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Wyoming Summit Focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


February 7, 2012 — The University of Wyoming will be a major player at the first-ever Wyoming Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Career Teacher Education (CTE) Summit 2012. The summit will take place Thursday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Casper College's Roberts Commons.

Of the nearly 100 participants invited, UW's contingent includes, among others, Myron Allen, UW's provost and vice president for academic affairs; Don Roth, professor of molecular biology and School of Energy Resources academic programs; Bryan Shader, professor of mathematics and special assistant to the vice president for research and economic development; Sylvia Parker, interim director of UW's Science and Mathematics Teaching Center; and Rollin Abernethy, professor emeritus and UW's representative to the Wyoming P-16 Education Council. Roth, Shader and Parker are members of the STEM Summit Planning Committee.

Larry Hatfield, Wyoming Excellence Chair in Mathematics Education; and Mark Lyford, UW's Life Science curriculum director, also are expected to attend.

"Wyoming can serve as the nation's laboratory for teaching computational science at all levels of the educational system," says Allen, who will be part of the panel discussion, "What Might a Wyoming STEM and CTE Initiative Entail?" "In no other state is a single research university so closely connected with the K-12 school districts, the public community colleges and a world-class supercomputer center."

The purpose of the summit, convened by the Wyoming P-16 Education Council, is to:

  • Examine the potential STEM education and the STEM work force could play in Wyoming's economic future.
  • Explore the roles of K-20 education in meeting the potential for STEM and CTE.
  • Evaluate the variety of STEM and CTE educational programs and supports now offered across the state and share learning experiences with the education providers.
  • Begin to consider where and how STEM and CTE student learning expectations overlap.
  • Enlist summit participants in furthering a statewide STEM initiative.

Raj Pandya, director of science education at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is one of the keynote speakers. He will discuss the importance of STEM and CTE education in the national and Wyoming work force and economy. Pandya will focus on opportunities in computational sciences, energy and the environment.

A key component of such opportunities will be UW's partnership with NCAR on the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). The NWSC is being developed in partnership with UW, the state of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, the Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power; and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

 The NWSC will contain some of the world's most powerful supercomputers dedicated to improving scientific understanding of climate change, severe weather, air quality and other vital atmospheric science and geoscience topics. The center also will house a premier data storage and archival facility that holds irreplaceable historical climate records and other information.

In addition to UW, the Wyoming P-16 Education Council received assistance from Gov. Matt Mead's office, Casper College and the Department of Workforce Services in organizing the summit.

For more information about the summit, go to http://wp-16.org/summit2012.html.

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