"Bridging the Gap on STEM Outreach" Workshop
This workshop aims to bridge the gap between educators and STEM professionals in developing successful STEM outreach events for students of all ages. Outreach events are used to encourage students to pursue a STEM career by exposing them to the many different opportunities available once they finish school. However, there can be disconnect between the students and the STEM professionals in selecting the right presentation material and how to engage students of different ages with the material. With this workshop we hope to show both an educator’s and a STEM professional’s perspective in order to help close that gap so that these events are exciting and informative for students. Come listen to Elizabeth Bero, winner of 2020 AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award, as she presents on the educator’s standpoint of what is effective at engaging students and helping them to find what really inspires them to look at a STEM career. Then listen to Caitlyn Durham, NASA MSFC Systems Engineer who has organized and participated in over 20 STEM Outreach events, present from the standpoint of a professional in a STEM career on how she prepares for each event: what initial questions she asks herself that make each presentation unique and some rules of thumb that apply to all outreach events. Come to learn from the educator and STEM Professional on how to improve STEM Outreach events. Then participate in an open discussion where you can share any experiences or ideas that you have found valuable to engage students with STEM.
Elizabeth "Beth" Bero
Elizabeth Bero is one of AIAA's three Educator Achievement Award winners for 2020. Elizabeth was so honored for her career-long efforts to promote STEM education in our community. A gifted specialist at Horizon Elementary in Madison, Alabama since 2003, Elizabeth is the immediate past president of the Von Braun Astronomical Society and the 2014 recipient of the Best Environmental Education Program award from the Environmental Educators' Association of Alabama. Elizabeth feels that her best strength is in helping students to make connections to their learning, whether that means hands on projects for NASA, lessons for AIAA, gardening, hiking or collecting water samples. She loves bringing guests and community members in to her students, for more authentic experiential learning.
Caitlyn Durham has worked for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center for ten years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from West Virginia University and a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Colorado Boulder. Caitlyn currently works as a Systems Engineer for the Solid Rocket Booster element of NASA’s Space Launch System. In that capacity, she is responsible for operational requirements, launch commit criteria, flight instrumentation, and a variety of other things. Throughout her career at NASA she has also worked on math models, virtual reality, small scale launch vehicles, rocket equation tools, International Space Station payloads, rocket engine turbopumps, and guidance calculations. Caitlyn also gives frequent outreach presentations. She has given outreach presentations about NASA, SLS, and engineering to a wide variety of audiences, from pre-school age children all the way through seniors at a senior center.