By Rysheema Dixon – May 23rd, 2016

STEM is crucial to growing our economy. Building the STEM infrastructure in the State and in our local communities exposes our students and residents to the booming STEM climate affecting our neighborhoods everyday. Changing the school environment and learning techniques to expand our student’s minds so they can gain interest in the exciting new careers that STEM has to offer. As the world evolves, STEM becomes more and more important for our communities to understand and work in.

My extensive background in health through STEM is a result of: Delcastle Vo-Tech High School practical nursing program; volunteering at local hospitals; attending a medical/ dental internship in Nebraska and working over the summer with John Hopkins as a health assistant in Massachusetts at a language camp. I was also a biological science major until my senior year at the University of Delaware before I switched to Sociology as I decided that helping people required more than medicine.

Having a background in the sciences helped me combine with my love for community work. I started my own business called RD Innovative Planning in 2011 which is a community development group that assists non-profits and churches with organizing around a specific issue, planning events and managing projects to ensure our non-profits and churches are delivering their services to their best ability. My experience in STEM has also allowed me to tap into technology. I am a Delaware Stakeholder and Delaware named me as one of the Top 12 Women in Delaware shaping the Technology Scene in 2014.

As I now enter into the public office arena, I understand how STEM plays an enormous part in the landscape of our City of Wilmington. Technology is emerging in many ways across the City, we have amazing STEM non-profits, State programs and private sector interests. As I stated earlier, we should encourage our school systems to heighten awareness and teach our young people ways to expand their career opportunities. I am looking forward to working with STEM programs/projects across the City to ultimately improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods. As well as adding to the Arts and Culture in the City creating the STEAM effect which is powerful. In today’s society, we have to be creative and innovative as we move forward to make an impact.

My experience with STEM has made me the leader I am today. I am a proud advocate of STEM!


July 2015 – By Daniel Suchenski

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), are vital disciplines to our future, the future of our country, the future of our region and the future of our children.

Stop and consider how often we experience STEM in our daily lives? Example of STEM include everything from the natural world, to our smartphones, to healthcare, to agriculture, to cleaning supplies you buy at the grocery store and the roads, bridges other transportation services you may have used to get to that grocery store in the first place. STEM is important, not only because it pervades every aspect of our lives, but because it is the key to a better tomorrow.

Humanity has noble and long-standing tradition of innovation, entrepreneurship and exploration that has allowed us to do everything from go to the moon, to instantly send information around the world, and even to save and extend lives.

Sustainability has a very storied past but seems to have reached a pinnacle moment of late. Recent key players around the world are asking more from humanity now than ever before to come together to handle local and global issues that STEM will play the principal role in solving.

Let’s consider how STEM effects what is closest and dearest to us—our children. For the next generation to succeed STEM innovation will be absolutely vital for continued sustainable development across the globe. For 2014, the US News and World Report listed the ten best jobs. All ten of them were in STEM fields: software developer, computer systems analyst, dentist, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, registered nurse, physical therapist, physician, web developer, dental hygienist[1]. According to the U. S. Department of Education, STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and the U.S. is simply not producing enough candidates to fill them. Only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers.[2] Not only is STEM important to having our children gainfully employed, but also offers a sustainable innovation pathway for the world.

Rob Denson, Chair, STEM Higher Education Council, President, Des Moines Area Community College and Edie Fraser, Chief Executive Officer, STEMConnector® state, as part of the forward to their new book Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy that, “Aligning, corporate, education, and community partners requires that we rethink and redesign the system that supports STEM education and workforce preparedness. The sustainability of our schools, the innovative engines of our businesses, the prosperity of communities, and the global competitiveness of our economies are at stake.”[3]

The connection between sustainability and STEM is hardly just an American need. While the Obama administration and congress seem aligned on the greater need for STEM nationally, the international community is been making significant steps to advance a global STEM driven economy. Pope Francis on July 21st 2015, hosted some 65 mayors from across the world at the Vatican-sponsored conference on Climate Change. The two-day conference, titled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities” and “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities,” is the latest in a series of public efforts on the part of the Vatican to influence the debate on climate change and other global issues. Like many global issues of today, it will take skilled Scientists, Mathematicians, Engineers and Technologists to come up with plans to help alleviate growing problems like climate change, pollution, waste, water usage, and much much more.

