Kansas educators will have the chance to learn the latest techniques in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in their classrooms this fall at the statewide STEM Conference for Educators hosted by Washburn University. The conference is designed for educators from pre-school right through high school, according to Dr. Cherry Steffen, chair of Washburn’s Education Department which is running the conference.
“It’s never too early to introduce STEM topics to children,” Steffen said, “and they need to be integrated into every subject we teach.”
Steffen said the conference – which is supported with grants from Bartlett & West and Westar Energy – will feature six different educational tracks so teachers can find just the right fit for their interests.
Along with the traditional STEM content area, these tracks include early childhood education and career and technical education – two areas not typically associated with STEM education. In addition, there will be special sessions for administrators interested in integrating STEM into the school or classroom
The conference will take place on the Washburn University Campus on October 30. Cost of attendance for the full day conference is just $10 thanks to the support of the sponsors and includes lunch.
The conference will feature a number of experts but the keynote speaker – Dr. Mae Jemison – has created the most buzz so far. Jemison was the first female African-American astronaut and is a strong, committed global voice for science literacy. After retiring from NASA, Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ (TEWS) for students 12-16 years old from around the world, and founded and chairs the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence.
In addition to her appearance at the conference, Jemison will make a public presentation in the evening at Washburn’s White Concert Hall. That event will be open to the public. Conference participants will have reserved seating at the public presentation.
“We’re going to help Kansas teachers to feel comfortable incorporating STEM into their lesson plans so we can prepare our students for the world they’re going to deal as they move on to higher education or into the workforce.”
Steffen noted that, unless a teach is a recent graduate, integrating STEM doesn’t necessarily come as second nature – particularly in subjects like English and social studies.
“The fact is, though, STEM has become an integral part of every corner of our society and we need to prepare our teachers appropriately,” she said. “Making sure our teachers and our students stay up to date is vital for the future of Kansas – particularly if we want to attract and keep high tech industries.”
Participants at the conference will also get a chance to try out Washburn University’s new STEM classroom – a demonstration classroom specifically designed to teach STEM topics. That classroom is brand new this fall and created thanks to a grant from AT&T.
Registration for the conference and for Dr. Jemison’s public lecture are both open now via EventBrite – an online ticketing system. You can find more information as well as register and pay for the conference at:
While Dr. Jemison’s public presentation is free, seating is limited so tickets are required. You can register for that event at:
Again, conference participants will have reserved seating at that presentation as part of their conference registration.