There’s no doubt that STEM is one of the hottest topics in education right now. But one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in further integrating it into curriculum, according to WPI adjunct professor of mechanical engineering Martha Cyr, is that so many people have a different idea of what it is.
“There is a wide variety of interpretation of what STEM means,” says Cyr, noting that in her experience, “what STEM is, is using the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as critical thinking skills, to work on problem solving.”
Last Wednesday, some of the state’s greatest minds and influencers in STEM disciplines gathered to grapple with this and other issues at the 11th annual Massachusetts STEM Summit, held for the first time in Worcester, at the DCU Center.
Featuring numerous speakers from around the state, as well as dozens of sessions, panels, and exhibitors, the event’s theme was “Gateway to the Future.” Attendees included more than 1,300 educators, business leaders and legislators, and WPI “had some amazing representation,” says Cyr, who also serves as executive director of the STEM Education Center at WPI, which provides licensure, degree programs, and professional development for educators, and performs research on teaching and learning.