Episode # 53

The STEM Fellowship Program with Jessica Short

March 28, 2024

About This Episode

On this episode, Kara & Caryn speak with Jessica Short, aDirector of the Dayton Regional STEM Center, about the development of The STEM Fellowship Program, a development opportunity for educators for over 16 years.

Guests

Jessica Short

Jessica Short is a distinguished education professional renowned for her expertise in science education and educational leadership. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Ohio University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati, she established a solid foundation for her career. With seven years of experience as a high school science teacher and five years as the principal of one of Ohio’s premier STEM Schools, Jessica excelled in integrating STEM disciplines into the curriculum.

Transcript

[00:00:00]

Caryn: Today we are talking to Jessica Short, the director of the Dayton Regional STEM Center and our building office mates. So we’re excited to have Jessica here today. Welcome, Jessica. Yeah.

Jessica Short: Yes. Thank you for having me. Good morning.

Caryn: We’re excited. We’re excited to talk to Jessica. Jessica’s fun. So we always start out.

Yes. This will be a good one. So we always start out having. People that we talked to tell us about their journey and education and how they kind of ended up where they are. So if you want to start there,

Jessica Short: yes, absolutely. So pretty initial standard journey into education. I suppose I definitely am 1 of those [00:01:00] proponents of you, you know, you, you only know what you know, and you see and so I, you know, surrounded by educators throughout time that obviously led into some interests, but probably in seventh grade, I was. aware or kind of started leaning into like, I really would enjoy this. And it was like from one of my teachers and I love when that happens.

And I love those stories that one teacher makes such an impact on a student, not necessarily, but from what they were learning, but just because of that relationship and who they are and super funny, I guess, relationship in that sense. Mr. Mr. Fremder. Mr. Fender, sorry, Mr. Fender he, like his reputation was terrifying.

And everyone was scared. Like when you go in, like we were told, like he caught a kid sleeping and he was going to throw, he threw like a desk out the window and like, I was like, Oh my goodness, what are we getting into? [00:02:00] Crazy. And you know, and he was like, he was a tough cookie, but he was awesome. It was so much fun to be in his class and it was early world early world history and just something about the subject area and just his connection with the students and something about those.

This tough and high expectations that he had, but that, you know, compassion and the willingness to want to build those relationships with, with his, with his students, that was something really important. So that was like the first time I was like, yeah, I really enjoy this concept. of education. And so when I got into high school, I think that gave me an advantage because I was not only trying to do well in school, but also I was like, I was watching my, my teachers.

To see, like, what do I like that they do? What do I enjoy about class and how does that work? And it wasn’t until my, my junior year my chemistry [00:03:00] teacher. She was like our modern day Ms. Frizzle from Magic School of Mellis. Courtney. We, we sang songs. We did crazy experiments. We danced. I mean, this was, we were juniors in high school and it was the most fun that I have ever had.

And really the first time that I did well in science and enjoyed a science, definitely wasn’t my favorite subject area before that. I kind of struggled in it. And that just like clicked. And it was chemistry, . Mm-Hmm. . How cool. I was like, this is, I know. I was like, oh my goodness. So I was like, okay, I, I want to be her.

I want every kid loved her. Mm-Hmm. . And I was like, I want that. I want that experience. Not only learning so much, changing the mindset of students and the way they feel about science and math. ’cause I had her for physics. The year after I,

Caryn: yeah, and you really jumped in the science [00:04:00] school there.

Jessica Short: Right. I just kind of dove right into that. I was like, okay, here we go. Something about having that. So I, that, that kind of set the path. I was like, okay, I’m going into education. I definitely want to be that kind of teacher. And so I would school for middle childhood education, have something near and dear to my heart for those Sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

That was like, that was my hope. I never got there. So I never made it there. I spent seven years in the high school classroom teaching ninth grade science. They, I just always wound up and I, and taught science and a couple of years of history as well. And I live still in a about an hour Southeast of Dayton.