The Pope’s efforts come at a time when the international community at the United Nations will vote September 2015 on sustainable development goals, and member nations will submit plans to combat climate change this winter in Paris. The United Nations in a 2013 meeting that acted as a precursor to the September Sustainable Development Goals noted that while innovation and R&D are essential elements to the goals, that in particular that areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics: the so called STEM subjects will be “the key to ensuring sustainable progress: no effective research would be possible without a steady supply of trained, competent researchers” trained in STEM disciplines.[4]

For the Delaware Valley region, investing in the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics makes sense for local large firms like InterDigital, Dow, Ashland, Christiana Care Health System, AstraZeneca, DuPont, AirLiquide and Incyte, as well as several international engineering firms, and a growing large life sciences and agriculture industry. The Delaware Valley region’s challenge in recruiting sufficient numbers of STEM professionals is daunting, in the face of competing with known areas like the Silicon Valley or the Research Triangle. Local firms are finding it difficult to recruit the STEM professionals they need to continue to be successful in today’s ever-changing business environment.

According to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Delaware ranks only behind Massachusetts for the best state to get a job as a STEM grad.[5] And the region will need thousands of additional people completing post-secondary degrees by every year. From community colleges like Delaware Technical, to state institutions like Delaware State University and the University of Delaware, and private colleges like Wesley, and Wilmington University and others, the region has the capacity to produce more trained individuals. Introducing our current and future students to STEM opportunities and getting them engaged and excited about seeking advanced schooling in these areas is essential to meet these demands.

If the United States is to remain a center for research, innovation, entrepreneurship and prominence, then we must motivate all citizens into STEM fields. Because STEM is so important for our children, our region and our country, we need to encourage current and future generations of students, to understand and embrace the technology that affects them every day of their lives. Students should be advised on the merits of taking as many math and science courses in elementary and middle as much as possible but also meet with STEM professional mentors like the Its My Future Program that Junior Achievement of Delaware administers[6], to make science and math courses fun and interesting such that their passions will grow into an exciting and rewarding STEM career.



Daniel Suchenski runs the Governor’s STEM Council for the state of Delaware. He is responsible for oversight and management of all day-to-day functions and services; acts as the focal point for all STEM Council matters; serves as the primary liaison to the Governor’s Office, Department of Education, institutions of higher education and regional businesses to further the mission of the STEM Council.



[3] STEMConnector Team (2015). Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy. New York, NY. Morgan James Publishing. Page XXII




By Ken Chisholm and Steven Worden – RadioNewark (WIZU 99.9 FM)

RadioNewark is an internet station, for now, and can be found on iTunes (News), (1st page of news-talk genre), on app it is the #2 news station behind BBC World Service.  This year, the FCC has granted Newark Community Radio Inc. (the parent company of RadioNewark) a construction permit to build a low power FM radio station that will cover all of Newark, Delaware and surrounding communities.  The internet station will continue broadcasting as it has since 2010, but change its name to “OMNIBUS” radio.  The local broadcast station will be RadioNewark, WIZU 99.9 FM.

Newark has very limited local print media and virtually no video media for advertising.  Local radio is far and away the best return on the advertising dollar; the best “bang for your buck.”   This is the void to be filled by RadioNewark.  Our local broadcast station will cover the Newark demographic and reach the local audience not currently covered by other formats.  RadioNewark will ‘partner’ with those Newark businesses who provide sponsorship of our science programming, with the goal that when a customer’s need for a product or service arises their first thought that comes to mind will be that sponsor.

“What is a science radio station?”  — Science (Latin root scientia) means ‘knowledge’.  Today, it might more mean ‘the pursuit of knowledge.’  RadioNewark brings interesting and educational science content to you in a clear and articulate audio stream that delivers internationally sourced science-related stories and interviews with local brilliant minds.  Stories about space exploration, archaeology, paleontology, climate change, breakthroughs in medicine, chemistry, physics,–you name it.  RadioNewark literally brings this science-based programming to individuals with “a mind for science.”

“How RadioNewark Supports STEM Education” – STEM education is simply the acronym of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  A broader definition as provided by the National Science Teachers Assoc., or NSTA, is:

STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.

