UN Aims to Meet Nebraska’s Workforce Needs Through Statewide STEM Education | New
If students knew that what they learned in science, technology, engineering and math classes could make a difference in the world and in their community, would they pursue related careers?
This question is what prompted Professor Chris Moore of the University of Nebraska at Omaha – an expert in teaching chemistry and physics – to write high school curricula which are the premier chemistry and physics programs. to fully align with Nebraska’s new standards for science education and careers. .
This authentic learning approach challenges students to explore real science-based STEM topics, such as connecting gas laws to the high winds that sweep Nebraska and fuel California wildfires or the learning about acids and bases by examining data on ocean acidification.
“When a student realizes that chemistry or physics is directly linked to his life and can be used to help people in his community, it keeps him engaged with the subject in a way that adds depth and meaning to the subject. his classes, ”Moore said. “When you make that emotional connection, you have a generation of very engaged lifelong learners who want to pursue these high-demand careers that will meet these challenges and many more. “
Moore isn’t the only one to think outside the box to inspire and equip Nebraska students of all ages to face one of the most 34,000 annual job offers in highly skilled, in demand and well paid careers – many of which require university degrees in STEM fields.
The UN is also home to the STEM Education, Research and Learning Center, also known as the STEM TRAIL Center. Led by biology professor Christine Cutucache, Ph.D., the center works hand in hand with the Omaha STEM ecosystem to foster experiences that create lifelong learners across Nebraska.
The founding organizations of the Omaha STEM ecosystem include the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium of Omaha, Union Pacific, and the Omaha Public Food District. They work collectively with nearly 900 members to identify needs within the local economy and to facilitate a wide range of opportunities for professional development, teaching, coaching, mentoring, scholarships and workshops.
“The Center is built around the idea that research is a teaching tool. Many of us learn by doing, and when we learn to ask questions, analyze data and present our results, we are supporting lifelong learning, ”Cutucache said.
“In a rapidly changing economy, adaptability is paramount. We prepare people for the jobs and unique workforce needs of the state. Our programs have a proven track record of student retention and workforce diversification, serving as putty on the otherwise leaky STEM pipeline. “
UNO also specializes in training future STEM educators so that K-12 students across the state have positive learning experiences in subjects and are inspired to pursue careers in STEM fields.
The Office of STEM Education and the UN College of Education, Health, and Humanities offer a number of avenues to become a STEM educator, including opportunities for teaching certifications and a STEM concentration for graduates. students in the college’s elementary education program and a graduate program that allows students with a STEM bachelor’s degree to become a certified teacher.
STEM Education community president and teacher education teacher Neal Grandgenett said the possibilities are endless.
“When we give our educators the tools, knowledge and experience they need to teach science, technology, engineering and math in a very engaging way, we help children develop and maintain their passion. for content, ”said Grandgenett. “This in turn opens new doors of passions and career paths for K-12 students.”
To learn more about how UNO is driving STEM education to fuel Nebraska’s STEM workforce, visit impact.unomaha.edu