By: Joe Maglaty, PhD, STEM Program Manager, the Dow Chemical Company

Furthering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is a key component to solving the complex environmental, economic and social challenges facing our world today and in the future. Providing our future leaders with the knowledge and tools to succeed is based on the belief that an employed, productive workforce is fundamental to the health of each community. Dow is committed to building the workforce of tomorrow as part of our goal to positively impact the lives of one billion people across the globe by 2025.

Dow supports project-based learning concepts that connect to careers and increase interest in STEM professions, mainly chemistry, engineering and manufacturing. We understand that behind each student motivated by STEM is an inspiring educator. We support teacher training and professional development programs, with a focus on science and chemistry. This work is driven by our Dow STEM Ambassadors, trained employee volunteers, who lend their passion and expertise to engage students and support teachers year-round.

A Delaware Dow STEM Ambassador and Rapid Customer Sampling Group Lead and Engineer, Lauren Leonard, recently shared with me why she is a part of the program, “I volunteer in the STEM program because when you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, they will commonly answer with careers that they have exposure to: a teacher, a doctor, a writer – they do not say engineer because they do not have contact with engineers on a daily basis. I appreciate that Dow’s STEM program puts that option in their mind.”

Globally, in 2015, the Dow STEM Ambassador network was made up of over 1,600 Ambassadors across 17 sites in 6 countries. This type of programming is also applied locally and is vibrant in Delaware. The STEM Ambassador program supported 80 events in the Delaware Valley last year, and our volunteers clocked-in nearly 2,000 hours and impacted tens of thousands of community members. Dow’s partnerships also aim to give individuals of all ages and all backgrounds the opportunity and the support to pursue a successful STEM career.

As Liliana Carrillo, Delaware STEM Ambassador and Run Plant Engineer – IC Casting, recently explained to me, “There is a low percentage of minorities and women in STEM and I would like to show young students the great things a career in STEM can bring and how they can change the world with it. Supporting the aspiring young leaders in our communities is an important step to achieving change and promoting academic success.”

Dow STEM Ambassadors make it possible for us to change and impact communities, bringing science to life for many. In Delaware, the Dow STEM Ambassadors have been a part of a variety of local events. This past April, Dow sponsored and hosted the You Be the Chemist Delaware State Challenge for middle school students at our Newark, DE site. Students participated in multiple rounds of quiz bowl-style Q&A, and had the opportunity to engage one-on-one with Dow STEM Ambassadors. Dow STEM Ambassadors were also on-site at the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ Science Night and the 2016 Special Olympics Delaware with fun, hands-on activities related to the science behind sports. Attendees had the opportunity to construct their own luge sleds and take them for a test ride on a mini track. Additionally, a rolling friction test also allowed attendees to explore how various balls roll down different athletic surfaces.

Terry A. Hays-Sapp, Senior Administrative Professional and Dow STEM Ambassador who has volunteered at 28 activities including the Special Olympics Delaware said, “I admire Dow as a company for giving people with disabilities the opportunity to be employed as well as Dow’s commitment to STEM education for the young. If we tap our young students we can change the path they are on and change the world.”

Our work with young people is key as the demand for skilled workers in STEM will continue into the future. In my role as Dow’s STEM Program Manager, I also work closely with The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, one of the leading science centers in the country. My job is to encourage the Dow STEM Ambassadors to promote and support STEM education in communities where they live and work, and support their efforts by identifying opportunities for them to engage learners in the process of scientific inquiry. My connection with The Franklin Institute enables me to leverage additional resources, best practices and strategies for employees to help enhance their STEM efforts here in this region.

This year, Dow also returned as the presenting sponsor of the Philadelphia Science Festival for the sixth year in a row. Led by The Franklin Institute and Dow, the festival spanned over nine days, encompassed more than 90 events, engaged more than 160 Dow employees and attracted 75,000 science fans from the Delaware Valley.

The Dow STEM Ambassador network continues to grow as the need for skilled STEM workers continues to rise. Each day, Dow engages more talented and passionate employees in community programs that support STEM education in an effort to strengthen the value, quality and impact the Company brings to the Delaware Valley, and the world.

