STEM over the Summer E10
STEM Unplugged – STEM over the Summer was a discussion with collaborative nonprofit partners at Lowell Observatory, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Pathways to Learning. In this episode, Kelly, Tom and Elise explored ways for community members to engage in hands on STEM to find their identity as learners.
Lowell Observatory has a unique methodology for teaching which focuses on STEM for all levels, including thermodynamics for preschoolers! Pathways to Learning has created new approaches to engaging learners with STEAM in a backpack, Ag in a Bag and the mobile STEAM lab. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is focused on connecting the community with hands on activities at the library, with current undergrads and more!
The mission of Lowell Observatory is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public.
Kelly Ferguson has served as the Education Coordinator at Lowell Observatory since October 2015. She joined the observatory staff in 2014 as a public program educator while she finished her Master’s program at Northern Arizona University. She also runs camp programs for children ages 3-14.
Kelly earned her M.S. in Applied Physics in 2016 and has dedicated her time to teaching formal science in an informal setting. Kelly is currently back in school to get a certificate in early childhood development. For the past 14 years, Kelly has worked with young children in underprivileged areas of her community, bringing her love and passion for STEM education to as many as possible.
Those who are part of the educational landscape are discovering that formal education is more than just four walled classrooms in our cities. Today, there are learning landscapes and systems that meet the students where they learn the best, in green (outdoor) spaces. There are volumes of research supporting this!
Pathways to Learning (PTL) organizes interest-driven exploration that fuels connected growth among people and the planet. Its ability to combine and reconfigure three separate but synergistic platforms enables Pathways to Progressive Learning to build educational products and events that every experience builds upward–each on top of the last—while, at the same time, inviting every customer to venture further outward from familiar sites to new settings.
Trailblazing educational opportunities from valley basins to mountain peaks – it is so important we stake our name on it. No two customers are the same. Some prefer educational tours, others want a map and a compass.
One of key initiative PTL has developed is it Outdoor STEM Centered Education program (OSCE). Since the beginning of OSCE eight years ago, 350 schools, 1,440 teachers and 27,000 campers from Metro Phoenix and rural Arizona communities have participated in OSCE and 50% of which are Title 1 schools.
OSCE is delivered through different PTL Learning Platforms; mountain learning platforms, Mobil STEM Discovery Lap and STEAM in a Backpack and Ag. in a Bag. These can be utilized through its Pathways to Progressive Learning.
Tom Fraker, CEO of Pathways to Learning (PTL), has worked for more than 35 years in the business and nonprofit sector, focusing his entrepreneurial skills on creating and developing successful organizations by blending the passion of the non-profit sector with the discipline and organizational structuring of the private sector.
His synergistic approach has been enhanced across sectors (private, public and non-profit) by integrating relationships and the development of partnerships.
Embry-Riddle STEM Outreach is committed to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – a STEM-based education. The Embry-Riddle faculty and students have worked with the community to share in this commitment to STEM-centered experiential and project-based learning.
The STEM Education Center, alongside the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium, support existing STEM outreach efforts by faculty and students to sustain a culture of STEM literacy and enthusiasm in the Quad Cities. The Embry-Riddle STEM Education Center fills a vital need for promoting and enhancing STEM education at Embry-Riddle, in local K-12 schools, and in the community at large.
Elise Corcoran began as the Director of STEM Outreach in the spring of 2021. She is a passionate educator with over 15 years of experience teaching students and leading staff in wilderness and classroom settings.
With a background in education and a master’s degree in Natural Resources and GIS, Elise has always been involved in both science and education. She is committed to teaching scientific literacy skills to promote responsibility, problem solving, and global thinking in the next generation.
She is delighted to be a part of the ERAU team and help inspire children’s interest in the STEM fields.
Follow the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium on Facebook.
About Our Sponsor
SciTech Institute™ was established as the Arizona Technology Council Foundation as the conduit for collaboration among STEM industry, academia, civic, and non-profit organizations in Arizona. Now, rebranded and named the SciTech Institute™ the goal centers around aligning assets and resources to motivate individuals to pursue STEM-related educational and career paths or find a passion while engaged in community events during the SciTech Festival.
The Chief Science Officer program highlights the 6th-12th graders that have been selected as leaders in their schools and communities to receive training to build a world-class community of diverse STEM-literate workers and knowledgeable, engaged citizens. Science For All allows for tax credit donations to provide engaging experiences for students while RAIN (Rural Activation Innovation Network) focuses on resources for the rural areas of Arizona.
As a STEM Learning Ecosystem, SciTech Institute™ focuses on collaboration and connecting individuals with opportunities! STEM Professionals are encouraged to engage with the future workforce by serving as a mentor, leadership coach, panelist, keynote and session trainer during a variety of conferences hosted or sponsored by SciTech Institute™ and The Arizona Technology Council.
Teachers and Administrators are invited to connect with the resources available while activating a large network of STEM champions for student projects, judges at events, volunteers, exhibitors and more. SciTech Festival Event Coordinators are supported during the planning and execution of community STEM events around the state by the SciTech STREET Team Members and the growing network of volunteers. The possibilities are endless! SciTech Institute™ looks forward to connecting with you today. Visit SciTechInstitute.org today for more information.
About Your STEM Unplugged Host
After graduating from Bolivar-Richburg High School in rural western New York and joining the United States Army, Kelly Greene learned quickly to adapt to her surroundings to be successful. She attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and played shortstop on the Tiger softball team while earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
After graduating from Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, she traveled the world with the military. While stationed in Misawa, Japan, Kelly fell in love with learning about cultures around the world. Even as a deployed Soldier during Operation Iraqi Freedom for two tours, she found opportunities to connect with the local children to form the Victory Base Council Girl Scouts with her fellow servicemen.
In 2013, she was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and traveled the country by air and had the opportunity to utilize the most advanced technologies available to the tactical HUMINT operations in theater. Upon return from combat, she retired with 21 years of service and began teaching 6th grade Math.
After being selected as a Westside Impact Teacher of the Year and having her Fiesta Bowl Charities Wish Granted for a morning news studio, she was asked to begin a new class on campus – 7th grade STEM! Using her enthusiastic nature and combined with her strong classroom management she was able to design curriculum based on the Engineering Design Process to have her 7th graders complete a new project every 2 weeks!
She is excited to serve as the Director of Student Success for the rapidly expanding Chief Science Officers Program. Her goal is to push students just a bit outside of their comfort zone so they can see for themselves the power of their own ideas.