And so I was in some very rural school districts, smaller school districts, and that was very eye opening and I genuinely loved bringing science and opportunities to our students. You know, in the classroom and as time went [00:05:00] on, I, I loved it so much and I saw the impact that, you know, I could make in a classroom that I wanted to have the opportunity to make a bigger impact for a longer time on a larger group of students.

So I really felt that I wanted to move more towards an administrative role to help kind of share that, passion and the ability to, you know, connect with more students and, you know, share these opportunities. So was able to find that role in Dayton kind of brought me here. I spent five years at the date regional STEM school.

So not to be confused with the STEM center Happy coincidence there that I’ve been able to be at both. But I stepped into that school building and I was, I was really excited because I found my, my people and a group of educators that just genuinely had the same passion and philosophy.

In education that I did and yeah, like being able to have a team that wants to [00:06:00] bring this, that type of education style to students is, is pretty empowering. And so I just, I had a wonderful experience throughout that, throughout that time. And you know, where I’m at now. So currently the director of the Dayton regional STEM center, this position, had opened up.

With the Montgomery County Education Service Center. And again, it was strictly, I, I now have the opportunity to bring this to even more students. So, my education experience in the classroom, my time that was spent at the STEM school learning how to incorporate project based learning, work based learning you know, STEM career pathways, internships, career exploration.

This runs the gamut of the things that were available to these students in a different way of delivering them. And I saw a success there and I would love and still continue to want to make [00:07:00] sure that we are able to bring that to more students as many as that we can and help educators know that there is a way to look at the approach to the classroom differently.

That is engaging and yet really successful for student learning.

Caryn: So we were actually talking about this the other day because there’s at this point in the year, people are kind of making decisions if they’re going to stay in their traditional public school, or maybe.

Look into attending the Dayton regional stem school. So could you kind of tell us what the difference is, what’s the, what’s the school day look like at the stem school versus a more traditional public school.

Jessica Short: Sir. Yeah, absolutely. And I, and I’ll, I’ll put the caveat in there that, you know, the STEM school that I’m going to refer to is one of the five independent STEM schools that came about in under Lieutenant Governor Husted’s [00:08:00] initiative back in 2007.

So there, there are these five, but there are so many districts. within our, within the Dayton region and within the state that are also STEM designated and embody the, this approach and have a lot of the features that I could kind of share that were within my experience. And it’s, so while, you know, the, my experience at the STEM school was amazing.

I love that. There are a lot of districts and a lot of schools and opportunities as time goes on. They’re realizing that these practices and this approach to education is is successful for a lot of students and they’re incorporating that into Their public school model, which is what I think it works out perfectly.

So yeah, it’s, it’s really about just [00:09:00] being open to those opportunities and practices that potentially. Not necessarily disrupt, but become available, but maybe do not fit into a traditional model and cause some need for flexibility. Heavy on Tom autonomy on your educators for the planning, the decision making, the the scheduling, the researching.

For these opportunities in collaboration with administration to bring these things to students because that in the end really led to a lot of the success and implementation and buy in from the entire district. And so, you know, I loved my, that was my favorite time. We, we purposely had. Teacher team [00:10:00] grade level team meetings twice a week for an hour during lunch, during their lunchtime.

So it’s like a working lunch that we would be able to attend that I’d be able to go to and just be able to kind of think about that and have that time each week to check in on. Not only like what’s going on with our students, but also some like strategic thought process and planning for projects and things like that.

And then on the other end of that, being open to partners that just have an idea and maybe want to see if there’s some involvement that can happen or our teachers have an idea and they think it’s kind of crazy, but they reach out, they’re like, I know someone though, can we just see what we can do?

And I’m like, well, let’s go check it out. So I’ll totally like my favorite story, is we had a local farm, happy wife acres reach out to the school and said, I have this chicken. Right. I have a chicken and they, [00:11:00] she suffered, she suffered frostbite and she lost her legs, which is so sad, right? It was terrible.