Dr. Joseph Maglaty is the Dow STEM program manager for the Delaware Valley.  In his role, he is responsible for managing day to day operations of Dow’s STEM outreach in the Delaware Valley, supporting the growth and impact of the region’s STEM Ambassador Network. Joe is a member of the Delaware Valley STEM Ambassador Steering Team and has brought valuable STEM education outreach experience and passion to this new role.  He previously volunteered at The Franklin Institute as a science presenter, bringing his teaching expertise to an industry leader and, prior to that, Joe had a long career at Merck & Co., serving as director of education outreach at the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) for eight years,  where he designed, planned, and implemented highly successful volunteer programs at Merck’s major research sites, local community organizations and schools.

By Mike Carr, Axalta President-North America

Axalta Coating Systems is a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings.  Our products are designed to improve durability, increase productivity and add beauty.  We strive to predict industry changes and bring solutions to our customers in order to meet their evolving needs.  In order to be successful and offer optimal products and solutions, we must be nimble and employ talented individuals who are experts in research and development, chemistry, technology, engineering and more. These technical skillsets have made a critical contribution to our 150 years of innovation.

We understand the impact that exposure to these fields can have on our future workforce.  It is our belief that the investment we make today can and will greatly impact us tomorrow.  It’s been said that “preparation is one of the critical keys to success.”  Our encouragement and support of community outreach initiatives that promote exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) exemplifies that ideal.

Axalta believes in giving back to the communities in which we work and live.  We are steadfast in our corporate social responsibility initiatives that includes all things STEM.  This quite naturally leads to a major emphasis on preparing our youth to be able to take on the challenges and demands that the future will bring.  With this in mind, we believe it is important to partner with organizations who help students acquire practical experience in these areas.

Our investment in the next generation will drive our continued advancement.  We are proud to support Delaware’s First State Robotics and the Miracles of Engineering (MOE) team.  This program sets a foundation by engaging students in the robotics design process and provides them with opportunities to compete.  The MOE team visited our offices and demonstrated their robotic talents.  Our employees were thrilled to see these young people put their skills to the test.  The confidence and teamwork that they displayed will serve them well for years to come.

As a sponsor, we were pleased to award Georgia Mackay, a Newark High School senior, Axalta’s First State Robotics Scholarship earlier this year. Georgia was selected for her scholastic achievement, dedication and excellent contributions to her robotics team. She received the scholarship at the 2016 Diamond State FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Championship in Dover.  Georgia plans to attend the University of Delaware this fall to study engineering.

We also support the Young Men and Women In Charge (YMWIC) organization that is focused on providing opportunities for students who are economically disadvantaged or under-represented within STEM fields.  Our goal is to help junior high and high school students prepare for collegiate programs and careers by supporting the Girls STEM and Leadership Camp, Elementary School Robotics and YMWIC’s scholarship fund.

Our Coatings Technology Center in Wilmington, Delaware recently hosted Serviam Girls Academy Middle School students.  Students participated in hands-on experiments, learned from Axalta scientists and got a true sense of what it is like to work in a high-tech research environment.  The young ladies spent time with researchers who regularly use STEM to help develop and advance Axalta’s products.  The experience was part of Serviam’s exploration project during the school’s summer program.  Although more women are entering STEM fields than ever before, Axalta wants to continue to do its part to expose and enlighten future generations.

We are excited about all of our partnerships near our facilities, around the country, and abroad that include building a 21st Century Classroom called the “Spark Room” that fosters technical development.  Students are encouraged to make every decision like installing a 3D printer, green screen and state of the art learning tools.  The Spark Room’s inspirational environment is designed to spark new ideas…spark innovation…and spark creativity.  Work is also in progress to create a STEM lab to serve high school students near our Fort Madison, Iowa facility and more.

The importance of STEM cannot be overly stressed.  We will always need brilliant minds who are passionate and focused in these areas.  The business community can help ensure that the pipeline continues by advocating and encouraging employee-student mentorship programs.  We should be motivated to help stimulate and encourage our youth to explore the various possibilities.  For our part, Axalta will continue to provide a platform for STEM expression.  It is important to our business and the economy at-large.  If we all commit to keep STEM top of mind…our future will continue to be bright.

Dave Cadogan – ILC Dover

Delaware companies do a lot to support STEM education. However, industry and education need to find better ways to work together more effectively in order to create a stronger future for Delaware.  Elevating the STEM proficiency of the workforce, from the production floor to the managerial level, has a direct correlation to the performance of individual companies.   Having employees with deeper STEM capabilities translates into improved work efficiency, enhanced problem solving, and therefore improved profitability.   Industry has the knowledge, financial resources, and people with a strong desire to support education, to help with this mission.  The real question is how best to do this?  There are hundreds of excellent STEM education programs in practice.  Each one touches some number of students in a positive way and therefore justifies its existence.  However, it is difficult to tell which program, approach, method, or focus area yields the greatest return on investment (ROI).  The answer to this question can be used to help guide industry’s involvement and demonstrate a high ROI to its management and owners in such a way as to invite continued or greater investment.  Conclusive data to support any hypothesis is scarce.  If you know someone who is looking for an impactful Masters or Doctoral thesis topic, this is it.

