Educational Access conference to focus on STEM success

Senator Linda Pondexter-Chesterfield

Senator Linda Pondexter-Chesterfield

Dr. Cindy Moss

Dr. Cindy Moss

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) will host the 21st Annual Mary E. Benjamin Conference on Educational Access Wednesday, April 23, in the Kenneth L. Johnson Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Complex with the theme, “Preparing K-16 for STEM Success.”

According to Chair Dr. Vera Lang-Brown and Vice Chair Ms. Georgette Wiley, the objectives of the one day conference are to: address evidence based research; strengthen higher education and public school administrators, faculty, and students’ awareness of the importance of STEM in Arkansas K-16 school settings; increase education faculty’s collaboration in STEM activities; contribute to institutional and community commitment toward the development of K-16 students for careers in STEM; facilitate networking among local, regional, and national stakeholders in strengthening the STEM educational system for K-16 students; and to serve as a clearinghouse for evidence based strategies in developing and supporting STEM engagement by K-16 students and STEM baccalaureate majors as they pursue life long careers in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics disciplines.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers, Dr. Cindy Moss, director of Global STEM Initiatives for Discovery Education and Arkansas State Senator (District 30) Linda Pondexter-Chesterfield.

A nationally respected leader in STEM education and reform, Dr. Moss is a champion for STEM engagement and career and workforce readiness, she has over twenty-one years of experience in district leadership, classroom instruction, and inquiry based learning.  She was selected by the National Science Foundation to serve on the federal commission, which created the “National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the US Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education System.” In 2012, Dr. Moss was recognized as one of the top “100 Women in STEM.”

Senator Pondexter – Chesterfield represents Senate District 30 and is now serving her second term in the Arkansas Senate. In the current 89th General Assembly, she is chairman of Joint Energy and Arkansas Legislative Councils (ALC)-Policy Making. She is vice chairman of Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor, Legislative Joint Auditing, Executive Committee of Legislative Joint Auditing and a host of other committees. Senator Chesterfield came to the Senate with a wealth of legislative experience. She was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2002 to serve House District 36 where she served three consecutive terms. She formerly served as the president of the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus and is the organization’s current treasurer. Led by Senator Chesterfield, SB214 Act 905 was approved and established cyberbullying legislation. On June 19, 2013, the Arkansas Municipal League honored Chesterfield with the Distinguished Legislator Award for her exemplary service benefiting cities and towns of Arkansas.

Workshops and poster presentations will be conducted by STEM researchers, students and pre-service teachers from UAPB, Missouri State University, Indiana University, and Mississippi Valley State University. The workshops feature a plethora of topics including: the development of STEM projects; building strong partners to support STEM initiatives; effective use of instructional technology, the impact of getting undergraduate students engaged in research writing and developing STEM projects; the integration of arts in STEM (STEaM); and teaching STEM across the curriculum.  UAPB student teachers will also participate in a round table discussion to share their experiences and demonstrate how they have implemented innovative teaching strategies and projects in their classrooms.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.  The cost of registration is $75 per person with limited partial scholarships available for students. Registration forms can be obtained via www.uapb.edu/edaccess. For more information, contact Ms. Allyson Jackson at (870) 575-8475 or Dr. Vera Lang Brown at (870) 575-8275 or edaccess@uapb.edu.

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