We wanted to see if we potentially wanted to have some students work on designing some prosthetic legs or a walking opportunity for this chicken. And we’re like, that’s an engineering design challenge if I ever get one. And so we, like, they rally, they rally the troops and there was an afterschool club created and it was 6th through 12th graders that kind of formed these teams and they worked on different designs.

They met with some different professionals around prosthetics and materials and of course the chicken, she came to stay with us in the school. And she had a support chicken friend that would come as well. So obviously this, it was a rally for the entire district to get behind. And we, and in the end there were some [00:12:00] opera, you know, there were some creations that they got to test out and some prototypes.

And one of them, we, we got to see her walk in. So it’s just, so what a success story and what a win and. Did that necessarily fit into, I mean, there obviously isn’t a chicken curriculum. Maybe there should be, but the amount of skills that they had to encompass and pull from, from their classes was, was unreal and they spent more time outside of school kind of researching and.

Connecting with partners and building some of those professional skills that we find so critical, I still feel are so critical in the process of, of education. So like such a win. And that’s it. Yeah. And they’ll remember

Caryn: that forever, forever. Yes. They’ll be telling their kids about that. I can’t forget it.

Jessica Short: I will never forget it even like I just, you’d walk by and there’s your chickens and they’re hanging out. [00:13:00] Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Kara: Yeah. So,

Jessica Short: so. So fun, fun, but so maybe it’s not the difference of a STEM school versus a traditional school. It’s more of the mindset that you’re going in and I’ll kind of go in, I guess, a little bit further just in what I, I guess I, I call it my STEM versus.

maybe what STEM maybe originally was set out to be. So, you know, it’s been an acronym for quite some time. We know it’s the subject areas, science, technology, engineering, and math. And, and that’s, and that’s true. It reigns true still today. However I feel that, that limits Maybe or alienates some who feel that that’s not maybe for them, including that was me up until I got here.

Even though, and now here I am, that’s all I live and breathe is STEM. So my, my STEM is [00:14:00] strategies that engage minds. Oh, I like that. Absolutely. And I just got to meet with a group of student delegates for the region, and we were talking about, you know, why is it so important? And there’s such a big focus on careers and career exploration.

And while we know STEM careers are in demand, there’s a lot of careers that are in demand. And there, we, and we want all of our students to have a career that fulfills them. And, and a multitude of aspects, not only in terms of their economic standing, but you know, even more so socially and emotionally.

So I, you know, my, what I leave them with, and I said, if you get nothing else out of this talk today, I want you to understand like all careers are not STEM careers, I think we’ve tried to always fit them into a some type. And I was like, that’s not the case. You’re not going into the field per se. However.

There is STEM in all careers, you’re [00:15:00] going to, and it’s more of those strategies. It’s, it’s the problem solving, it’s the ideation, it’s the critical thinking, it is the collaboration. It’s all of those. What I find are extremely critical skillsets that our schools need to be ensuring success in for the students.

Along with content, but doing it in a way that’s truly elevating that skill set because in the end, if they can do all of those things, if we put in front of them, there’s, they’re successful, they’re going to be able to do it. They’re going to be able to the challenge. So I, I think that more so is the difference, the differentiator between, yeah.

Maybe what you see in a STEM classroom or in a STEM school or with a STEM mindset is you are truly embodying that [00:16:00] STEM mindset, not the fields, but the engagement of those strategies.

Kara: Why is STEM so important in today’s educational landscape? But I feel like you just answered that with all of the things you were talking about with the skills.

Jessica Short: Yes. So all day, all day long. So important. Yes.

 

Kara: Okay. So Because so we’ve touched on like the STEM school [00:17:00] and that experience. So as director of the regional STEM center, I know you do a lot of work with teachers.

So I am curious if you can tell us a little bit about the STEM fellows program.

