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Dow-Smithsonian alliance ignites teacher passion for science

Dow-Smithsonian alliance ignites teacher passion for science

November 1, 2017

A passionate and inspiring teacher can make any subject thrilling. That’s why the CH2M Foundation invests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for teachers…they hold the key to igniting passion for students’ interest in STEM.Teachers visiting Smithsonian

This summer we partnered with Dow Chemical Company for the second year to send 38 teachers to a week-long science education academy at the Smithsonian Institution. The teachers come from six states (California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas) where our Dow-CH2M team works together the most. After a week at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATS) in Washington D.C., the teachers take their experiences back to their classrooms, while continuing networking and mentoring with Dow and CH2M employee volunteers. The teachers attended academies focused on biodiversity, energy’s innovations and implications or earth’s history and global change.

IMG_2159CH2Mer Kathi Reid from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recommended her children’s favorite teacher, Dee Schroeder: “I suggested she submit an application, and she was overwhelmingly selected by the Dow and CH2M committee members,” said Kathi. “Dee has a passion for science that is contagious for students. She was so excited to get in the classroom and share what she learned with her incoming group of fourth-graders. She is one of those teachers that makes an impact in a student’s education and ultimately shapes their future in a positive way.”

Here’s what some of the teachers had to say about the experience:

  • “The Earth’s History and Global Change Academy was the best professional development opportunity I have had in my 28 years of teaching! I was able to go behind the scenes at Smithsonian museums, listen to scientists and researchers, engage in activities that could be used in the classroom and network with colleagues from around the United States. It was wonderful to spend a week immersed in science! The scientists showed so much passion for their studies. They expressed how critical it is for teachers to promote science education in our schools. At the elementary level we are often the first link into a student’s world of science, and we need to make that experience captivating! I will infuse the resources and content I learned from the academy into my classroom and share with my colleagues.” –Dee Schroeder, fourth grade teacher, Whitnall School District, Greenfield, Wisconsin
  • “Design thinking, problem solving, collaboration and the chance to feel like a student…what moreIMG_2174 can an educator ask for? I especially enjoyed the challenges presented by the keynote speakers and the groups’ presentation of results at the end of the day. I left the session recharged with new ideas. I teach computer science: creative coding, app development and AP computer science. In starting the school year, I have found it much more engaging to begin with the engineering cycle, giving the students more opportunities to brainstorm, analyze and prototype.” –Linda Lawrence, Director of Technology Development, Country Day School, Metairie, Louisiana
  • “What an absolutely incredible experience! SSEATS was amazing! I learned so much about the Earth and global change. I am extremely excited to bring back aspects of this for my class. Thank you so very much for having contributed to my learning, which will help the students in my classroom in so many ways!” –Sam Fawks, STEM teacher, DuPont Middle School, Wilmington, Delaware
  • “What an experience! I participated in the SSEATs Biodiversity Academy, and all I can say is WOW! Once I arrived in Washington, D.C. I realized that I was in for an unbelievable educational and personal experience. I have never learned so much and enjoyed so much learning in my 27 years in education as I did at SSEATS. The passion shown by each presenter was contagious with all the participants. I can’t wait to use what I learned in the classroom and hope to be able to participate next summer in another academy offered by the Smithsonian!” –Michele Andre, life science teacher, Pottstown Middle School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania (read Michele’s blog post)

IMG_2214_1The Dow Chemical Company Foundation has supported 275 teachers through SSEATS since 2007, and in 2016, Dow invited CH2M to join its program to reinforce our shared strategies of building the STEM workforce, engaging employees to cultivate positive community impact and creating sustainable communities.

“Dow is committed to building the workforce of tomorrow. We understand the importance of collaborations to empower educators so they can inspire students and channel that excitement into STEM careers,” said Rob Vallentine, president of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation. “We are extremely proud to collaborate with our key business partner, CH2M, to further our support for these educators.”

Unknown-10“We’re excited to partner with Dow to provide this wonderful opportunity to deserving teachers in our local communities,” said Ellen Sandberg, executive director, CH2M Foundation. “When you consider how many students each of these teachers will reach, you begin to understand the broad impact of this collaboration.”

Huge thanks to our STEM ambassadors for making this happen: Garth Colvin, Kellie Nickovich, Michelle Hackett, Kathi Ried, Anne Estabrook, Chris Lawrence, Dan MacGregor, Erin Cummings, Joe Nattress and Bryan Grace. This type of engagement is incredibly valuable to our client relationships and growing STEM talent.

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November 2017

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