FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2011
Michelle Sherrard 202-994-1423;
GW ‘Teachers In Industry Project' (GWTIP)
Turns Local Teachers Into Interns
University Program Pairs Northern Virginia Teachers with Big Businesses to Boost Careers and Curriculum in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
WASHINGTON —The George Washington Teachers in Industry Project (GWTIP), hosted by the university's Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va., will pair 15 Loudoun County Public School teachers and two Prince William County Public School teachers with nine local industry leaders. Through full-time externships with local businesses, teachers will learn what role STEM content and 21st century business practices play in turning wastewater into clean water for residents, creating cyber defenses for global networks, designing “green” systems for the construction industry and developing the latest advances in medical care. Following their experiences, teachers will work to integrate their new-found knowledge into their daily classroom curriculum.
Lockheed Martin, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Loudoun Water, REHAU North America, Telos Corporation, Fortessa, Inc., Prototype Productions Inc., Dulles International Airport, and TASC Inc. will each host an interdisciplinary team of middle school and high school teachers on-site beginning on Thursday, July 14. The program ends on July 29.
“Our goal is to offer teachers exposure to the most current workplace practices, tools, information and workforce trends in order to best equip their students to compete and succeed,” said Janet Schiavone, GWTIP co-director and professor within the university's Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD). “This year we are pleased to announce the expansion of the program to include teachers from Prince William County, and we received generous financial support from Lockheed Martin. It is encouraging to see that this training model is growing locally and that industry leaders are investing in these important educational programs to ensure that we fully prepare the next generation of leaders.”
President Obama's “Educate to Innovate” Campaign urges an increase in STEM literacy so that all students can think critically in science, math, engineering and technology, and move American students from the middle of the pack to top in the next decade.
“We see the GW Teachers in Industry Project as an innovative opportunity to partner with teachers to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and IT professionals,” said Jason O'Connor, vice president of engineering, Lockheed Martin's IS&GS-Security division.
“It's important for students to understand the fun and exciting career options available to them in STEM fields. Engineers power our world, solve our toughest problems, and change our lives through technology,” said Mr. O'Connor.
Following a two-day orientation at GW's Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, which will feature lectures with CEOs, managers and directors from the region's leading companies, GWTIP teachers will get a first-hand, crash course in the latest technologies, as well as insight from a diverse set of employees on how organizations tackle tough challenges, manage finances and operations, capture new business and recruit new employees.
“Reality has entered the classroom by allowing local businesses to impact education,” said Paulette Garner, GWTIP participant and eighth grade language arts teacher at Parkside Middle School in Prince William County. “This program is in essence impacting ‘how' students are prepared for the world of work. I believe that this is one of the missing pieces in a well-rounded education.”
The 17 teachers will be split up into four interdisciplinary groups ranging in content areas from communications studies and social studies to physical science and math. Led by a GWTIP mentor, each group will participate in two different externship experiences providing a wide range of material to be discussed during post-externship reflection and debriefing among the teachers. GWTIP mentors will help facilitate dialogue on how best incorporate “real-world” lessons into classroom lesson plans.
“I could not pass up another opportunity to learn about what businesses expect from my current students, their future employees. I also wanted to recharge my batteries as I prepare to enhance the lessons I present in the classroom,” said Nicole Kezmarsky, a GWTIP mentor, third-year GWTIP participant and Loudoun County High School math teacher. “When the curious student asks, ‘When am I ever going to use this?' through programs like GWTIP, not only can teachers answer this question, but they also have people, places, pictures and stories to support their answers.”
Members of the media wishing to schedule a GWTIP site visit, request a GWTIP complete schedule, or speak with a participating member of the program should contact Courtney Bowe by email or 202-994-5631.
The GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus, established in Loudoun County in 1991, is a robust center for innovative research, graduate education and regional corporate partnerships. As a University' science and technology campus, it hosts a dozen centers of excellence in critical areas such as energy science and technology, transportation safety, and high performance computing. The GW Virginia Campus also combines its research excellence with more than 20 exceptional graduate degree and certificate programs in business, education, and engineering, and unique undergraduate programs in the health sciences. GW has been educating Virginians for more than 50 years, beginning in Hampton Roads in 1958 and expanding its service across the Commonwealth, notably in Arlington, Alexandria and Ashburn. For more information on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, visit www.gwvirginia.gwu.edu.