Program helps develop STEM policy leaders in Pennsylvania and recognizes 28 members of the third cohort.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (February 27, 2020) — Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) today announced the third cohort of Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors. The program aims to shape the future of STEM education in the commonwealth by targeting vital policy conversations to legislative leadership in the areas of STEM Learning ecosystems, computer science, apprenticeships, state and federal policy for formal and informal education, and workforce needs.
“Afterschool and summer programs play a major role in providing meaningful science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experiences to diverse groups of youth and PSAYDN is proud to join the ambassadors and partners in this important work,” said PSAYDN director Laura Saccente.
Representing leaders and emerging leaders in K-12, higher education, business and industry, early learning, and afterschool and summer programming from 18 counties, the 2020 Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors have agreed to invest the next 10 months in training and policy development. They will share expertise and content knowledge with influential stakeholders to help develop a stronger voice in shaping STEM education policy issues.
“With Governor Wolf’s commitment to the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, PAsmart initiative, pre-apprenticeship opportunities and bipartisan support for essential workforce needs, Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors continue to help increase STEM opportunities in the commonwealth,” Saccente said. “The STEM Ambassadors play a major role in shaping this work.”
Program training is made possible through a partnership with the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) and the national STEM Education Coalition. Ron Cowell, president of EPLC, with expertise from 24 years of serving in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, lauded the program: “Informed and supportive public policies are vital to promoting STEM education throughout the commonwealth, and the Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors Program strengthens the advocacy effort to build effective relationships with lawmakers who decide these policies.”
Throughout the program, Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors will be briefed on state and federal policy initiatives and take a leadership role in advancing STEM Education policy priorities through various advocacy streams.
“The STEM Education Coalition is looking forward to engaging with the Pennsylvania afterschool and STEM education communities,” said James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition.
“Advocating the need for increased access to STEM education provides students, especially underrepresented groups, with innovative, hands-on learning opportunities that have been proven to build career success and spark curiosity in students,” Brown added.
Also serving as a facilitator, Chris Neitzey, director of STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance, added, “Afterschool and summer programs work for increasing STEM identity and engagement, and reinforcing and supporting formal STEM learning. These programs are critical partners in a robust STEM ecosystem, and require cross-sector support to reach their full potential.”
“The Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to see such a diversity of stakeholders represented among the third cohort Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors, and looks forward to offering training to support their programmatic and policy efforts,” Neitzey said.
The training event at the Pennsylvania School Board Association was hosted by Center for Schools and Communities, a statewide training and consulting organization in social and emotional learning, positive youth development, school safety and youth violence prevention, cultural competence, equity, education leadership, family support and community service integration, and early childhood care and development.
To date, more than 60 statewide STEM leaders have participated in the program. Meet the 2020 Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors.
Aylissa Kiely Tyndale, 717-903-0219