Letter From Director
I believe that having the opportunity to identify and pursue one’s passion can be life-saving. As the Director of the Jay Pinson STEM Education program, I am committed to providing opportunities for students, teachers and the larger community to identify and nurture their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to promote their exploration of the campus and the greater community.
As a kid growing up, I loved visiting my father’s entomology research lab. I loved the excitement of graduate students as they sorted through their samples, the smell of the preserving agents, and the feel of living organisms crawling over my skin.
I followed in my father’s footsteps and I obtained a Masters studying the diversity of seaweeds and a PhD studying cancer. My focus on my studies, my love for my work, and the opportunity to interact with like-minded people empowered me to rise above the turmoil of my parents’ divorce and many of the other hardships that young people face.
Through my teaching experiences as a graduate student and lecturer, I discovered my love for sharing information and providing others opportunities to identify and nurture their interests in science. For me, this means providing individuals with genuine and palpable experiences within the sciences. Experiences like I had visiting my father’s lab. I have been fortunate to have worked with engineers, mathematicians, technologists and educators who share my vision.
In the United States, we face a shortage of skilled workers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Working together, across colleges, disciplines, fields, and institutions, I see the Jay Pinson STEM Education program as serving as a national model of a university and community partnership that strengthens the regional workforce through innovative and comprehensive opportunities in STEM Education.
I see the Jay Pinson STEM Education program is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort involving university, K-12 education and community partners dedicated to increasing the capacity of teachers to deliver effective instruction in STEM fields, inspiring and mentoring youth to enter and excel in the STEM career pipeline, inspiring and supporting STEM students and professionals to mentor others in the pursuit of STEM education, and promoting the public understanding of STEM.
-Virginia Lehmkuhl-Dakhwe PhD
Duncan Hall (DH)