Radio Newark’s programming offers support and ideas for how to draw connections across disciplines. The programming embodies STEM education for everyone. Story telling is an art, and Radio Newark’s “A Mind for Science” stories aspire to entertain and educate at the same time.  As a nation, we need well-educated citizens in STEM fields. Currently, the “T” and “E” in STEM are rarely taught in K–12 settings. Because of this, few people understand the way in which these fields benefit our society or the variety of careers that support them. By exposing our listeners to STEM topics and the people engaged with them, Radio Newark can help to deepen everyone’s understanding of the world in which we live.

Radio Newark offers short, STEM-focused stories intended to spark the interest of general audiences. We will partner with local schools to expose students to science communication and to provide examples of the many fields of study and possible careers that exist under the umbrella of STEM education. Families can listen together and talk about the topics that interest them. Our website will carry occasional blog posts that accompany some of our “A Mind for Science” stories with pictures, behind-the-scenes details, and additional resources about the topic.

By James DeMartino – Founder and President – Y Bicycle Association

The Bicycle – We all know about bicycles, we learn to ride a bicycle from an early age, 3 or 4 years old, some younger, many older.  We started on tricycles maybe a Big Wheel, and then progressed to a two-wheeler with training wheels and one day we even removed the training wheels and rode on our own.

Some children use the bicycle to ride to school, some to a friend’s house and some just like to ride and go fast up and down the street.  Then there are BMX and mountain bikes which open a whole new adventure for children.  As we grow, work and move to urban areas the concept of affordable transportation and commuting become priority.  There are even some who desire a healthy lifestyle and use the bicycle for exercise and possibly competition.  Finally, if you have a life long enthusiasm for bicycles, you open up a retail store to sell the most popular bikes, rent bikes and even repair and maintain bikes.

The fact is historically, people have grown up with the bicycle.  But, do we know about the bicycle?  Do we realize the Aerospace industry was launched by the Wright Brothers who had a small shop and built bicycles?  Many of the principles used to design and test for the first recorded flight were based on their knowledge and understanding of the bicycle. One of the designs of their airplane was propelled by pedal power.  Do we understand the technology of mechanics, structure, metals and composites? Or do we know the math of geometry for design and function, gear ratios for speed, formulas for power conversion and watts?  Have we thought about the engineering required for the combining of different composites and components to structurally withstand stress in order to function as intended?  Finally, have we considered the science of momentum, aerodynamics, energy, health, fitness and even environmental impact?


The point of this litany is the Bicycle is the ultimate product for teaching children about the principles and application of STEM.  People of all ages have grown up with the bicycle and we

can all relate to it.  Parents and grandparents can even help children learn about STEM by using the bicycle as an example in principle and reality; they can all go for a ride!


Students can connect with parents, teachers, engineers and scientists because they all have a common understanding of The Bicycle.  The best method to promote STEM education is begin with this common understanding and develop the desire and knowledge to pursue education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  With a good understanding of basic principles, creative thinking and a desire to improve a common product the limits are boundless.

Without realizing it, you have learned, lived, loved and developed your own career all because of a bicycle. This is what a bicycle has done for many generations and with the proper direction can provide even a better future for generations to follow.

Become a member of Y Bicycle Association  –  Visit us at  –  Like us on Facebook@ybicycleassociation and Follow us on Twitter@ybicycleassoc


Y Bicycle:

To Educate our youth about the benefits of cycling from safe riding to a healthy lifestyle.
To provide and support bicycle programs to all children in rural and urban areas.
To provide an awareness and understanding of the bicycle industry.
To promote enthusiasm for creative design and function for the future of cycling. 
To encourage and foster continued learning of bicycle design and manufacturing in conjunction with high school STEM programs.

By Monica Mizzoni

This past week I had the opportunity to interview with Michael Canning, a senior at Caesar Rodney High School. Canning serves as the student representative on the Governor’s STEM council for Delaware. He also currently serves as the President of the Delaware Technology Student Association, “a non-profit student organization that fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering.”

When I asked Canning about his role in STEM he responded by explaining that his most influential involvement in STEM is serving as the student representative for the state of Delaware. As representative, he attends meetings, provides input in discussions, and has been an important voice on the Council’s signature initiative; the Delaware STEM Educator Awards. He values his role on the STEM council because he feels that he “provides a different perspective to the council members as he voices opinions from a student’s point of view.”

