On February 22, ASME and the National Engineers Week Foundation hosted the inaugural DiscoverE Summit, an event that showcased the importance and successes of STEM educators with an emphasis on the “E” for engineering. The DiscoverE Summit was held at the Knight Studio at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and was one of many events scheduled during the national observance of Engineers Week 2012, Feb. 19-25. 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 (NSF), and Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Suresh discussed the importance of improving U.S. STEM education and 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.
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, Texas; Javaris Powell of Friendship Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.; and Derek Sale of Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, Detroit, Michigan.
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 successes. 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, 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, the effort to build and deliver inclusive engineering outreach programs on which SWE is partnering with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Following Dr. Smith’s remarks, NASA Associate Administrator Leland Melvin 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.