WESTFIELD — For Evelyn Humphries, now entering her junior year at Longmeadow High School, playing dress-up as a little girl meant the usual sparkly tiara and frilly tutu.
And her mother’s lab coat.
Humphries, 15, described Tuesday how her desire to become a doctor brought her into the Eureka! Girls Inc. of the Valley program and has seen here already participating in cancer research at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences institute in Springfield.
She wasn’t the only young person who spoke Tuesday at the Massachusetts STEM Week 2019 Launch Event at Scanlon Banquet Hall on the Westfield State University campus.
For example, Westfield High School students Catherine Morrissey and Lizzy Regnier described their work researching the effects of global climate change on the reproductive ability of fruit flies and on the health of undersea coral.
It’s all leading up to Massachusetts STEM Week set for Oct. 21 through October. 25. About 70 educators from Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties representing grands kindergarten through grade 12, said Jennifer Hanselman, dean of the Westfield State College of Mathematics and Sciences and the regional manager of the Pioneer Valley Regional STEM Net.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The network had been inactive for years and now Westfield State is restarting it.
“The theme is to “See yourself in STEM”, Hanselman said. “”And its about involving STEM in all curricula from K through 16.”
Bu 16 she meant up to an d including a bachelor’s degree, she said.
One major goal is to connect teachers with employers in their areas both so employers know what’s going on in the schools and so educators can learn what skills industry needs.
“And there are many of these employers’ educators might not even know about,” she said pointing to small manufacturers as an example.
It’s a message Robert LePage, the state assistant secretary of career education, said is critical for the economy.
“Everyone in Massachusetts is connected to STEM whether they know it or not,” LePage said. “Every job is a STEM job. Manufacturing, education, your IT department.”
One opportunity open to educators this fall is the Project Lead the Way STEM Week Challenge, a statewide K-12 program based around the concept of “zero waste”, said Andreina Parisi-Amon of Mass STEMHUB.
MassSTem Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation, offers free curriculums, teaching materials and advice for teachers interested in implementing the program .
“Students will be soling a real-world problem,” she said. “They might be looking at food waste, or at zero-waste cream energy.”
And the programs of study also prep students for their standardized tests, she said.
More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
STEMHUB is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the TD Garden.
Other presenters Tuesday included the Springfield Thunderbirds who wish to use the team to get kids excited about science and recognize educators’ efforts and vendors like LEGO Education, Mad Science and the Springfield Museums.
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