Furthermore, as the leader of the Delaware Technology Student Association (DETSA), he provides insight to STEM classes in public schools, helps write the curriculum for STEM courses, and has the chance to communicate with various tech teachers around the state. With TSA, he also encourages students to get involved in STEM and shows other students why STEM is fun. Each year, the TSA runs their State Conference which involves over 750 students, advisers, and judges from across the state of Delaware.  Students attending the conference participate in various competitive events. The members of the council also volunteer at STEM outreach programs where high school age students teach younger students. His favorite event is the Invention Convention, a three-day event held at the Hagley Museum in Delaware. The TSA students help to run this event where kids are invited to build their dream inventions with recycled household items and participate in other hands-on interactive experiments and activities.

In his spare time, Canning enjoys applying what he has learned in his engineering and computer classes to fix things at home. Canning asserted that, “STEM is not just something experienced in a classroom, for most, if not all, students it carries over into normal everyday life.” This shows why STEM is so relevant and important to everyone.

When I asked Canning what he believes is the importance of STEM education, he explained how in the past there has been reliance on the status quo, but now that we have entered a new era of technology, we should embrace the opportunity to learn how new technologies operate. He believes that STEM goes hand-in-hand with the need to acclimate students to new technologies. Additionally, there is a high demand of STEM jobs, so teaching kids STEM not only helps students acquire jobs, but also teaches them valuable skills that are useful in their day-to-day lives.

In conclusion, Canning is appreciative for the opportunities that he has had through serving on the STEM Council and the Delaware TSA. He feels honored to be the student representative on the council voicing the opinion of the students of Delaware, and is determined to continue working to make Delaware a better through science, technology, engineering and math.


About Delaware STEM:

The STEM Council, composed of more than two dozen appointed members representing businesses, educational institutions and government agencies throughout the state, was created by Governor Jack Markell in 2011 to increase the STEM literacy of all Delaware students, thereby expanding the STEM capable workforce and fueling economic growth for all Delawareans.


About DETSA:

The Technology Student Association fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Members apply and integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts through co-curricular activities, competitive events and related programs.

Delaware STEM

Virginia Hanna joined the Kalmar Nyckel’s team as the new assistant director of education earlier this year. Since 1998, the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel has served as a floating classroom and an inspirational platform for educational outreach.  We offer people of all ages a variety of sea- and land-based learning and recreational experiences that promote STEM for the greater Delaware community.

Daniel Suchenski from the Delaware STEM Council visiting the Kalmar Nyckel to learn more about STEM-to-Stern – October 2015

Earlier this year, the foundation launched a new hands-on STEM field trip experience for Middle and High School students. The “STEM to Stern” program integrates Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering concepts aboard Kalmar Nyckel, our floating laboratory, and in the new Copeland Maritime Center. Students conduct experiments and work together to find solutions to real life STEM challenges that sailors have faced for centuries. Interactive Learning Stations include: Celestial Navigation, Sail Velocity and Wind Vectors, Buoyancy, Mechanical Advantage and so much more.

“To us STEM is not just an educational and workforce term for success, it’s what we are founded on; It’s what we do every day here at the Foundation.”   – Captain Lauren.

A few moments with our inspirational staff will spark that passion for inquiry based learning and the fun of all things STEM for our teachers, students, parents, and adults of all ages.

Celestial Navigation: Students will use longitude and latitude as well as navigation tools to plot a desired course. They will analyze the effectiveness of navigation at sea by “dead reckoning” and by using a sextant. Students will also learn significant celestial bodies used by sailors throughout history to circumnavigate the globe.

Sail Velocity and Wind Vectors: Students will determine true wind from relative wind and study ship velocity vectors! They will also analyze the wind directions and its impact on the ship as they sail down the Christiana River.

Buoyancy: Students will participate in a buoyancy ship-model building challenge. They will determine the center of gravity, buoyancy, hull resistance and wind force. Students will also learn and use the “Free Surface Effect.”

Mechanical Advantage: Students will determine the mechanical advantage of various machines used on the ship based on calculations from the Main Deck’s Physical features.