Industry currently supports education in many ways including grants, mentoring, scholarships, classroom visits, team project support, afterschool program support, etc.  My employer, ILC Dover, has supported education initiatives for decades.  Much of our engagement has centered on using the space suit, which we design and manufacture for NASA, as an educational tool to explain scientific principles.   We have a dedicated group of people who regularly visit classrooms and support community outreach events.  Everyone we visit loves to see the space suit and hear stories about space exploration, so, for those audiences, it makes STEM learning interesting.  However, as a leader in industry in Delaware, we are always looking for better ways to support STEM education and strengthen our future workforce.

Several years ago ILC was contacted by Mr. John Moyer, who then managed teacher training for the Department of Education, asking if we could support science refresher training by showing examples of work we did that overlapped with energy principles.  We constructed a half-day program which related many of our products (space suits, airships, airbags, etc.) and methods of manufacture (fabric welding, laser cutting, infrared cameras, etc.) to energy.  We assembled a PowerPoint presentation the participants could keep to share with their classes which had as many hands-on examples we could dream up to guide the training.  Examples included things such as the energy transference when the Mars Exploration Rover airbags hit the surface, how the resistance of pressurized space suit joints require energy to operate, and how radio-frequency energy can be used to weld polymer coated fabrics in aerostats.   A group of approximately 25 teachers visited ILC’s facility to participate in an interactive lecture and tour of the plant.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  The teachers left excited, engaged, and anxious to take real-world examples back into the classroom.  We repeated the training event two consecutive years after the initial event with the same result each time.  It is impossible to know the true impact of these events on students’ learning because no metrics were kept and meaningful measurement would be very difficult.  However, the teachers stated that their knowledge was increased and their level of excitement for the subject was enhanced.  The bottom line result was that a small effort was exerted by industry to help train teachers who could then become catalysts by bringing that information and excitement to multiple classrooms of students in a repeated fashion.  The effect of the interaction is multiplicative as one teacher will teach several classrooms of 20-30 students per semester, and then over successive years.

Personally and professionally I found the teacher training experience to be enlightening.  Not only could it help bring real-world examples into the classroom to inspire engagement and learning, but it also added a dimension to ways industry could help support education.  The ROI of this activity, if formalized and expanded could be significant enough to attract broad industry involvement and enhance STEM teaching effectiveness.  This is a starting point that could be refined in practice but appears to compare well against other methods of engagement when considering potential impact on learning with cost of implementation.

stem education initiative cost vs impact ILC Dover Image

This chart was constructed by members of the Delaware Foundation for Math & Science Education (DFSME) and the Delaware STEM Council in an attempt to understand the ROI of some of the approaches for collaboration between industry and the education community.  The placement of the bubbles is not supported by hard data, so their locations may be significantly different in reality.  However, the table was constructed with empirical data from conversations with people in industry and academia.  It is important to note that a tool like this does not suggest that any of the action areas are without merit, but rather where an enhancement initiative might be targeted.  All of the action areas noted are beneficial to STEM education and should continue.

By looking at ROI it appears that teacher training initiatives like the one conducted at ILC Dover might be an interesting area of focus for expansion.  Delaware has an amazing array of accomplished companies across the state, both large and small.  It would be easy to cross-match the skill sets of Delaware’s companies to next generation science standards curriculum topics ( and have teachers rotate through company visits and associated training events to relate each companies experience to specific topics.  For example:

ILC Dover – Earth & Space Sciences – Space Systems

DuPont – Physical Sciences – Chemical Reactions

Air Liquide – Physical Science – Structure and Properties of Matter

Christiana Care – Life Sciences – Structure & Function

Gore – Physical Sciences – Forces & Interactions

Obviously, not every topic area in the standard curriculum could be covered in a program like this because of time constraints on educators, but many could.  Reinforcement of the topic areas most closely related to Delaware companies will only enhance the preparation of our future workforce, which in turn will help make companies more successful and improve the economy in Delaware.  A program of this nature that brings companies and educators in close collaboration could also have many collateral effects including donation of materials and equipment to schools, targeted classroom visits, expert references for teachers to engage, etc.  At some point we could even have students visit the companies in a related STEM exposure capacity.

