Central Coast STEM Education Forum, event photos

June 1, 2011

What does Lieutenant General Susan Helms, Commander of the 14th Air Force, Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space at Vandenberg AFB and a former NASA astronaut have in common with high school student, Dustin Wyke?

Both spoke eloquently of the importance of collaboration and team work—the exact focus of the Central Coast STEM Education Forum, which brought together almost 100 educators, politicians, business men and women to collaborate on a working plan to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Education.  The desired result of STEM is a cadre of youth who will make the United States competitive once again, in the global economy. (Story continues below photos)

If you would like to buy a high resolution print of any of these photos, aside from those of the performers, contact photographer Dennis Eamon Young at photodennis44@gmail.com. See more of the photographer’s work at www.DennisEamonYoungPhoto.com.

See the photo gallery here

General Helms, when asked what was the most memorable part of being in space, related that the dynamics of launch and re-entry paled in comparison with the experience of living and working collaboratively with the microcosm of individuals who shared the area in the space station for six months   General Helms has had a lifetime of experience in science and education, hands on training and performance.  Dustin Wyke is at the very beginning of that process, but both emphasized the need for collaboration and teamwork.

Dustin Wyke is a member of the Atascadero Greyhound Revolutionary Robotics team 2011 First Robotics World Championship team.  Dustin’s grasp of the importance of managing the personal inter-relationships within his team was an indicator of the dynamics that guided these young people to their success.  The problem solving, the understanding of the mechanics necessary to make their robots perform might actually pale in comparison to the importance of their collaborative efforts.

Dustin pointed out that his team realized that in addition to the importance of their own team work and collaboration, they observed the positive impact of the competing teams helping each other during the actual competition. After the initial performances, new teams were formed based on observations of the skills exhibited by individual members. The vision of these young people as adults collaborating with others in a global economy is an exhilarating one.

After keynote speakers General Helms and Chris Roe, CEO, CA STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) and former Deputy Director, Business-Higher Education Forum, Washington D.C., spoke, the group spent time highlighting the myriad of STEM activities, projects and collaborations that is already in progress in San Luis Obispo County.  Brainstorming to identify key issues that need to be addressed and resolved led to a list of topics for break-out sessions.

Those individuals present aligned themselves with one of the sessions which seemed to best fit their expertise and ability to impact STEM education.  Eavesdropping on the discussions in these sessions was encouraging and enlightening.

Results from the session are being synthesized and will be presented at the next collaborative session on June 16th at the PG&E Education Center.  For more information, please log on to: http://endeavours.org/STEMforum

By Judythe Guarnera contact at j.guarnera@sbcglobal.net.