For more information please contact Ms. Hanna at:

Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 East Seventh Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

Kalmar Nyckel: The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to “preserving and promoting the cultural and maritime heritage of Delaware for the education and enrichment of all.”  The Foundation is a volunteer-based organization that built, owns, and operates the Tall Ship of Delaware, Kalmar Nyckel. The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a unique resource in the greater Delaware community. The Kalmar Nyckel is known for innovative educational and outreach programs. The Kalmar Nyckel also serves as a catalyst for social and economic development in and beyond the state of Delaware.

Delaware STEM Council: Delaware STEM was created to evaluate the state of STEM education in our schools and recommend ways to improve it.  Our goals are to:

  • Expand the number of Delaware students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in these fields.
  • Expand the STEM capable workforce to create, grow and attract STEM related businesses to Delaware.
  • Increase STEM literacy for all Delaware students including those who pursue non-STEM related careers, but need STEM skills.

By Dr. Randolph Guschl

I am Interim Executive Director for the Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education (DFSME). I am a long-time resident of Delaware who has been personally connected to science education in this state for a good portion of my career. I am a retired scientist who was involved for over 40 years in DuPont’s major local and national efforts in science education, and as a founding member of DFSME and a member of the Governor’s STEM Council, I have a strong interest in the success of STEM education in Delaware. My first mission as the head of DFSME has been to investigate what is currently going on here in STEM education. So what do I see and hear?

For the past 3 months I have had a fascinating series of visits and interviews with leaders in STEM education in Delaware, and I am impressed with what is going on in our state. I saw great things in Brandywine, Indian River, and New Castle County Vo-Tech schools. However, many of these successes are isolated or are known only to those experiencing them. In order to make these successes system-wide, we must increase communication and advocacy associated with such programs. Both DFSME and the Governor’s STEM Council recognize that coordination among these programs and the people involved in them will increase their impact. We have successfully put together a number of pieces of the STEM education puzzle but many more are needed to complete the picture. It is the job of DFSME and the STEM Council to identify the missing pieces and address the barriers that prevent them from being put in place.

One thing I have discovered is that even among the strongest of STEM supporters, there seems to be little agreement about what STEM really means and what fields it encompasses.  Most often, the passionate teachers, administrators and supporters want to see more STEM education in the classroom. However, state and business leaders do not always think it reflects the bigger picture. In order for audiences not to turn off as soon as they hear the words “STEM education” the terms need to be better defined and understood. There is a growing momentum in the rest of the nation to see STEM as a key factor in over 60% of all jobs in the U.S. These jobs include more than the aerospace, chemical and auto industries that first used the phrase. They also include other huge industries, including the food, agriculture, healthcare, biotechnology and information technology industries—many of which have a footprint in Delaware and need a local, STEM-savvy workforce. We have to teach our Delaware audience that STEM encompasses all these industries and more.

We must also recognize that STEM is not just the content of science and engineering nor is it just memorized facts. It is the hands-on, inquiry-based experience that goes beyond the labs staged in many high school text books. Delaware actually has a head start through its earlier statewide adoption of the “Smithsonian Project” which made our small state a leader in teaching methods. Introducing STEM using hands-on, inquiry based teaching methodology means our students can experience the fact-gathering and synthesis, the exploration and discovery that allow them to make their own informed decisions and that permit students to develop skills and experience the excitement of using these skills to create things and understand their world. Students with these experiences will be better able to envision themselves in exciting, high-paying jobs and careers. More of them will be able to see the point of entering certificate programs, two-year programs, or four-year programs. But the spread of advanced technology into so many jobs is not the only reason that we need this renewed emphasis and improved communication related to STEM. As so many teachers remind me, it’s not just those who pursue those careers who need these skills; we need every citizen to experience and be able to use these skills in order to make their own informed decisions about the many technological issues involved in daily life, now and in the future.

The leadership of this state and our school districts are aware of this. But we need to help them see the urgency of coordinating all these efforts, whether in colleges, community colleges, K-12 schools, or outreach programs. All are parts of serving the same need. Let’s continue to discuss STEM so we can open doors for understanding, and to highlight the progress and successes of our leaders, teachers, and students in these areas. Let’s find out where amazing partnerships between industry and education are making things happen, and let’s make sure everyone learns about those programs and has the opportunity to see how they might be part of such programs. Let’s create a forum available to everyone so these successes can proliferate.

