Meet Our North Carolina Regional Coordinator: Akua Carraway
From the mountains to the sea, North Carolina boasts of rich cultures, varying businesses and industries, and diverse geographies. More than 50 years ago, North Carolina began a transition from a manufacturing and agriculture-centered economy to a global economy driven by science and technology. At the center of this movement is the Research Triangle Park (RTP), one of the most beneficial public private partnerships in our history: a model for research, innovation, and economic development that utilizes key stakeholders across the state. The RTP was developed to encourage and promote North Carolina as a hub for research and development business primarily in, but not limited to, the area anchored by three prestigious institutions -- the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. Today, the RTP is responsible for attracting many research institutions to our state and incubating novel patented discoveries that range from life-changing cancer treatments to 3D ultrasound technology.
STEM in the Tar Heel State is a personal, as well as professional, passion for me. Born and raised in North Carolina, I received my academic foundation in the classrooms of our state public school system under the tutelage of dedicated and passionate teachers -- a foundation that prepared me to pursue post-secondary and graduate level studies in Applied Mathematics. Prior to joining the NSRC, I worked across the state to support the design, implementation, and evaluation of small and large-scale education/community development initiatives to promote rigorous and relevant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. I have also had substantial experience with community outreach and mentoring in the form of community programs, mentor initiatives, informal education opportunities, and tutoring. These experiences have fed my earnest enthusiasm and interest in the education system and resources available to our youth. Through my interactions with the great folks of North Carolina, it is clear that all students are capable of understanding and excelling in the sciences -- a vehicle for teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills --the vital skills needed to prepare our kids for jobs that have yet to be created in this ever-changing landscape of the 21st Century workforce.
With our regional partner, The North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Education Center, we are committed to ensuring that all children have the opportunity and access to rigorous and relevant science education. By the conclusion of the LASER i3 program, we project to have impacted over 1,000 teachers and 25,000 students in North Carolina. I look forward to working with our communities and schools to make LASER i3 a success in North Carolina!