I had the opportunity to attend the 1st FiRST (Fredericksburg Regional STEM Team) STEM Summit in downtown Fredericksburg. It was an amazing night filled with excitement about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) in our local schools. There were representatives from schools (students, teachers, ITRTs, principals, superintendents, professors from UMW), businesses, and government officials. The overarching goal of FiRST is “to promote, enable and extend STEM resources, activities, and opportunities within Virginia’s Planning District 16” (FiRST Website).
The evening started out with a chance to check out some student projects from around the area. These students were so pumped to share their learning and experiences with STEM!
The next part of the evening involved some fantastic speakers. My personal favorite was Captain Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, USN. She is such an inspiration for getting involved in STEM. Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper has an incredibly long list of accomplishments – MIT Grad, Navy Deep Sea Salvage Diver, Astronaut and Division Commander for the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. She shared her journey in STEM careers and how important her schooling was in her success. The students in the crowd (and adults) were mesmerized with her experiences and got a chance to ask her some questions.
This event did a great job of bringing together the community to promote STEM. The next steps are to figure out how we can harness that excitement and connect business leaders with schools to help fund and support STEM projects.
Here are a few links to resources shared at the event.