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Perez participates in national teaching program

This fall, Lorraine Perez, a high school science teacher at Russellville High School will return to her classroom with a deeper understanding of how to integrate real world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts into classroom instruction.

This understanding comes as a result of her participation this summer in a highly exclusive professional development opportunity sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and administered by Discovery Education in association with the College Board and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

Perez was one of only 50 educators from across the country selected to take part in the Siemens STEM Institute, a fellowship designed to promote hands-on, real-world integration of STEM disciplines in the classroom helping educators to get their students excited about STEM education and careers.

The goal of this one-of-a-kind, all-expense-paid immersion program is to create a group of STEM ambassadors who can take what they learn back into their own classrooms and become key influencers in their schools and communities. Perez collaborated with educators from both urban and rural areas across middle and high school grade levels in an effort to bring new and innovative digital tools into the classroom that will enhance STEM teaching and learning.

The Siemens STEM Institute is part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a premier online professional development community for STEM educators empowering and celebrating excellence in STEM education.

Perez and her colleagues spent the week of Aug. 4 – 9, just outside of Washington, D.C., at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications – the parent company of Discovery Education, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet – working with leading scientists, thought-leaders, educators and innovators whose work across STEM disciplines shape the world of science today and prepare for the world of science tomorrow. Guest speakers included education pioneer Dr. Lodge McCammon, Senior Advisor of STEM for the Department of Education Camsie McAdams and University of Iowa professor Dr. Joe Krajick.

As part of the fellowship, participants also visited leading institutions of STEM innovation and met with practicing experts in the field including members of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Chief of Museum and Learning at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Fellows also received a behind the scenes green building tour by BCI Building Operations. These hands-on experiences introduced the fellows to real-world STEM applications and provided opportunities for networking and collaboration with peers from across the nation.

The Siemens STEM Academy is a collaborative effort of the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board to empower and celebrate excellence in science, technology, engineering and math education. As the premier online professional development community for STEM educators, over 125,000 teachers from across the United States exchange and download resources, participate in and view webinars, obtain up-to-date STEM news and network with their peers. Additionally, each year the STEM Academy selects top educators from around the country to participate in the one-of-a kind Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) programs, two-week prestigious professional development experiences at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

In addition, 50 educators are chosen to participate in the Siemens STEM Institute, a one-week professional development initiative at Discovery Communications headquarters in Washington, D.C.