This is an ambitious suggestion.  Undoubtedly there would be many challenges to overcome.  However, I believe that there is great benefit in drawing industry and academia closer together to enhance STEM education, and suggestions like this warrant serious conversation.  I see something for everyone in this construct including enhanced STEM education for students which could lead to brighter futures, enhanced professional growth and excitement for teachers, a better prepared future workforce for companies, and economic growth for Delaware.  This concept has been discussed with members of the Delaware STEM Council and with the Delaware Foundation for Math and Science Education.  There are lots of competing priorities at the moment, but perhaps one day Delaware will initiate a program like this to facilitate industry involvement on a scale even greater than already in place, to foster further improvement in STEM education.


Dave Cadogen the Director of Engineering & Product Development at ILC Dover, leading one of the most dedicated and capable softgoods development teams in the world. Working over 30 years in the industry, and actively contributing technical solutions in the form of technology, product, and systems architecture development. He has served as a Principle Investigator or Technical Leader for numerous NASA, DoD, DARPA, and other government programs. He has authored/contributed to over 80 technical papers / book chapters, and 15 patents. He enjoys creating partnerships between ILC and other companies, universities, and government entities. His goal is to contribute something good to the world, do it effectively, and enjoy doing it.

Pop quiz: Name a few of the United States’ regional centers of advanced technology.

If you’re like most people, you may have answered Silicon Valley, suburban Boston, or Redmond, Washington. But you need look no further than our own backyard, given the concentration of banking, life sciences, manufacturing and high-tech firms in the Delaware Valley.

Next question: Are we doing enough to nurture the future growth of our high-tech workforce? The answer in this case is not so clear.

Since 2012, my company – InterDigital – has been headquartered in Wilmington, and it has additional offices and research facilities in Conshohocken, PA; Melville, NY; and San Diego, CA, as well as in Montreal, London and Seoul. Altogether, we employ about 300 people, including around 170 world-class researchers and engineers who are continuing the work we first began as a small startup over 40 years ago.

Our mission is developing wireless technologies that are at the core of mobile devices, networks, and services worldwide. InterDigital’s solutions, covering a broad range of technical areas, have contributed to the spread of wireless standards like 3G and 4G that underpin practically all devices and network equipment.

Put another way, if you have used a cellphone, laptop or tablet within the last 15 years, you have benefited from our technology.

And today our team is developing the wireless technology that will support your life in future decades, such as 5G wireless, the “Internet of Things,” and the many innovative products and services that will flow from them.

In order to do this work, however, our company depends on top-tier engineering talent —  and that talent remains scarce, not only in Delaware but across the nation.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education reported that only 16% of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career, at a time when the number of STEM-related jobs is growing almost twice as fast as other jobs.

Among industrialized nations, U.S. students rank 25th in mathematics and 17th in science. The achievement gap is even wider among minorities and young women.

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calculated that if all American 15-year-olds could reach a baseline level of performance, the U.S. economy would gain an additional $27 trillion over the working life of these students. (source)

The bottom line is this: To meet growing needs for a highly skilled workforce, America must expand its investments and public-private partnerships in STEM education, youth development, and workforce skills.

For our part, InterDigital has contributed to, and benefited from, collaborative research with more than 20 top-tier universities, helping to develop tomorrow’s technologies and engineering talent.

We are particularly proud of our support of local STEM education. For example, last year we donated $300,000 to Delaware State University (DSU) to support its new Wireless Communications, Signal Processing and Controls Laboratory. We also support DSU’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research, or OSCAR.Our other STEM-education activities include charitable support of the Delaware Children’s Museum Junior Engineers Program and the Hagley Museum’s Invention Convention. We encourage every American company that is engaged in scientific and technological research to follow our lead and contribute to schools at the local and state levels.

We also encourage the federal and state governments to expand educational opportunities for children and adults to prepare them for STEM-related careers.  Governor Markell’s efforts to expand access to technology training and jobs are making a difference; as is President Obama’s initiative to strengthen community colleges, which traditionally provide skilled labor for regional needs.

Finally, we encourage the U.S. Congress to expand investments in basic and applied research and development (R&D); overhaul the tax code to spur more innovation; and uphold America’s patent system, which is under assault from several directions.

