk.com.

Ms. Andrews is responsible for the Community Partnerships programs at GSK’s headquarters site in the U.S (Research Triangle Park, NC.) and in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in organic chemistry and human resources prior to her position in community partnerships. Formerly, she was a teacher and banker.

Ms. Andrews received her bachelor degree from Ohio University and completed management training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School of Business Administration and the London Business School.

Ms. Andrews was given The Old North State Award by the Governor of North Carolina. The Award is presented to outstanding North Carolinians who have a proven record of at least 25 years of exemplary service and commitment to the state and their community. This was for her service in K-12 education, focused on dropout prevention, 21st century skills, STEM education, and helping ensure that students leave high school ready for college, career, and life.

Community Involvement

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STEM education, skills and training are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. How do we work together to close the current STEM skills gap and best position the U.S. to retain its leadership in innovation?

The Learning and Teaching Division at Education Development Center, Inc. believes that STEM education, skills, and training are key not just to a strong U.S. workforce—but to an informed citizenry. Our students will face significant social, economic, and environmental challenges. STEM knowledge will help them make sense of their complex world. Every day, they will need to draw upon STEM skills—data literacy, critical thinking, analytic, computing—not just for work, but to help them separate fact from fiction and be active, informed problem-solvers in their community, state, nation, and world. The STEM education stakes are high in so many ways.

How do we work together to STEM-power U.S. students for the future? First, we need to join forces and create a strong, coherent, cradle-to-career continuum of STEM learning. The early years of this continuum are crucial and currently overlooked. All children are naturally curious about STEM, and we have the potential to foster a lifelong love of STEM learning very early on. Yet recent studies show that we are falling short. STEM achievement gaps start before kindergarten; our future innovators from low-income communities enter school at a disadvantage and many never catch up. We can work together to increase investments in preschool education and build preschool teachers’ capacity to engage all children in high-quality, early STEM learning experiences.

We also need to join forces to rid schools of ineffective STEM education strategies that leave students bored and disengaged. EDC’s active, project-based approach to P–12 STEM education challenges students to take the lead in learning, as teachers support and extend their inquiry. STEM businesses and industries play a pivotal role in this approach. Working closely with STEM industry leaders, our approach offers “one foot in the workplace” learning that enables youth to link their STEM learning with future careers and to master key workplace skills and competencies—collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking.

Currently, as the Program Office for the Amgen Biotech Experience, we are helping advance the goals of an innovative science ed. program that provides a real-world biotech lab experience to middle and high school students. For over 10 years, we have also worked with Ford Motor Company Fund on the Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) initiative. Ford NGL is an “excellent STEM education program” in the STEMworks database. These sorts of initiatives are pivotal to closing the current STEM skills gap. From them, we have learned that we can build bridges between schools and the STEM workforce—creating a shared responsibility for youth outcomes and maximizing expertise to ensure youth’s STEM proficiency and college and career readiness.

Rebecca Lewis
Project Director, EDC

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Rebecca Lewis
Project Director, EDC

Rebecca Lewis has 15 years of experience working to promote the integration of rigorous academic content with opportunities for students to develop essential skills necessary for success in postsecondary education and the workplace. She seeks to excite students about learning—in formal and informal education settings—while giving them the tools to succeed in their educational pursuits and beyond.

Lewis is a developer of a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and training and professional development materials. She contributes her science content knowledge, teaching experience, and skills in research and materials development to developing instructional resources and support for teachers, while also coordinating activities across projects. Currently, she is leading an EDC partnership focused on biotechnology education and has led the curriculum development effort for the NASA Summer of Innovation program, the middle school Zero Robotics programming competition.

Lewis co-led the Ford Motor Company-funded Ford PAS project, which developed—and provides technical assistance and professional development for—a program that has evolved from an academically rigorous high school curriculum integrating academic and career education into a comprehensive community-wide high school reform strategy.

She has worked with schools, districts, corporate funders, and community-based partners on EDC programs. She created a hands-on guide for teachers on how to integrate gender equity into existing science curricula, and she assisted with the development of classroom scenarios and working papers on science and mathematics education. She is the author of "Engaging the Controversy in Science Education: Scientific Knowledge and Democratic Decisions."

Lewis received a BS from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an MAT in biology from Northeastern University, and a CAES from Boston College.

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