About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Supporting STEM for girls in Haiti ... involvement in a world championship

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

A year ago, Dr. Allyson Watson from Northeastern State University (Oklahoma) accompanied our Laurier team to Haiti as she explored ways to support girls and STEM in Haiti. She was an integral part of our team and came away with a vision for developing a robotics team at an all-girls school in Cap-Haitien.

Dr. Watson invited Miller Roberts III, the VP of Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, to share in her vision. He did in a very practical way by accompanying us to Cap a few months later and providing the resources and training that would support a team. I have posted pictures of that experience on this blog last October.

Miller returned to Cap a month later to ensure the team was well established. He also hired some young mentors to help facilitate the team's development.

Now the vision of Dr. Watson, Miller, and others of us who have supported this effort is taking a further amazing step. A Haitian team of two girls, a principal, and a mentor were able to receive visas to come to the robotics world championship in Louisville. A team of incredible people have stepped up to help this team with many aspects - from helping with hotel rooms to welcoming activities to printing t-shirts for them to wear.

The opportunity to participate in a competition like the world championship in Louisville is incredible. Although the team has only been together for 6 months, this opportunity could serve as a catalyst to really encourage girls to pursue classes and careers in engineering and technology. It is phenomenal that this has all come together in just a few months. But it's a testimony to the power of what happens when a "village" determines to make a difference.

This summer, a Laurier team of 30 educators will be building on this work as we support the professional development of teachers in Cap-Haitien. A key focus area is STEM. We need Haitian teachers who are passionate about science and engineering to support students who have interest in this area. We particularly need female teachers to encourage and empower female students. We are already seeing the fruit of this effort and I look forward to seeing it multiplied.

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