Who should be the players? Teachers? Administrators? Students? Parents? Businesses? Government leaders? Ordinary citizens whether actively employed or retired? Yes to all of the above and more. Let’s share our successes and help each other work together. Let’s find and address the gaps and problems, together.

I would appreciate your feedback and offers to share your successes. DFSME and the STEM Council are but two of many groups working toward common goals. We can use letters such as this one to tell our stories and identify other like-minded groups to join a growing alliance of groups interested in working for the common cause.

Please feel to write, email or call me at


It has been over 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his war on poverty.  Though this effort did yield progress, many pockets of the country, namely many rural and inner city communities, remain trapped in a cycle of poverty.

It has been well established that past behemoth industries such as coal mining and manufacturing have dwindled, hitting each of these two communities particularly hard.  For instance, there were over 200,000 coal workers in the United States in 1980, now there are less than 100,000 coal miners (1).  Also, based on increased efficiencies and worldwide competition, American companies need to hire fewer workers in manufacturing today than in the past.  The challenges of many of our inner city and rural communities around the country have been well documented:  troubled school systems, high crime rates, scarce employment opportunities and crumbling infrastructure.   How might sustainability and all of its principles improve upon this condition?  One answer may involve renewable energy.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 24% job growth for solar installers through 2024, well above the national average for all jobs (2).  As an added bonus, in contrast to the coal mining industry, solar workers wont have to expose themselves to agents of lung cancer and black lung, nor destroy water and land resources for themselves and their children.  My father in law, George Wheeler, incurred black lung, emphysema and suffered a broken neck all due to coal mining, as he worked as a bolter in a Western Pennsylvania mine.

This environmental job sector may provide decent jobs for men and women in rural and urban communities.  Families better off financially tend to have children that do better in school, creating better opportunities for them and their future children.  The Obama administration has also enacted several policies that make it much easier for lower income families to afford solar power.  For example, the Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program allows residents to finance solar panels via future savings on their energy bills (3).  For example, Baltimore city resident Ida Rhyne, who once had to choose between food and her paying energy bills, was able to take advantage of the PACE program to have solar panels installed on her home (4).  As a former Baltimore City resident, I can attest to the poverty traps of the city.  People need options.  PACE is currently not available in the state of Delaware.

If solar energy becomes a household norm, it would create even more jobs and opportunities for these communities.  It would also have the effect of lowering energy costs.  Many of the poorest families spend up to 30% of their income on energy bills (5).  These extra funds could be spent on other goods and services within the community itself, thereby further improving local economies.  High energy bills exacerbate the poverty trap many low income families find themselves in, as an excessive amount of effort is spent simply working to pay energy bills.

The state of Delaware was recently recognized for its solar friendly policies (6), though most of its progress stems from larger organizations and projects, as well by homeowners that are solidly in the middle class.  These efforts need to be broadened to include the poorest among us.

With that being said, sustainability needs to be taught and promoted in K-12 schools, and sustainability programs should be targeted to lower and middle-income families. Delaware Technical Community College has an associate degree programs in Renewable Energy Solar and Energy Management and recently partnered with Wilmington University on a connected Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science and Policy.  We should leverage and promote the resources we currently have in order to effect more change in lower income communities.

Of course, solar energy cannot solve all of America’s issues related to poverty, but may certainly be a weapon in the fight against poverty.

Milton Muldrow is an assistant professor at Wilmington University and Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences. He holds a PhD in environmental science and public policy from George Mason University a masters from the University of Missourri – Saint Louis in Biology. He is a board member of the Delaware Foundation of Science and Math Education and the CEO/Founder of Body of Science LLC.


