NSTA Convention Serves as Launching Point

Jennifer Sirockman poses for a photo with the Dowbot at the National Science Teachers Association convention in Boston.

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is all about making connections, and Jennifer Sirockman is certainly well connected.

  • Sirockman, a West Virginia University graduate student, was a presenter at the NSTA National Convention.
  • Her father – Michael Sirockman – works for Dow in Charleston, W.V.
  • She can now call the Dowbot a personal friend.

Sirockman recently returned from the NSTA national convention in Boston. “Of all the attractions on the exhibit floor, Dowbot, the Dow robot, was likely the most popular,” Jennifer said after the April conference, where she met Dow’s high-tech STEM ambassador face-to-interface, you might say.

Dow unveiled its STEMtheGAP™ Education Movement at the convention, giving educators from across the country the opportunity to take part in an ongoing conversation about how STEM can bridge the education gaps the exist in the U.S.

A key part of the movement is the STEMtheGAP Teacher Challenge, which asks teachers from across the country two important questions:

1. What is the biggest gap in STEM education that you face as a teacher?

2. If you could change one thing about STEM education, what would that be, and how would you apply it in your classroom?

An independent panel of scientists and educators from The Center for Science Teaching and Learning of Rockville Centre, N.Y., will review every submission and chose the best. Winners will receive a $1,000 grant for use in their classrooms.

“Who better than teachers to identify both the challenges to offering a quality STEM education and the ways to meet those challenges?” said Rob Vallentine, Dow’s global director of STEM Education. “STEMtheGAP will bring together people from every corner of society – teachers, parents, students, businesses, governments – who  see the value in widespread STEM competence.”

Dow’s three-year relationship with the National Science Teachers Association includes an effort to support the New Science Teachers Academy, a year-long enrichment experience designed to encourage and empower these crucial players in the STEM field. This year, 155 teachers from across America were chosen for the Academy.

Some day, Jennifer Sirockman might participate in the Academy. As a May college graduate with a specialization in middle school science education, she not only has the ability to be a great science teacher, she has the passion.

 “I have fallen in love with middle school and hope to become an upper middle school general science teacher,” Sirockman said. “The importance of support and participation in STEM education by well known engineering, technology and chemical companies, like Dow, cannot be overstated. These kinds of companies are where our current STEM innovations are being applied in a real-world setting and where advances in STEM are being made. These industries have the resources and expertise to assist educators in creating the next generation of STEM leaders.”

For more information about STEMtheGap, go to www.doweducation.com or to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/STEMtheGAP.