Jessica Short: I am so excited to tell you about this because It’s it’s going like we’re getting ready to do a relaunch of it. So I would love to share all about this. Oh,

Caryn: nice. Perfect timing.

Jessica Short: Perfect timing. So the STEM fellows program has been the signature professional development opportunity for educators, the flagship of the STEM center for what is now 16 years.

So from the, from the beginning it’s been there and it had, it was designed and it’s been designed to leverage educators pre K through 12 to be on teams and partnered with industry, [00:18:00] military individuals and higher ed individuals to learn and walk through and train in the. High quality STEM framework that was designed by Dr.

Jim Raleigh. It nationally recognized and, you know, utilized in a variety of areas. And by doing that and going through that training process, they worked together to design a curriculum unit. That has been piloted in classrooms, vetted, edited, and then published on our Simcenter website for free access and open source to anyone that in, in anywhere that is interested in utilizing it.

They’re pretty extensive units. They’re sometimes between seven and 15 days. And that has been, that’s proven to be extremely awesome. I, we in the last few years had noticed that with the, just the landscape, but we’ll, we’ll just like lay it out what it is when COVID hit. Definitely [00:19:00] saw a tick in maybe some different approaches and some new needs.

In the, the education system and terms of curriculum and in terms of educator expectations and opportunities. I will say currently it’s, it’s a struggle to be able to fit in a 7 to 15 day unit project on a subject that you potentially, if you are not a STEM teacher and you’re just doing maybe science or English or math to have it fit completely with your pacing chart and your curriculum.

And so we are, you know, it’s, is it, are these what we’re creating beneficial and usable for our, for our region, for, for people and you know, also it’s a pretty intensive program. It’s about six months long. And it’s in the evenings, so that’s a lot of time. [00:20:00] And as we know, unfortunately, educators time is becoming more and more thinned out in terms of the requirements that are being expected of them.

And so having them with an evening time, even though I feel that when we, they’re in the program, it’s still. Thoroughly worth it being able to make that commitment is not always something that is available to everybody. And so we looked at some additional data and determined that this year we maybe needed to look at a redesign process for the program.

Just based on just a variety of feedback from all stakeholders. So we have had a listening session and program reviews this entire year. So far, we pulled about 65 stakeholders in. From all sectors, including our educators that have participated in the program in the past. Our administrators of the region, our industry partners from all different sectors our military [00:21:00] and our higher ed institutions and our, and our nonprofits.

And then also some of our, we called them the legacy group who have been a part of the program. For quite some time and understand the ins and outs of it. So trying to get everybody’s insight and intake on this, if we’re doing a redesign model, what needs to look, what does it need to look like and what do we need to be evaluating?

And it was fantastic, super excited just to have this conversations and we then were able to bring them back after we got that initial feedback and listening sessions to do a tuning protocol. I don’t know if anyone. Has ever done a 2D protocol before. It’s actually, I, I thought it was a more common practice.

It’s definitely in schools, a common practice, but it’s not something that happens all the time. In my former school district project tuning protocols are what we did and it’s, it’s just a a way to solicit feedback in a strategic manner. So we we created an innovation tuning [00:22:00] protocol. For the stem center that allows for any type of problem or project to go through the engineering design process vetting and then we leveraged industry and engineering terms.

vocabulary for the styles of feedback so that we’re able to, if this was something that we wanted to leverage in the classroom with our students or in a professional development with teachers, we are encompassing or embodying that professional industry workplace. vocabulary that would be used kind of universally in that sense.

And so it’s, it’s really cool. It’s only, it takes about 45 to 50 minutes and you are able to get a variety of different feedback types from your peers and the way that it is scaffolded or strategically set. You open after you give your kind of your pitch. [00:23:00] of what the problem is. So you kind of go through the different design points of an engineering design process.

The, they start with a warm feedback in the of it. And so you kind of have about three to five minutes of warm feedback. They then they move into cool feedback, which is not negative feedback. It’s more of what makes them stop or ponder have questions about. Concerns that are raised, things like that.

