Teachers from 11 schools across Muskogee County learned new opportunities for bringing math and science to life in the classroom recently at the 2016 Muskogee STEM Educator Summit–a two-day summer camp for educators.
Organized by the Eastern Oklahoma Health Care Coalition and the Port of Muskogee–Industrial Development Office’s Dream It. Do It committee, the program targeted K-12 teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-related subjects. On the initial day of the camp, educators learned how STEM concepts are applied in health-care through professional “field trips” to EASTAR Health Systems, the Eastern Okla. VA Health System and Air-Evac Lifeteam Muskogee. On the second day of the camp, educators toured and learned from manufacturing professionals at Acme Manufacturing and Engineering, Advantage Controls, Dal-Tile, and Georgia-Pacific.
“Not only did I get some wonderful ideas for lessons for the students, but I learned so much about the health care and manufacturing companies in Muskogee,” said Julie Rowland, an educator with St. Joseph Catholic School in Muskogee, who participated in the camp. “I am still in awe about all the things I learned pertaining to all the various jobs and careers that are connected with these two areas.”
“The goal of the STEM Educator Summit is to inspire teachers by giving them the chance to see local examples and practical applications of the math and science they are teaching in the classrooms,” explained Lisa Berry, Executive Director of the Eastern Oklahoma Health Care Coalition. “Long term, the objective is to reach area students early to encourage and develop a future workforce pipeline for the local healthcare and manufacturing industries.”
“Teachers are the key to promoting STEM education,” said Dan Morris, President/CEO of Advantage Controls. “If teachers are excited and well-informed, they can bring STEM content to the classroom and we can reach the kids necessary rebuild the technical workforce needed for the future growth our company and the Muskogee community.”
In addition to Eastern Oklahoma Health Care Coalition and the Port of Muskogee, the summit was supported by Connors State College, Lake Area United Way, Acme Engineering & Manufacturing Corporation, Advantage Controls, Dal-Tile and Georgia-Pacific.
“This is the first of what we hope will be an annual event for area teachers”, said Marie Synar, Deputy Director of the Port of Muskogee’s Industrial Development Office. “We need these teachers to now go back and serve as champions and promote local healthcare and manufacturing career opportunities to their students.”
Dream It Do It Oklahoma is an initiative supported by the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance that showcases the incredible career opportunities available in manufacturing. It works to change perceptions of manufacturing careers by connecting manufacturers with students, parents and educators to create an understanding of the manufacturing renaissance in the United States and salary opportunities over $60,000 for Oklahoma employees.