ALL HANDS ON DECK: Local STEM Leaders Discuss the Importance of STEM in East Tennessee

by STEM Scouts

By April McMillan and Trent Nichols

Recently, we had the pleasure of attending a breakfast event hosted by the Board of East Tennessee Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) that gathered together various STEM professionals from across East Tennessee.

The theme — “ALL HANDS ON DECK” – was designated as a working event and everyone in attendance was a STEM professional, educator, or otherwise involved in STEM education in the area. Some of the other stakeholders included were representatives of area STEM employers and faith communities.

We discussed the following question:

Are scientists and engineers in the community an underutilized resource for children and educators in grades K-12?

As professionals in the STEM community, we certainly think so.

Upon a nearly unanimous consensus that STEM professionals are a resource that are not being utilized to nearly the fullest extent, the discussion then turned to the idea of East Tennessee becoming a national model for engaging its STEM professionals as a resource for excellence in K-12 STEM education.

This event provided us with an excellent opportunity to meet other dedicated individuals and to discuss STEM education with the leaders in the regional, professional and educational STEM community.

We look forward to continuing this dialogue and moving the needle forward on how to better engage STEM professionals with students and educators.

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