And then it finally goes into the, the ideas or what we call the innovative insights in that sense. And so that’s the time you spend the most time that’s where they’re giving me. Like, like if this is a challenge or you just, you said, this is something you’re still thinking about. I wonder if you did this, or I wonder if you thought about this, right?

I have a connection or this partner would be very good. So this is where the actual brainstorming takes place. But because you did those first two, when you get to that point, the ideas are amazing. When you [00:24:00] have that, so we got to do this with all of our groups and we brought them all back and kind of pitched the new program.

So some of the things that have came to be from this is. It’s the STEM fellows are getting a new program name. Oh, nice. Yeah. Right. Like I was like, first big drop. They are moving into the approach of, while it is still a STEM mindset, just going back into what we were talking about before. It is not STEM in the sense of the four subject areas.

It is STEM and subject of the strategies that engage minds. So they are, the program is now going to be called the next GEM, G E M, innovators, next GEM innovators. So this is more focused on innovation, leadership design thinking and leveraging the [00:25:00] educators as the product rather than the curriculum that was designed before.

So we are in the business of human product moving forward,

Producing and delivering educators back out into the district that are you know, trading and going through some professional development around things that the district can leverage for a leadership or a strategic innovation movement within their, within their school buildings, within their teacher teams, within their district, within their community.

And so, you know, another model, we’re moving it to four days in person. With some hybrid virtual meetings in between. So eliminate fence about that and they’re going to be full day so that we have time to spend time in onsite and industries and working with partners. Of all these things, and we are going to have three different pathways that they can actually choose their own [00:26:00] adventure of what type of training or focus they would like to do in this sense.

So they still have the opportunity to work on curriculum, but it’s not a curriculum unit that is large, expansive, and maybe something that they cannot implement. It is something of their choosing. That they actually can actually back to their, to their classroom and use. So hooray on that one right away.

So there’s still curriculum opportunity. But on the other end, it’s there’s the leadership pathway. Focusing more on, they are going back to the classroom. They could service coaches, lead professional development design and maybe curriculum models instead, or outside like career exploration, pathways.

And different things for their district. And then finally there is the, like the partner or the community engagement collaboration pathway where we’re going to be focused more on establishing authentic and meaningful partnerships with [00:27:00] industries. So going beyond the guest speaker realm, how do we have a strategic partnership with an industry in the classroom, in the buildings, in the districts how it may be, how to successfully bring about community engagement events.

So we’ve got like this menu of choices that they potentially could pick to work on. But we, you know, during this time, we’re actually going to have time to work on these innovative projects. That we can at least have plans to implement. So genuinely bringing something back to the district that’s valuable and addresses the needs that are currently going on either in their classrooms or in their school buildings or in their, in their districts.

So I’m really, really excited for just the new model. We’re still working out all the kinks and the different things, but it’s ready to, it’s going to be ready to go in the fall of 24. So we’re going to open up our cohort in that sense.

Kara: [00:28:00] How does that work? Like how, if a teacher is interested, like how do they join?

Jessica Short: So we are still kind of, we’re waiting on some information in terms of funding in that sense. But we will be opening up applications in early August. We’ll have recruitment flyers and information ready to go in the spring right now. There’ll be an application process with a recommendation from their administrator.

And kind of a memorandum of understanding in that sense. But there will, it’ll be a, it’ll be an application process that we will vet through. This also gives us the opportunity for schools to submit team applications. Oh, if a team wanted to attend. So if they wanted to do some larger strategic work during this process, that’s available to them.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be an educator in the sense of a classroom teacher. We, we could certainly see if they were going in those other two pathways, if a curriculum director or a [00:29:00] principal, a counselor an after school aid, or, I mean, however they feel it’s more of what would their team look like if they really wanted to accomplish this and need some further coaching, training, and guidance.

