By Day 3 awardees were approaching overload. We began, again, at breakfast at 7:00 AM. As we entered the hall, the presidents of three PAEMST alumni organizations were there to greet us. Who knew there were alumni organizations? CPAM, APAST, and SEPA all exist to continue the connections and learning that begin during this weekend. It was great to meet the presidents and hear just a bit about these organizations. Each of us gets a free membership into these organizations this year!
Following breakfast, we were invited to participate in the Next Generation STEM High School Forum. The Forum kicked off with some terrific speakers:
- Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation for the White House Office of Science and Technology, shared some of his work and vision with the audience. People loved his statement that learning needs to change from "just in case" to "just in time" as students stop "covering" material and start pursuing their passions. Tom is an engaging speaker who furthered endeared himself to me when he told me that he is also a former high school policy debater (now working in policy!).
- Dr Sharon Lynch, professor at George Washington University, returned to the podium and shared with us the details of a study of eight STEM high schools. The goal was to create a scalable logic model to implement and affect change in STEM education. Her data was interesting and I hope we will have access to her slides so I can share them at some point.
- Dr Barbara Means, Director of SRI Education, presented data and information about the importance of inclusivity in STEM education. Some of these statistics were truly alarming in terms of poor access to science and math courses in high schools across the country. Again, I hope at some point we gain access to these slides so we can share the information.
Our group then boarded buses and headed for the White House where we went on our tour. I had never been to the White House before so this was definitely a highlight for me. I loved looking at all the photographs of Presidents and their families at various events. The decorations in each room are so beautiful and ornate, steeped in tradition and history.
Our group was hoping for a miracle, that when we arrived for the tour, a change in plans or opening in a schedule would result in a quick hello from someone with the word President in their title. Alas, that was not to be. Rumor has it that we are the first cohort in 33 years of the award to not meet a President or Vice President. I don't know if that is true or not, but I was disappointed with the outcome. I was also determined to get a picture of me with the President, so the selfie to the left is the best I could do!
Presidential disappointment aside, it was a memorable and exhausting trip that will remain a milestone in my career. I am looking forward to continued contact with the people I met this weekend. The 2014 and 2015 awardees are an impressive and inspiring collection of educators.