‘Gold Standard’ STEM Work at Stranmillis University College
Last year Stranmillis University College in collaboration with The International Association for STEM Leaders (IASL) offered Initial Teacher Education students the opportunity to work towards an internationally accepted accreditation in STEM. Stranmillis lecturer Dr Irene Bell, Head of Maths, Science and Technology describes the work that was done by the students as well as a successful ‘graduation’:
‘The International Association for STEM Leaders is globally recognized for creating a "gold standard" for STEM excellence in traditional and non-traditional educational settings for all pre-kindergarten through to adult students. Stranmillis University College is the first institution outside America to have students receive this award, and both students and staff are very thankful for this fruitful collaboration.
Further to the six students who received their certificates in July on graduation day, an additional thirteen students were recently honoured. Joining the ceremony from Virginia via video link was Dr Usha Rajdev who is a Professor in Education (STEM) at Marymount University, Virginia and President of STEM Certification in IASL. Along with several other Stranmillis University staff members I was present to hand over the certificates.
To achieve this award, students were trained in educational STEM based space exploration and precipitation monitoring activities by NASA Educators. They also volunteered 10 hours last year to teach children in engaging maths or science related activities, and organised a STEM event for school children and completed a portfolio. Even though there was obviously a lot of work involved over the course of the year, the students testify that it was certainly worthwhile, a really good experience and lots of fun.
Four students - Peter Soutar, Anthony McGill, Ryan Litter and Micha Lanz - received a second award from the IASL for their leadership role within the student body and for representing STEM at the College.
The Stranmillis STEM leaders hope that this will just have been the first round of certificates and that many more Stranmillis students will take up the initiative and strive to become STEM leaders in years to come.
Sincere thanks are expressed to Dr Rajdev and the Board of the IASL STEM Leaders programme for making it all possible. At the graduation Dr Rajdev spoke many words of encouragement to the students and urged them to continue their work and take their knowledge and experience to the schools in which they will teach – “and who knows, maybe you can get your school STEM certified. Just keep on going, this is only the start, so don’t stop now. The sky is your limit!”