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Oregon Tech and STEM Partnership Receive Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium Funds to Hire STEM NETwork Director

Feb 13, 2014
The Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium will help support the position of STEM NETwork Director, to connect more business and community STEM volunteers with schools, teachers, and students in the South Metro Region

The Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium has become a major investor in the South Metro-Salem (SMS) STEM Partnership, organized by Oregon Tech and a coalition of 15 school districts, six institutions of higher education, nine community-based organizations, and 11 core business partners. The Partnership formed to catalyze Oregon students to achieve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees and certificates, and reach Oregon’s education goals by increasing the access, excitement, and engagement of students in STEM courses and experiential learning, including NASA and Oregon Space Grant resources.

According to Jack Higginbotham, Oregon Space Grant Consortium Director of Space Programs at OSU, “The South Metro-Salem STEM partnership is an excellent example of how congressional funding of the NASA education mission can serve as the seed for private and public entities to come together to address local and state STEM education objectives. The partnership provides students and teachers access to NASA facilities and continuing education opportunities that build not only their excitement about a career in a STEM field, but develop a tangible product that serves as a source of pride for themselves, their families, school and state. An example is the recent deployment of a student experiment from West Salem High School on the International Space Station, with results being presented in the future at an Oregon/NASA Space Grant conference.”

The Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium’s $80,000 investment will allow the STEM Partnership to hire a STEM NETwork Director, who will work to connect the hundreds of community and business volunteers with the region’s students to help them experience the excitement of space, environment, or computing through experiential learning. Specifically, the STEM NETwork Director at Oregon Tech will implement one of the SMS STEM Partnership’s three core strategies, building the STEM NETwork, envisioned as an online clearinghouse that will connect business and community STEM resources with regional teachers, students, and classrooms. The STEM NETwork Director will identify ways that NASA resources can be included in the professional development of teachers associated with the SMS STEM Partnership and with the development of STEM curriculum that uses space or aerospace related, hands-on activities to meet state STEM teaching standards.

Other regional investors in the STEM NETwork are First Tech Federal Credit Union, FLIR, Eaton, Mentor Graphics Foundation, PGE Foundation, and the 15 school districts that are STEM Partners. Chylon Pappas, Community Relations Director at First Tech Federal Credit Union explains, “We’re excited for the appointment of the STEM NETwork Director as this position will allow the SMS Partnership to launch the STEM NETwork which will connect our tech community volunteers with educators to create meaningful STEM experiences in the classroom. These efforts will drive us closer toward our goal of developing a diverse and career-ready workforce for our community.”

Oregon Tech, on behalf of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership, has hired Jill Hubbard as the STEM NETwork Director. Ms. Hubbard is a former engineer with over 10 years of experience at Intel and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, and is concurrently a teacher at Tualatin High School. She teaches engineering and computer science courses and coaches FIRST Robotics, Oregon Game Programming Contest (OGPC), and Willamette Programming Teams. She provides summer training to educators via the TAO Foundation and Tigard Tualatin University as well as programming and engineering courses for high school students through Saturday Academy.

For more information about the STEM NETwork, contact jill.hubbard@oit.edu.


About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is one of seven universities in the Oregon University System, and the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.

About The Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium
The Oregon/NASA Space Grant Consortium is an affiliation of 15 universities and colleges and 4 institutions of informal education from across the state that implements Congressional and NASA efforts to enhance the nation's science enterprise. This involves funding research, education, and public service throughout the state at all grade levels to promote a diverse and well-educated science, engineering, and technology workforce. Oregon State University serves as the lead institution for the Consortium with Oregon Tech and four other OSGC institutions providing leadership for the South Metro-STEM partnership. Visit http://spacegrant.oregonstate.edu for more information about Oregon Space Grant.

About the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership
The SMS STEM Partnership is a collaborative of community leaders, representing 15 school districts, 6 higher education institutions, 11 industry partners and 9 community organizations, with the vision to catalyze Oregon students to achieve STEM degrees and certificates, and reach Oregon’s education goals by increasing the access, excitement and engagement of students in STEM courses and experiential learning. For more information, contact Lita Colligan at lita.colligan@oit.edu or www.oit.edu/stem.

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