And we could provide that support and be able to kind of lift that up successfully. So super pumped about that, but it really, we’re just kind of going through what that application process would look like vetting those to make sure that we’re able to. Provide that support for what they’re, what they’re needing.

We would love to have, obviously, all the time, a representation of our, our region, in terms of participants. So, you know, we’d love a variety of different schools to be in participation in this, and a variety of, you know, alternative options. You can see this being a great opportunity for pre service educators after school maybe after school organizations with, you know, educators.

They’re huge in this realm and there’s a lot of time. after school time has been [00:30:00] kind of the movement forward in terms of embedding some of those direct STEM opportunities. So that is sense that they would come along and join us on this. So really trying to open up the, the STEM realm. And what it really mean for our region and for everyone who is involved with working with our students.

Kara: That’s really cool. Yeah. And I like the shift, the shift in the way that you’re doing it. That’s kind of, that’s really cool. Instead of it just being like, this is how it’s done. Kind of a thing with the options. That’s neat.

Jessica Short: Voice and choice. We are. Yeah, it’s something that has been. It’s a big proponent of project based learning, personalized learning.

It’s a big part of stem in terms of fine thinking and that process. So [00:31:00] again, if we are encouraging our school systems and our education approach to model that, then we want to make sure that our, our program is also modeling that as well.

Kara: Yeah, that’s just great. What does the STEM ecosystem look like? Or honestly, maybe explain a little bit of what that even means or what is that?

Jessica Short: I would love to explain all of that. So if you are not living in the realm of the STEM ecosystems it is definitely elusive.

Unknown: Yeah.

Jessica Short: So I am, I am so happy and honored that I get to be a part of that organization, but we in the Dayton region have the do STEM ecosystem. The D O is capitalized on purpose because it stands for Dayton, Ohio. So we are the do STEM. I didn’t

Caryn: know that. I just thought I did not know that I did about doing things.

Jessica Short: [00:32:00] Yes. And while it’s my own word, it is amazing. I cannot tell you that the, or the original. Creators and establishers of the ecosystem had that on lock, but I love sharing that insight with everybody. So do capitalize is on purpose Dayton, Ohio. So we are the do STEM ecosystem. I serve as the coordinator of operations for the, for this ecosystem.

And we are a part of a larger organization. So the STEM learning ecosystems, community of practice, they are part of pies. Which is a national organization that is actually based out of Cleveland. So it’s kind of nice to have them in our backyard, but they, they span nationally and internationally.

There are currently 111 and counting STEM ecosystems in the nation. And I believe there’s about. Eight to 10 in other countries as well. So a much [00:33:00] larger organization than, and ecosystems than just ours in Dayton. There are five in Ohio. There is one in Cincinnati. There is the so they are the greater Cincinnati

Kara: Oh, STEM collaborative.

Jessica Short: Thank you very much. Yes. There is the Appalachian. Are they the same collaborative as well? Got to remember what their names are now. They’ve got some wild names. So, and the STEM ecosystem spans 16, 17 counties. across the southern and eastern Ohio. And then there’s Neo STEM, which is in the Cleveland area.

And then there’s STEM works, which is for it’s kind of north central Ohio for the most part. So we’ve got a lot of the larger regions. There’s still some areas that we don’t have some touch points. But there are five in Ohio, but just so many more. And, you know, I believe the word ecosystem is intentional as well.

So when you think of [00:34:00] ecosystem and biology class, it is a natural working order of all organisms, all organisms together to, you know, not only survive, but to sustain and thrive forward. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. What the ecosystem does. It’s leveraging the skills, the strengths, and the the opportunities that exist already in the region and bringing those players together.

Understanding. You know what they what their role is in our in our region when it comes to stem and and leveraging those to make it even stronger and utilizing them to lift up opportunities for our educators and students. So heavy focus, obviously, on workforce development still a heavy focus on opportunities.

for educators and students around education and professional training. And we [00:35:00] are a, we have a council, a do some council. It just expanded. So we’ve got about 18 council members from all different sectors of the region. It’s very important that our council that meets regularly reflects. The the diversity, not only in terms of our, our sectors of the region, but, but also the ethnicity and our, and our, and our of the region, right?

