Ms. Whalen Earns $1,000 Grant through STEMtheGap Teacher Challenge

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Emily Whalen 2014 New Teacher Congratulations to High School Library Media Specialist, Ms. Emily Whalen for earning a $1,000 grant from Dow Chemical for their STEMtheGap Teacher Challenge. Dow’s mission statement is “To build the workforce of tomorrow by empowering teachers, motivating student achievement, developing careers, and collaborating with communities to transform STEM education into a driver for innovation, manufacturing, and economic prosperity.” The grant process involved describing how she planned to improve STEM education in her content.  She included pieces of her submission below.  Submissions were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and educators from The Center for Science Teaching and Learning and they selected 50 winners from around the U.S. The issue you face: What is the biggest gap in STEM education that you face as a teacher?              As a first year Library Media Specialist, I am looking for a way to bring STEM learning into the Library. I had a wonderful experience working in a public library, the Fayetteville Free Library, where STEM centered programs were always a priority. I was inspired by what the FFL did with their makerspace, the FabLab, and I look forward to bringing what I learned into my new career at Cazenovia. Fortunately, I have an old storage space that will someday be a tremendous makerspace. Unfortunately, I have very little funding to make the space what it needs to be to safely allow students to create and learn. I believe that all students are entitled to an education that allows them to explore, innovative, collaborate, and create.  Receiving the Teacher Challenge Grant will give Cazenovia the chance to show that there is a place for STEM learning in all areas of education, even in the Library. Your idea to STEMtheGAP: If you could change one thing about STEM education, what would that be? How would you apply it in your classroom? I would love to change the notion that STEM is only for a certain breed of student and teacher. Often times, STEM is thought of as a field of study for males or for those who are particularly skilled in Math or Science. What many people don’t realize is that STEM education is going to play a role in all our students’ futures. We live in an increasingly technologically driven world, and by not teaching our students the importance of STEM education we are doing them a disservice. Using the Teacher Challenge Grant, I will create a makerspace that is open to all students. Furthermore, I will provide maker programs that are diverse and appeal to many different types of learners. The Teacher Challenge Grant would give Cazenovia students an opportunity to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math regardless of there gender or interests or plans for the future. Help Cazenovia STEMtheGap by giving us the opportunity to Make in the library!   Way to go Ms. Whalen!

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