1.  The National Mining Association.  (2016).  MSHA coal worker employment [Data file]. Retrieved from


2.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2015). Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Retrieved from


3.  Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. (2016). FACT SHEET: Obama administration announces clean energy savings for all Americans initiative. Retrieved from


4.  Garunay, M.  (2015). How Ida went solar (and why it means you can, too).  The White House.  Retrieved drom


5.  Boyce, D. & Wirfs-Brock, J.   High utility costs force hard decisions for the poor. Inside Energy.  Retrieved from

High Utility Costs Force Hard Decisions For The Poor


6.  Rapp, Melanie.  Delaware named a top state for solar energy. (2013). DNREC. Retrieved from

Recent policy efforts such as Computer Science for All, emphasize the importance of helping allstudents acquire a deeper understanding of how to recognize aspects of computation in the world around us, solve real-world problems, design systems, and understand human behavior by drawing on computer science concepts (Royal Academy of Engineering, 2012; Wing, 2006).  These goals have been described in the literature under the term computational thinking (Wing, 2006).  Wing (2006) suggested that computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone and that “to reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability” (p. 33).

Although many children are exposed to new technologies in their daily lives, they often acquire skills as consumers and are given little opportunity to become creators of computing innovations (Repenning et al., 2015).  In fact, only a small and homogeneous group of students acquire skills required to create technological products.  Certain populations such as females and non-Asian minorities remain severely under-represented in computing (Cuny, 2012).  Traditionally computer science has had low presence in K-12 schools due to a number of reasons including: lack of teacher preparation, limited understanding of computer science-related career opportunities available, lack of computer science curricula, and hesitance in allowing computer science to count towards mathematics or science graduation requirements.  Yet, by 2018 it is projected that 51% of all STEM jobs will be in computer science-related fields (Carnevale, Smith, & Melton, 2011).

At the high school level, there has been substantial progress in providing access to computer science due to initiatives sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  One such initiative is the CS10K project. The CS10K initiative is a systemic effort to transform computing education across the academic pipeline, increase the number of students from under-represented groups studying CS, and prepare 10,000 teachers in 10,000 high schools teaching curricula focusing on Computer Science Principles.  The University of Delaware Partner4CSteam has been a recipient of a CS10K award since 2012.  But, while progress at the high school level is important, changes must be made across the entire computing education system, as it is during middle school that students decide whether computer science is worth exploring (Bruckman et al., 2009). As a result, it is important to include middle school students (grades 5-8) from all racial backgrounds in any effort to democratize the field of computing, since changing only one aspect of the system (e.g., high school) will not correct the problem. By providing middle school students from all racial backgrounds exposure to computer science early on, we can increase the number and diversity of students selecting a computer science course or computer science-related pathway in high-school.  In addition, while many efforts to broaden participation in computing focus on K-12 systems, it is becoming evident that schools cannot fulfill the goals of CS for All alone. Rather, informal institutions such as libraries, community-based organizations, and after-school programs should play an active role in supporting formal school efforts and providing resources potentially unavailable in K-12 classrooms.

Our Partner4CS team seeks to broaden participation in computing and fulfill goals of CS for all through a three-pronged approach: teacher professional development, a college field-experience course, and sustainable partnerships with formal and informal organizations.  The Partner4CS professional development model, offered yearly since 2012 in Delaware, includes two components: a summer institute, structured around two tracks (CSP Track and Module Track); and follow-up site-based support. The CSP Track, focuses on high school teachers who are committed to integrating a full CS curriculum in their classroom. The second track, called Module Track, focuses on middle and high school teachers as well as participants in informal settings (e.g., libraries) who are interested in infusing CS modules into existing STEM curricula or programs.

To provide follow up support to our participants, we established a Field Experience university service-learning course at the University of Delaware, where Undergraduates in computer science directly support teachers or informal educators in their classrooms or settings. The course has been offered continuously since spring 2013. The field experiences take place in local middle and high schools where teachers are working on integrating computer science principles into their courses and after-school programs. Recently, we expanded to libraries interested in offering computing initiatives.  Undergraduate participants in the course meet with teachers to discuss their role and provide ongoing support directly in teachers’ classrooms or in libraries. Throughout the duration of the project, Undergraduates work collaboratively with teachers and other informal educators to adapt lessons and activities from available resources, lead classroom sessions, and serve as role models for students.  They also help plan and lead after-school computing programs where they engage students in programming activities.

Since 2013, we have reached over 100 teachers in 7 school districts and over 25 different schools.  Results indicate that teachers who participate in our professional development program improve in their understanding of CS content, learn pedagogical strategies for teaching CS modeled during the professional development, and become more confident in their ability to deliver CS modules and curricula. As one participant explained, I feel absolutely empowered to teach CS principles in my own classroom. Further, students working with undergraduate students through the field experience course exhibited significant gains in their CS content knowledge and attitudes towards CS.