Through partnerships like the ones between our company and several Delaware institutions, and persistent, visionary action from leaders of business, government and civil society, the power of American innovation can create a stronger, more prosperous and connected world.

Bill Merritt is President and CEO of Wilmington-based InterDigital, Inc., a wireless technology research and development company. 

Many people think of STEM, and think of chemists, computer programmers, engineers, or mathematicians. But STEM encompasses so many different careers, many of them inside hospitals. Hospitals are prime employers for STEM educated students. And not all of them require college or advanced degrees.

Everyone working inside a hospital touches technology in one way or another. Technology is the mechanism by which a hospital properly cares for its patients, while keeping safety and timeliness in the forefront of care.  When you think of a hospital, you may initially think of physicians and nurses. These positions are prevalent in a hospital setting and certainly use STEM principles day-to-day.  Nurses and physicians give care directly to patients, but there are also many other positions with an indirect, yet still very important impact on patient care.

Bayhealth recently undertook the task of implementing an electronic health record (EHR). This health record will better enable the hospital, and all of its counterparts, to care for patients. The new health record, named EPIC, created nearly one hundred jobs at Bayhealth, all in the surrounding technology fields. The project employed both developers and analysts who built the system, but also evaluated its usage from billing to coding to how systems communicate. The program allows physicians and other medical staff to access patients’ records immediately, allowing for seamless transition of care across the continuum. Furthermore, the program now allows patients to access their own health records, and even schedule their own appointments with some Bayhealth Medical Group providers. That’s putting technology in the hands of the consumer, ensuring they have the power over their own healthcare.

While the EPIC project has been instrumental, there are so many day-to-day jobs within our hospital that utilize STEM principles. Bayhealth employs clinical engineers who work around the clock to make sure all of the hospital’s equipment is working. The laboratory employs technicians and phlebotomists. Diagnostic Imaging utilizes technicians employing the latest technology with 3D mammography and open MRIs. The pharmacy employs pharmacists and technicians using state-of-the-art robotic equipment to deliver patient medication in the most effective and timely manner.

Our Information Technology team keeps all of our equipment online while also securing private patient information.  We recently unveiled a brand new infant tracking system to make sure new bundles of joy are secure within the hospital. Not only does the system keep mom and baby connected, it allows medical staff to know the baby’s precise location throughout the hospital. Our public safety team relies on state-of-the-art technology to monitor our facilities and keep our patients and our staff safe. We recently created a new position focusing on hazardous materials, and how best to deal with them.

As a hospital, the number one goal is to meet the need of every patient that enters the building. That means for today and tomorrow. As leaders in the health care industry part of our job to look ahead, and foresee future needs and determine how we can accomplish them.

Who knows when or where the next Einstein, Florence Nightingale or Bill Gates will emerge?  What young mind will benefit from STEM education and discover the cure for diabetes or cancer. Which youthful researcher will formulate the medication that will reduce or eradicate the debilitating effects of Alzheimer ’s disease?  We might never find out if the leaders and teachers of today do not inspire the professionals of tomorrow!


Catherine Salvato: A nurse leader providing results-oriented health care over a 35-year professional career of leadership, managerial and clinical practice. My goal is to use my management and training skills to profitably grow a business unit within a dynamic team-oriented healthcare organization. Key strengths result in increased profitability, long-term relationships with customers, and increased market share. Career high point has been partnering in the acquisition of a small Delaware based nursing company and growing it into an award winning health care training organization.

At AstraZeneca, we are guided by our purpose to follow the science and deliver life changing medicines for the millions of patients that rely on us.  We are also deeply committed to supporting the vitality of the communities where we live and work. Delaware provides an excellent environment for AstraZeneca employees at our North America Commercial headquarters in Wilmington and manufacturing plant in Newark.  Ensuring the vitality of the STEM infrastructure in Delaware is a critical priority; both as a business that is invested in innovative treatments for patients, and as a committed corporate citizen dedicated to the sustainability of the state economy.

The state of Delaware has the second largest number of STEM jobs available in the country behind Massachusetts[i]. However, filling these roles requires qualified workers, and only 16 percent of US undergraduate degrees are in a STEM field[ii].  The drop off in STEM begins early; the US Department of Education finds that by eighth grade 83% of students in the US are not proficient or not interested in STEM fields. We believe that there is no one size fits all approach to address a challenge of this scale. Rather, true progress will rely on connections and collaboration across sectors working to improve learning and development, workforce readiness and technical skill development.

