White House chief science adviser visits FIU for STEM education workshop

By Joel Delgado ’12, MS ’17

FIU welcomed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology John P. Holdren to campus for the STEM Education Workshop – White House College Opportunity Agenda on Oct. 1.

In his remarks to an audience of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educators and administrators from various universities around the country, Holdren stressed the need to continue to raise the bar in equipping students for a world increasingly tied to science and technology.

“We need lift to maintain a pipeline that will produce the next generation of discoverers, produce the tech-savvy workforce that the jobs of the 21st century increasingly require and create the science-savvy citizenry that a democracy will need to function in an environment where more and more of the decisions facing our elected leaders has science and technology content,” Holdren said.

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White House chief science adviser John P. Holdren (left) speaks with students at FIU during a visit on Oct. 1.

Holdren, President Barack Obama’s chief adviser for matters concerning science and technology, praised FIU for improving college access for students from underserved communities and educating minorities in STEM.

“I am enormously impressed by what is going on in this particular university to advance the ball in these domains,” Holdren said.

President Mark B. Rosenberg followed by asserting FIU’s commitment as part of the nationwide effort of reaching the Obama administration’s goal of creating 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2020. He cited the university’s fruitful collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to ensure student success and create a pipeline for new and effective STEM teachers.

“We can’t be competitive in the 21st century knowledge economy without more scientists and engineers and without more STEM teachers,” Rosenberg said. “We see ourselves as a solutions center, and we are willing to take responsibility for the challenges we face locally and globally.”

Read more on Holdren’s visit as well as FIU in Washington D.C. this week.

Participants in the workshop, like University of Central Florida Director of Learning Assistant Program Jackie Chini, benefitted from a panel discussion concerning innovation in STEM teaching and learning as well as from breakout sessions that included various topics in STEM education.

Some of the topics discussed included redesigning the way STEM introductory courses are facilitated, getting freshmen and sophomores more involved in research initiatives, creating pathways to STEM degrees and improving college readiness for high school students and connecting students and graduates to STEM careers.

“Having the opportunity to talk to people who have been successful with connecting with industry and high schools will help us become more knowledgeable and strategic in how we go about helping our students,” Chini said.

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