We, we very strategically made sure that that was, that’s intentional. In terms of that, we have higher ed institutions on the council, military representatives on the council. There are K 12 from a career tech center. The STEM school and from Dayton public representatives on the council. There are our industry from a variety of different sectors and our nonprofits.

So we’re making sure that we are really, truly pulling in key players. across the region to make sure that we are in the know [00:36:00] and figuring out what can we do to make sure that we’re lifting up these opportunities that come down the line and get them out to our students. And then is there a way to even collaborate on those initiatives to make them even stronger?

Not to resign, not to take over, just to lift up and make sure that we’re getting the right kids. We’re getting kids who maybe do not have access or haven’t heard about them before. And same thing with our educators to these places so that we are able to not only, you know, help our pipeline, but also keep our talent.

Caryn: Right. Which is

Jessica Short: important. Absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t think we, any of us could disagree the importance in that. So it’s just that we, our ecosystem is in its fourth year of existence. So it was, it was great. It was launched in February of 2020. Oh, just in time timing again, note that date, perfect timing.[00:37:00]

And so it took a, it was a little bit of a slow start, but I think that we are really ramping up these last few years in terms of opportunities and really bringing together the group. So there are, you know, meetings that we try to leverage multiple opportunities or bringing together large groups of interested parties.

So we have a fall convening. Every year. That’s in the evening. So hopefully that we’re able to bring in educators or K 12 population to work, to be able to interact with our the rest of our like industry and nonprofit and military and higher ed institutions. And then we have an annual conference that’s coming up, shameless plug.

May 3rd at the Air Force Museum from 8 to 4 p. m. It is free, right for this year. Super excited. Thanks to the Department of Defense and STEM Education Consortium grant. So it is free for all attendees. Very excited about that. We’ve got something fantastic. Fantastic sessions designed around just all different, [00:38:00] not only STEM, but again, just opportunities and different, you know, best practices and hearing from just a lot of different individuals and, and mindsets about the needs of the region.

So it’s very hands on, I guess I want to say, or interactive. A lot of the sessions were designed in that sense. So there are workshops within that panels. of students, panels of industry. There are times and where you can actually just go out and test new technologies and different concepts with your hands, the teachers or educators or the attendees can.

And there are, there’s just a lot of different creative ways. We’ve got two fantastic keynotes. We’re doing many keynotes. They will be kind of, yeah, a different little concept. There’s so many keynotes. They will be around the concept of AI. So cool. Those down. Yes, indeed. I, you know, once we get them finalized, I can’t wait to share a little bit more about, about them [00:39:00] moving forward, but one on the, the use of AI towards the.

approach of the educator and how that is actually beneficial to maybe their time and their, and their efforts. They can get back to doing what they love because I can’t imagine that it’s the amount of paperwork and forms and submissions that they have to fill out. And if we can find something that can help reduce that amount of time so they can actually spend time in the classroom with their kids.

And being creative, that’s awesome. I would, that’s, that’s what they went into it for. That’s what they are. They went through their training for, and I want them to be able to have that back. So good speaker. And then the, on the other one, it’s AI in terms of you know, just what that means for our future.

Our future, our students in, in, in general, why is it important that we start bringing these approaches in for these kids? So really excited about those as well. So, you know, save that date. Registration’s already open on the do STEM website. So [00:40:00] cool, which is what’s the address do STEM. org do dash STEM.

org. Yes. So check that out. If you do STEM, it’ll, it’ll be there. It should pop up right away. So please consider attending. So we’re excited about that. Yes, indeed.

Kara: Thank you so much, Jessica.

Jessica Short: Absolutely. Thanks. Thank you for having me.