One of the primary ways in which AstraZeneca is working to address STEM infrastructure in Delaware is by bringing together local community stakeholders to map out existing efforts, key challenges, and opportunities to address unmet needs. As a convener, our goal is to enable and encourage strategy development by experts and practitioners across sectors. Attendees from business and trade groups, healthcare systems and community-based nonprofits provide their insights on needed programs and establish a foundation for meaningful and impactful partnerships.

AstraZeneca also provides resources to community groups working along the learning and development continuum toward our goal of building and enabling the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers. The Delaware Children’s Museum encourages engagement in STEM fields as early as pre-school through interactive exhibits. Middle school students learn about careers in science through Delaware State University’s Robotics Camps. High school students participate in hands on STEM competitions at Delaware Technical College’s annual STEM EXPO. Undergraduate students at the University of Delaware develop innovative ideas to address major health challenges through the Grand Challenges Program. Collectively, these groups help to inspire continued involvement and interest in STEM fields through engaging content that supplements the school day and provides real world application.

Finally, AstraZeneca employees are engaged in building the STEM infrastructure in Delaware as volunteers and board members.  Employees serve on the Board of Directors for the Delaware Bioscience Association and the Delaware Boys and Girls Club, in each case helping these organizations to achieve their mission. Employees also volunteer on a regular basis with groups across the state.

At AstraZeneca we are proud to play a part in Delaware’s efforts to prepare the next generation of leaders – as a convener, a supporter and as a community of dedicated and passionate employees. Together our progress will lead to gains in quality of life, better outcomes for patients and communities and a strong future for the state of Delaware.



Stephanie Andrzejewski Head of External Affairs, US Corporate Affairs, AstraZeneca – Bio

Stephanie oversees corporate responsibility, stakeholder engagement, and strategic philanthropy for AstraZeneca’s US business. She is also Head of Corporate Affairs for the AZ Respiratory portfolio leading a team of public affairs and communication experts. Before joining AstraZeneca, Stephanie was responsible for a number of key healthcare accounts at MSLGroup, a strategic communications and engagement company. She has experience in stakeholder mapping and engagement, building multidimensional advocacy relationships and leading cross-functional teams. She received a B.S. in Communications from Mansfield University and has professional affiliations with PRSA, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, and the Public Affairs Council.

At Gore, we rely upon strong technical depth to drive our technology and innovation efforts, as well as a deep understanding of our end-use applications. We draw upon a wide array of disciplines within STEM education to support our success. And as a company with strong Delaware roots, we know that we will only grow stronger as part of a community that values STEM education and that builds the minds needed to solve tomorrow’s scientific challenges.

Countless studies have shown how vital STEM education is for our children and the future of our society and our national and global economies. STEM occupations are growing at a faster rate than other fields, and STEM workers play a critical role in fueling innovation and economic growth. Yet we also know that U.S. students lag internationally in science and math scores and that gender and racial disparities remain common in these fields.

As I reflect on my own personal career at Gore, I clearly benefited from having a strong STEM education, which helped lay the foundation for future opportunities. When I graduated from the University of Delaware in 1983 as a mechanical engineer, women represented only around six percent of U.S. engineers. Today, around 18 to 20 percent of engineering students are women—a significant improvement, yet still notably low considering that roughly 57 percent of college students are female.

A vast majority of teenagers are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers because they do not know anyone who works in these areas and don’t have a clear picture of the work done in these fields. And women and minorities in particular are less likely to choose a STEM career and have less support for pursuing these careers.

Fortunately, those of us in STEM careers today have the ability to inspire the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of tomorrow. I am proud to see many of our Gore associates involved in STEM activities in their communities, mentoring and encouraging students in these subjects. We cannot underestimate the important role mentoring plays in inspiring students to explore STEM opportunities.

Indeed, studies show that when STEM mentors engage with students in high-quality, hands-on learning experiences, the impact can extend long beyond their time together. It builds confidence, curiosity and excitement in students who otherwise may never have pictured themselves in a STEM career. And when students have positive and engaging experiences with STEM subjects in their schooling, they are more likely to pursue and have success in those fields in adulthood.

It is encouraging to see the growing support for STEM in schools today and efforts to better engage with those underrepresented in these fields. These students represent our future, and will one day create new treatments for debilitating diseases, develop technologies that enhance people’s lives, and so much more. And it all starts with the right encouragement and learning opportunities.


