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Association for Top STEM Leaders Launched

The International Association for STEM Leaders (IASL) is becoming globally recognized for creating the gold standard model for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics excellence in both traditional and nontraditional educational settings. After careful analysis, researchers at the IASL have determined a need to focus on and support STEM leaders at the grass roots level whose work is making a significant difference in the lives of students every day through STEM. In collaboration with identified global STEM leaders, the IASL is also providing guidance for creating excellence in STEM programming and is developing the first STEM education certification program that is industry-based and recognized throughout the world.

A team of experienced STEM educators, led by entrepreneur and STEM advocate, Dr. Carole Cameron Inge, is seeking to identify the special attributes of STEM leaders who have developed and maintained exemplary STEM programs. Inge began her career working with colleagues at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Also noteworthy, Inge was a researcher on the original Trends in International Math and Science Study in 1995. She worked on the early development of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning. This initiative was started in part, through a project funded by DARPA, called the Computer-Assisted and Education Training Initiative. She brings these experiences and in-depth educational knowledge to IASL, and together with her colleagues, they are currently seeking the top 100-150 of the world's foremost STEM leaders to learn how they implemented and are sustaining high quality STEM programs, which will inform the certification process.

The results will enable the IASL advisory board to identify those who merit STEM leadership awards, which will be presented at the IASL STEM Leadership Summit April 24 and 25. Organizers are also scheduling and planning ways these leaders can share model STEM efforts, collaborate on new ideas for STEM programs, and learn innovative ways to reach all students with STEM. At the IASL summit, organizers will meet with their corporate partners and STEM leaders to bring together selected invitees who are leading exemplary STEM programs at NGOs, schools, school districts, academies, nontraditional institutions, and outreach programs.

On Thursday, April 24, STEM leaders will be recognized at an awards reception. The next day, leaders from the first STEM cohort will convene a STEM Leadership Summit that will have as its focus the future of STEM education. That future will include such innovative programs as humanoid robotics, Fab Labs, the Maker Movement, 3D printing, and online education and coding in STEM environments. Other topics will include identifying ways to reach and include students from underrepresented populations and providing STEM education and experiences for all.

The IASL Leadership Summit will be held in collaboration with the USA Science and Engineering Festival, and all leaders in STEM are invited to be a part of this inaugural event.