On March 26, 2020, Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) held its first of four webinars as part training in the 2020 STEM Ambassador Program.
The program aims to shape the future of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the commonwealth by targeting vital policy conversations to legislative leadership in the areas of STEM Learning ecosystems, computer science, apprenticeships, state and federal policy for formal and informal education, and workforce needs. The program is led by Winnie Black, Ed.D., STEM Coordinator at PAYDN and Center for Schools and Communities. She has a doctorate in educational leadership and change and has been leading the process of designing and implementing STEM advocacy and policy projects in Pennsylvania since 2018.
The online event provided the STEM Ambassadors with information about the parameters and benefits of their STEM policy project, which aims to improve an audience’s understanding of the value of STEM and project-based learning for youth in and out of school.
“The policy project encapsulates everything the Ambassadors will learn during the program year, as well as the related partnerships and networking activities,” Black said.
Representing leaders and emerging leaders in K-12, higher education, business and industry, early learning, and afterschool and summer programming from 18 counties, the 2020 Pennsylvania STEM Ambassadors have agreed to invest the next 10 months in training and policy development. They will share expertise and content knowledge with influential stakeholders to help develop a stronger voice in shaping STEM education policy issues.
“The STEM Ambassadors were extremely interested in how to offer advocacy, policy and student STEM events while keeping safe social distance during these challenging times; and ways to develop STEM Learning Ecosystems in their local counties through virtual platforms,” Black said.