Abts Presents at NSF Congressional Briefing on STEM Education

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Prof. Leigh Abts

Clark School Professor Leigh Abts (Fischell Department of Bioengineering/College of Education) was invited by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to speak at a Congressional briefing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, titled ”Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K-12 Schools.” The event, co-sponsored by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Discover Magazine, was held at the Rayburn House Office Building on June 12, 2013.

Engineering concepts and the design process are an important part of preparing students for college and future careers in STEM. But many K-12 teachers are not aware of how engineering can be used to inspire and improve student performance. The NSF event was aimed at addressing the importance of introducing these concepts early in the K-12 experience.

Over the last several years, the NSF and partner organizations have held a series of Congressional briefings to inform legislators, policy makers and others about science, technology and education issues of relevance to them and the American public. The audience at the briefings consist of Congressional staffers, members of science and engineering associations, industry representatives, as well as government and private organizations.

Abts’ presentation focused on the importance of engineering design projects to help students develop problem solving skills and creative thinking. 

Abts, who has a joint appointment in the College of Education, has been a national leader in the conversation on advancing STEM education initiatives, and recently worked with the Department of Energy to establish a new "Energy 101" course to be implemented at colleges across the nation, based upon the curriculum he developed for his course "Designing a Sustainable World."

More information about the June 12 event, including complete video footage, can be found at the Discover Magazine website.

Published June 29, 2013