SciTech Institute STEM and Innovation Summit with LocoRobo and Project Lead The Way
Take part in the future and interact with some of Arizona’s most influential thinkers at the 2019 STEM and Innovation Summit held in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This year’s statewide conference brought together Arizona’s key stakeholders in business, industry, education, government, NGO, the community to:
- Share best practices, lessons and stories from the field
- Experience the latest in Arizona technology and innovation
- Build unique and diverse STEM networks
- Discuss how we can work as connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness
LocoRobo’s mission is to empower students to solve problems, navigate opportunities, and pursue their dreams in the 21st century.
Dr. Pramod Abichandani serves as professor in the areas of Robotics and Data Science and has taught at Drexel University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Wharton School of Business.
In addition, he is 1 of 4 directors of the 2nd largest makerspace in the world at NJIT and recently selected to help redesign the Next Generation Science Standards.
Project Lead The Way is a non profit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the United States. We create an engaging environment necessary to thrive in an evolving world.
Sylvia Grace teaches at Camille Casteel High and is part of the founding faculty teaching Engineering,Math, and Honors and AP Chemistry. She earned her National Board Certification in Chemistry in 2006 and recertified in 2017. Sylvia is also an Adjunct Chemistry professor at Chandler Gilbert Community College. Sylvia was not always a teacher as she worked in industry as a process engineer for Analytical Technologies, IBM and Dell.
Her education is in the field of Chemical Engineering in which she earned both her Master’s (1995) and Bachelors, (1982) from New Mexico State University. She acquired her teaching credentials from Arizona State University in 1986.Professionally, Sylvia is a member of the Chemical Engineering Academic Academy and the Engineering Deans Council at NMSU. She was the 2005 Arizona recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Teacher Award and the SME National Engineering Teacher award in 2006.
In your professional opinion, how can we better work as a connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness?
Dr. Abichandani: Computer Science for all was proposed by Obama back in 2016. The majority of people, today, still view Computer Science as kids will be coders and work on robots after high school or college. Computer Science is the new basic skill that must be integrated in the daily curriculum for all grades, K-12. How do we communicate that? I think it’s getting away from “STEM based careers” and focus on students finding what problems they want to solve in the world. Every industry, Law, Medical, Design, Agriculture, and many more…to even Plumbing!..they’re all being impacted by computer science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our students need to be directed in an industry of their choosing coupled with the computer science and computational thinking skills to improve, excite, and increase creativity so our kids are prepared to pursue the path that speaks to them.
Silvia: The SciTech Institute has been impacting this ecosystem in the past few years by holding this event, now I believe it is time to bring these groups together in a more formal meeting environment to start impacting policy and education in our state.
In what ways are you and your organization involved in STEM education and/or the SciTech Institute?
Dr. Abichandani: Backbone Communications is the exclusive distributor for LocoRobo for the state of Arizona. With trained staff residing locally in Arizona, Backbone is able to offer onsite and regular support to ensure Arizona schools realize success with each implementation.
Silvia: Project Lead The Way brings together an ecosystem of teachers, administrators, colleges and universities, and education and business leaders to engage students in learning, as we prepare them to seek rewarding careers, solve important challenges, and contribute to global progress.