Moving forward, we are interested in establishing certification programs for teachers in computer science and further expand our reach to schools and informal environments serving primarily under-represented populations.  Our goal is to ensure that computer science is available to all Delaware students independent of gender, ethnic or socioeconomic background.  Given the prominence of computer science in daily life and career opportunities available in the field, it is important that all children have equal access to computer science knowledge and skills.

Written by:  Lori Pollock and Chrystalla Mouza – University of Delaware

As an educator interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), I have the opportunity to research the cutting-edges of science and technology every day. The rate of change in how the world works is accelerating at a dizzying pace. Aspirations, such as Elon Musks initiative to send humans to Mars, present the same challenges as John Kennedy’s goal to put a human on the moon. Time, money, technology, collaboration, desire, successes and failures, knowledge and, most of all, wisdom.

While going to Mars is exciting, future generations will be asked to create solutions to our present world problems. Clean water, safe bridges, autonomous automobiles, lean manufacturing, cybersecurity, food supply for a growing population, and curing diseases will present continuous challenges. As the baby-boomers age, the solutions rest on fewer shoulders. Engineers, scientists, doctors and tradespeople are retiring in large numbers and the need for a skilled labor force to provide for a thriving economy is critical. You have heard the numbers before:

  • One million new engineers are needed by 2025 to meet the needs of our economy;
  • Twenty-three (23) percent of engineers currently working are age 55 or over;
  • Only 20 percent of students choose a STEM path in college despite STEM majors having the highest median earnings;
  • America ranks 26th in math and 19th in science competency compared to other countries;
  • In Delaware, there are three jobs for every one skilled STEM worker.

At Delaware STEM Academy High School, we look at the world through the lens of science, technology, engineering and math. Everything in our world is a project waiting to be explored and solved. Learning is more about problem-solving and critical thinking, rather than just reading about the newest technologies. Proposing solutions, and discussing pros and cons with teammates, leads to an appreciation of different ways of thinking. Collaboration results in better and more creative outcomes. Viewing the world this way becomes an exciting proposition, one that all students can embrace, internalize and view their own future endeavors.

But convincing students that STEM is accessible to them is not an easy task. Many students are intimidated by math and science. Many think that STEM is accessible only to the top echelon students. Many students may never have had access to STEM in their previous school experiences. For instance, according to the National Math & Science Initiative, only 12 percent of African-Americans and 17 percent of Hispanics took Algebra I prior to high school as compared to 26 percent of students overall.

STEM education, while quickly becoming the subject du jour in many schools, often does not put STEM in the context of everyday life, nor does it fully demonstrate how STEM is integral to other subjects, such as history, social studies and the arts. These classroom silos may create knowledge but often times they prevent understanding. This is where project-based learning becomes important. Project-based learning allows students to directly work with a hands-on project, developed specifically to reinforce the STEM principles that underlie it. The Academy will utilize a system developed by the New Tech Network, used in over 200 schools nationwide. In addition, we asked local STEM professional to advise both on projects and the context in which they are used in industry. A project-based system of learning integrates information from multiple disciplines to create greater understanding. It also appeals to students with different learning styles. Most importantly, at the end of each project, every student receives not only a grade but a sense of accomplishment.

In our experience, students already have the curiosity, the insight and the passion within them.  It is our job as educators to fan these flames and to teach our young people how to develop a hypothesis, set and achieve goals, express themselves clearly, collaborate on solutions with their teammates, and develop the confidence to present their ideas to other students and to adults. In order for us to support our industries in America with a skilled workforce, we need students who have the confidence to solve problems and work in collaboration with others. We need students who are not intimidated by the problems of the future, but embrace the challenges. As informed citizens, let's give all students – not just those proficient in STEM – the opportunity to impact our world and their future. The Mission of the Delaware STEM Academy is to prepare students in grades 9 through 12 for the future economy through the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) using engineering, environmental science and bioscience as a basis for learning…. in an ethically driven educational environment emphasizing intellectual curiosity, individual responsibility and planetary stewardship.

Written by:

J. Brett Taylor, Ed.D.

Executive Director

Delaware STEM Academy

302-993- 6993