A Message from Carol O’Donnell
Dear Friends of the Smithsonian Science Education Center,
For more than a week we have witnessed and experienced the heartbreak and distress, sadness and anger spreading across our country.
Scarisbrick Hall School, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted an online “Global Classroom” to help young people around the world learn more about COVID-19. The virtual event hosted schoolchildren from 193 countries invited to ask questions about the virus and pandemic.
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O’Donnell, and Division Director for Curriculum & Communications, Brian Mandell, both presented at the event.
Annual IAP SEP Global Council Meeting
The Inter-Academy Panel in Science Education Programme (IAP SEP) held its annual meeting, virtually, on April 22nd. The focus of IAP SEP is the promotion of Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) and also the improvement of science literacy among the general population through national academies of sciences as well as science museums and centers. O’Donnell has been a member of the council since 2015.
Spring 2020 Advisory Board Dinner & Meetings
The Smithsonian Science Education Center held its Spring 2020 Advisory Board meetings and dinner March 4th- 5th in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, March 4th, SSEC held a joint meeting between the board and its Ad-Hoc Committee on Higher Education Center. The group was welcomed by the interim Associate Provost for Education & Access, Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar. This was the final meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee, whose members include:
New Science Curricula Summit & Workshop
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O’Donnell, traveled to San Francisco, CA to participate in the New Science Curricula Summit & Workshop on June 7th. The summit focused on generating new ideas and/or possible collaborations for experiments aimed at spreading science and scientific thinking more widely across both the US and the world. O’Donnell presentation to the group was centered around Community-based citizen science, specifically on SSEC’s Smithsonian Science for Global Goals Mosquito!.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) has announced the release of Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces, a series of free online engineering design challenges for students to engage with emerging technologies through hands-on learning. Inspired by Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, these activities bridge formal science education and the exciting makerspace movement by helping educators and teachers engage with digital and physical technologies within the context of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) by asking them to make something new.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Visit
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O'Donnell, traveled to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on September 7th to meet with Engineering Professor Lisa McNair, who is the Director for the Center for Researching Science, Engineering, Art and Design (CRSE). CRSE is part of the University’s Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT) and houses ICAT's education work related to outreach and engagement, research and evaluation, and partnership and advocacy. O’Donnell had the opportunity to meet the CSRE team, as well as ICAT founding Director, Ben Knapp, and ICAT Associate Director, Tom Martin. O’Donnell also shared with the teams SSEC’s work in K-12 STEM Education, specifically recent work in educating youth in engineering practices. O’Donnell and McNair discussed mutual points of interest between the two centers and possible collaborations.
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals – Panama City, Panama
To support the release of this curriculum, Smithsonian Science for Global Goals, the Smithsonian Science Education Center hosted a Building Awareness for Sustainable Education (BASE) program in Panama City, Panama on June 6th. The program was attended by 30+ local stakeholders including Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientists and staff, the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA), the Inter-American Development Bank and Staff from the Smithsonian Affiliate Biomuseo, along with other local stakeholders invested in education and health. June 7th - 8th the Smithsonian Science Education Center hosted, a two-day professional development workshop on the Mosquito! module, bringing together 45 teachers from around Panama, representing both public and private schools. Teachers had the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences from the curriculum, and explore ways that this curriculum may be used in their classrooms.
Federal Coordination - STEM Committee Meeting
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director, Carol O’Donnell, attended the Federal Coordination (FC)-STEM Committee Meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday, May 8th. The goals of the meeting were: a) equip the FC-STEM Committee to guide Federal STEM planning by providing essential background and context, and b) guide the development of the future 5-Year Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan and its ancillary working groups.
2018 STEMconnector All-Member Summit
US News and STEM Solutions Conference on K-12 Panel
While U.S. students are graduating high school at the highest rate ever, questions remain about how well prepared new diploma-holders are for what comes next. For instance, researchers estimate that some 6 million jobs remain unfilled, many of which require individuals with STEM skills that employers say they just cannot find enough of in the talent pool. In response, K-12 administrators, advocates, and policymakers are working to shore up education programs in K-12 to give students the skills they need to compete in the workforce or the college classroom. The change is happening by improving teacher training, integrating more experiential and hands-on learning into the classroom, and teaming up K-12 schools with corporate and higher education partners to advance women in STEM. Several education leaders presented on this standing-room only panel, including Dr. Carol O'Donnell, Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), who discussed SSEC's role in the Johnson & Johnson Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design (WISTEM2D) initiative.