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Mass. Life Sciences Center CEO Addresses Diversity with STEM Educators

April 17, 2015

In March, Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., founding president and CEO of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, BOLD (Photo right) addressed teachers and superintendents from 12 Massachusetts and New Hampshire school districts and schools as well as other educational leaders during a Gateway Project Symposium at the Museum of Science, Boston. Windham-Bannister is responsible for implementing the state's 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative.

She said that while STEM fields are U.S. job growth engines, people of color are underrepresented. Speaking "as a woman of color," she said, "We need a talented workforce regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and zip code. Our vision is not just to grow jobs but to create pathways. The STEM battle is won or lost in the early grades where you work."

The symposium marked Gateway's 10th anniversary and renewal of its Mass. STEM Advisory Council endorsement. Museum vice president and Gateway director Yvonne Spicer introduced Gateway cofounder Cary Sneider who in a video traced the project's growth from 10 to 100 Mass. Districts, over 600 K-12 educational leaders, and into three other states. The Museum launched Gateway through its National Center for Technological Literacy® to help districts create strategic plans implementing K-12 technology/engineering programs, while introducing educators to resources supporting standards-based curricula and assessments.

Spicer also presented the Technology/Engineering Education Life-Time Achievement Award to Winchester, Mass., educator Charles Corley, a STEM leader on Gateway's initial team.

Speaking of Gateway's impact, Mashpee superintendent Brian Hyde said that his district has expanded STEM from high school to elementary and middle school students. Monomoy high school teacher David Breski explained, "It's hard to motivate high school students unless they are exposed early. Because of Gateway, my students understand the design process." Gateway was "the catalyst" for Laconia, NH, assistant superintendent Kirk Beitler to start "our STEM work. Teachers took what they learned back to their classrooms."

The Museum showcased Lynn, Monomoy and Mashpee, Mass., and Laconia, NH, districts' best practices and those of Jackson School in Newton, Mass. For more information:

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500