Terri Kelly is President and CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates, a multi-billion dollar enterprise that employs more than 10,000 associates in 45 plants around the world. Gore specializes in fluoropolymerbased materials that are utilized in a wide array of high-value products, including GORE-TEX® fabric, medical devices, filtration and venting products and many other advanced technology solutions. Gore is as well known for its unique management philosophy and culture, as for its multitude of unique products. Kelly joined Gore as an engineer in 1983 after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In her early years with the company, she gained experience as a product specialist with the military fabrics business — a unit she eventually led — helping it grow from a small start-up venture into a leading producer of protective products for the global armed forces. In 1998, Kelly became part of the leadership team for the global Fabrics Division. Prior to becoming the CEO, Kelly also served on the Enterprise Operations Committee working closely with the CEO and other leaders to help guide the strategic direction of the company. Kelly’s leadership abilities have driven her success in a company known for its non-hierarchical “lattice” structure. At Gore, associates become leaders based on their ability to gain the respect of their peers and to attract followers. Terri earned the title of president and CEO in 2005 — one of the few titles within the enterprise — following a peer-driven selection process. In addition to her role at Gore, Kelly is on the Board of Directors for the Nemours Foundation — one of the nation’s leading children’s health care systems. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Delaware. Kelly is a member of the Management Executives’ Society, G100, and the International Women’s Forum. She resides in Delaware with her husband and four children.

Why Are Libraries Involved In…STEM?

I’m routinely asked why Delaware Libraries are involved in various topics, such as helping job seekers, supporting Entrepreneurship, assisting with healthy living, experimenting with STEM, and so on.  The fact is, libraries have always supported all topic areas, and initially that support was through our book collections.

The Delaware State Library Commission marks 115 years in 2016, and over the past 115 years, formats, or containers for information have advanced and proliferated (such as print books, eMedia, audio, video, online tools, and more).  In addition to collections for reading, libraries also offer experiences – computer and wireless internet access, workshops, programs, meet ups, and more – for hands on and shared learning.  Libraries work with partners and experts in our communities to provide unique experiences that Delawareans might not have the opportunity to have otherwise.

My favorite STEM concept is “systems thinking,” which is epitomized in our statewide library infrastructure.  The Delaware Library Consortium, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch this year, now includes 60 libraries, including all 33 public libraries.  The DLC libraries share seamlessly 2.6 million books, eBooks, and much more through the Delaware Library Catalog ( In FY2016 STEM related books were borrowed more than 360,000 times, including more than 4,600 eBook checkouts of STEM items in the popular and growing eMedia collection!  The statewide library calendar showcases hundreds of library programs each month, including STEM activities.

STEM activities are routinely held in Delaware Libraries Inspiration Spaces, or mini-makerspaces, which are collaborative creative spaces where people can enthusiastically learn about and experiment with technology, entrepreneurship, and DIY activities.  Learn about the tools and activities available at and  The Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation and the Delaware Nature Society, two of our STEM partners, regularly conduct STEM programs in libraries throughout the state. 

The latest technologies (3D printer) are amazing to Delawareans of all ages:

The latest technologies (3D printer) are amazing to Delawareans of all ages

Colin Consavage shows Senator McDowell the prosthetic hand he made for himself using the 3D printer at the Wilmington Library:

Local farmer Keith Lohmeyer shares his engineering avocation with teens at the Bridgeville Public Library:

In partnership with DASEF, we’re seeking local astronomers and astrophysicists to help introduce new telescopes to the public!:

Delaware Libraries juggle, proudly, to support all possible learning opportunities for our communities.  Libraries have evolved over the past 115 years, and in turn, we support Delawareans in learning – and renewal – throughout life.


Librarians are fascinated by – what fascinates you!  And we’re here to help Delawareans discover a passion, explore curiosity, and achieve your versions of the Delaware Dream!


Dr. Annie Norman is State Librarian of Delaware, is a member of the Governor’s STEM Council, and is Chair of the Governor’s School Libraries Council.  She was inducted in the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women in March.…

By Secretary Small (DNREC)

In a world of acronyms seeking relevance and recognition, STEM needs little introduction. Most of us  likely associate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as a bundle of academic disciplines being emphasized at the local, state and national levels in an effort to boost student performance, generate greater student interest in these areas and ultimately strengthen our nation’s competitiveness and position in the global economic race to the top.

