On February 22, ASME and the National Engineers Week Foundation hosted the inaugural DiscoverE Summit, an event that showcased the importance and successes of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators with an emphasis on the "E" for engineering. The DiscoverE Summit was held at the Knight Studio at The Newseum in Washington, DC, and was one of many events scheduled during the national observance of Engineers Week 2012, Feb. 19-25.
ASME President Victoria Rockwell kicked off the Summit by providing opening remarks, stating: "We are here today because we believe that our children are our future and shaping their education is profoundly important. We are here to emphasize the E in STEM—engineering. We are here because ASME and E-Week believe that fostering a vibrant and more diverse workforce is a strategic priority."
The proceedings were moderated by news veteran and Emmy award winner Miles O'Brien, lead science reporter for PBS NewsHour. Keynote speakers included Dr. Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation, and Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Suresh discussed the importance of improving U.S. STEM education and the NSF's role and recent efforts, while Dr. Vest challenged the engineering community to ramp up its efforts to inspire the next generation of engineers.
ASME President Victoria Rockwell with the three winners of DiscoverE Educator Awards, Derek Sale, Shella Rivano Condino, and Javaris Powell, and Dr. Subra Suresh, director of NSF and Miles O'Brien, the moderator of the Summit (from left to right). Image: Carl Cox Photography
The summit also featured the winners of the inaugural DiscoverE Educator Awards, which celebrated the outstanding achievements of exceptional STEM educators who have helped their students discover engineering. The three winners, selected by a committee of distinguished national education, engineering, and business leaders, were: Shella Rivano Condino of Presidio High School, Presidio, TX; Javaris Powell of Friendship Public Charter School, Washington, DC, and Derek Sale of Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, Detroit, MI.
Engineers Week and ASME established the "DiscoverE Educator Award Program" to identify and celebrate outstanding STEM educators who have had an extraordinary impact on their students and to provide them with a forum to tell their compelling stories. Each winner received a $3,000 cash prize, courtesy of 3M and ASME, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, during Engineers Week 2012.
"At the recent White House Science Fair, President Obama spoke about the importance of recognizing the vital work of today's STEM teachers," said Rockwell. "The purpose of the DiscoverE Educator Award program is to celebrate the teachers who are the "unsung heroes" behind many exceptional engineers. The award offers engineers and engineering students the opportunity to recognize those teachers who dedicate their lives to nurturing the nation's future STEM talent pool – a crucial component of America's future economic growth."
The event also featured two panel sessions. The first panel, "Teachers and Educators," featured the aforementioned STEM education change-agents, and allowed them an opportunity to share the stories behind their success. The panel also included Dr. Linda Katehi, chancellor, University of California, Davis, who discussed her work on the new National Research Council K-12 science framework, which for the first time promotes the use of engineering concepts to teach STEM subjects. Corey S. Powell, editor-in-chief of Discover Magazine, and John Manahan, special assistant, Office of the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, also delivered remarks.
The second panel, "Volunteers and Partners," addressed the important role that volunteers and partnerships play in advancing STEM education. Dr. Michael Smith of the National GEM Consortium discussed the Outreach for Change initiative, an effort to build and deliver inclusive engineering outreach programs. NASA Associate Administrator Leland Melvin then provided an overview of the work of NASA employees to enhance the knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and scientists. Next Dr. Rosemary Truglio of Sesame Workshop outlined Sesame Street's efforts to incorporate STEM education lessons into the current season, as well as how the engineering community's volunteer workforce could help. Finally, Diane Melley of IBM discussed IBM's corporate citizenship efforts with specific mention of their global volunteer efforts.
The program also included comments from Thomas G. Loughlin, executive director, ASME.
We are here today because we believe that our children are our future and shaping their education is profoundly important.
Victoria Rockwell, ASME President
More on this topic
With shrinking government support, university engineering departments rely on philanthropic support more than ever. Fortunately, donors came through ...
Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis is the 2011 recipient of the Ralph Coats Roe Medal in recognition of seminal and leadership contributions to numerous governmenta ...