Check on all the above, but we also know, with just a tad more examination, that these concepts touch and enhance our lives every second. For the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, STEM is behind every action we take. Consider our mission to protect air and water quality and public health, manage our fish, wildlife populations and special landscapes such as beaches and wetlands and provide safe, quality outdoor recreational opportunities.  A few examples of how we apply STEM on any given day include determining the impacts to a stream from a wastewater  treatment plant, estimating the population of blue crabs in the Delaware Bay, assessing the effects on Delaware’s air quality from a power plant in an upwind state or determining the structural integrity and load bearing capacity of an elevated trail through Cape Henlopen State Park.

Every DNREC employee uses STEM on the job, daily.  We seek improved efficiency, new ways of solving recurring problems, and methods for organizing the trove of technical information we process and add to in pursuit of our mission.  Employees approach every task with the mentality that they are problem solvers, analytic thinkers, and can work both independently and in project teams.  Once we define the challenge through STEM, we employ the associated soft skills of communication, collaboration and management to effect change, often navigating across the dangerous intersection of policy and science.  Our work, like STEM skills, is not about just what you know, but what you are able to do with the information.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is especially proud to support STEM education and workforce development through its advocacy of the Delaware Children in Nature Coalition.  DNREC has been a key supporter of the Coalition since its inception in 2010; providing professional and financial assistance from multiple Divisions.  The Coalition is Delaware’s “primary advocate for promoting meaningful outdoor education experiences for our youth during ‘in-school’ and ‘out-of-school’ time.”  Delaware Children in Nature is committed to supporting STEM through public and youth engagement in experiential opportunities.  The 27-member Coalition provides field trips, teacher trainings, public programs, schoolyard habitat construction and maintenance support, supports the Green Ribbon Schools program, promotes healthy lifestyles, and is in the final stages of releasing an Environmental Literacy Plan developed in conjunction with the Delaware Department of Education.  In October 2014, the Coalition’s partners delivered STEM-related experiences across 16 sites to 219,520 people.

Please continue to support DNREC, the Delaware STEM Council, and the Delaware Children in Nature Coalition in promoting STEM education and skill development in Delaware through participation in this October’s Children in Nature Month activities.  For more information, visit

The world is full of acronyms lately, with STEM being very much in the headlines.  We are frequently made aware of the importance of STEM education, the future STEM workforce and its career opportunities, and how the United States lags behind the rest of the world in STEM skills.  It is fair to assume that when most people hear STEM, they quickly identify with the academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but STEM truly transcends these boundaries and is symbiotically relatable to every aspect of our world.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control often associates STEM with the workplace, identifying the skills our workforce must possess to be effective and productive.  These technical skills are inherent in all academic disciplines and workplaces and range from the ability to research a topic, analyze information, and draw conclusions to being able to troubleshoot a piece of equipment, repair it, and communicate the process and means for improvement to the appropriate stakeholders.  While STEM workers earn higher wages and STEM occupations are projected to grow at a faster rate than non-STEM occupations, the skills needed to be successful in both are STEM-based.

STEM “soft skills” are integral to our daily lives.  Skills and actions we take for granted are foundationally STEM, such as interpersonal communication and cooperation, the ability to write instructions, develop plans and timelines, and effective leadership.  We constantly attempt to break complex systems and projects into smaller parts, identify relationships, and defend courses of action using factual information.  STEM-proficient citizens are better communicators, collaborators, and productive, happy people.

Secretary Small: 

David Small serves as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. In this role, he serves as chief steward of Delaware’s environment – protecting and managing Delaware’s nature resources, providing quality outdoor recreation and protecting public health and safety. Sec. Small leads seven DNREC Divisions – Air Quality, Waste and Hazardous Substances, Fish and Wildlife, Parks and Recreation, Water, Watershed Stewardship, and Energy and Climate.

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, Delaware Cabinet Secretary Edwin Kee met Daniel Suchenski from the Delaware STEM Council and Randy Guschl from the Delaware Foundation for Science and Math Education at Legislative Hall in Dover Delaware for a discussion on growing STEM in the state of Delaware and Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy. As part of the discussion, Secretary Kee was presented a copy of Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy, a book produced by STEMconnector’s STEM Higher Education Council. Secretaty Kee touted the importance of educating educators in biology and chemistry, among others, on the importance of agriculture in the states STEM framework.

Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy was released in February, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ and Washington, DC. In the book, 62 education, business and non-profit thought leaders share proven models of partnerships that support STEM education and workforce development. The book is supported by an online portal, complete with examples of more partnerships, information about the STEM Higher Education Council, and instructions on how organizations can get involved.

About the Delaware STEM Council: 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.

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