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 (delawarelibraries.org). 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 Delawarelibraries.org/IS and http://guides.lib.de.us/stem.  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!

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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.

http://libraries.blogs.delaware.gov/2008/03/17/welcome-from-annie-norman…

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 delawarecin.org.

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.

Head to DelawareSTEM.org or stemconnector.org/advancing-jobs-driven-economy to learn more!

On Monday, June 22, 2015, United States Senator from Delaware Chris Coons met Daniel Suchenski from the Delaware STEM Council and Randy Guschl from the Delaware Foundation for Science and Math Education at the Senator’s office in Wilmington Delaware for a discussion on growing STEM in the state of Delaware and Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy for the region. As part of the discussion, Senator Coons was presented a copy of Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy, a book produced by STEMconnector’s STEM Higher Education Council.

“At a time of scarce public resources, science is a critical investment,” Chris continued. “Right now, I need your voice, because there are very few in Congress who understand the compounding value of investment in basic and applied science, about the risks we face in intellectual property, and the importance of getting STEM education at the elementary school level right. We’ve got huge challenges ahead but also great opportunities – in green chemistry, in reimagining advanced polymers, in advanced manufacturing – and I’m looking forward to working with you to ensure our nation remains a leader in science.”

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.

Head to DelawareSTEM.org to learn more!

On Monday, May 9, 2016, United States Congressman from Delaware John Carney met Daniel Suchenski from the Delaware STEM Council as well as Randy Guschl and Anne Pfaelzer de Ortiz from the Delaware Foundation for Science and Math Education at the Congressman’s office in Wilmington Delaware for a discussion on growing STEM in the state of Delaware and Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy for the region. As part of the discussion, Congressman Carney was presented a copy of Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy, a book produced by STEMconnector’s STEM Higher Education Council.

“We talk about finding jobs. Well, there are jobs in STEM fields open right now, but we don’t have enough students choosing to go into that field.” Carney continued. “I’ve heard from employers across Delaware who struggle to find individuals trained in STEM fields. And I heard again this morning that one of the biggest challenges students face in completing STEM programs is the overwhelming cost. As an increasingly important part of our economy, it is crucial that we continue to encourage students to pursue a STEM education. We also need to ensure they have the resources to make it happen.”

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.

Head to DelawareSTEM.org to learn more!

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell 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, Governor Markell was presented a copy of Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy, a book produced by STEMconnector’s STEM Higher Education Council . During the discussion, Governor Markell touted the recent announcement of grants to 15 high schools in Delaware to support students studying key fields, the the purpose of continuing to provide students with the skills needed for the future workforce.

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.

Head to DelawareSTEM.org or stemconnector.org/advancing-jobs-driven-economy to learn more!

Delaware STEM Advocates

This past week I spoke at length with Judson Wagner who recently accepted a position as a Physics and Engineering Teacher at Brandywine High School. This will be Jud’s fifteenth year teaching high school science, but the first time he has taught in six years after leaving Concord High School to work as a supervisor for various STEM positions in the Brandywine School District. Over the past six years, Jud been vital in building up STEM awareness in the Brandywine School District and has worked as the supervisor in STEM Education, Career and Technical Education, and Instructional Technology. By going back to teaching high school, Jud hopes to take leadership role in the STEM culture that he helped create as a supervisor and continue this progressive movement from the classroom. Jud is extremely qualified in educational leadership and his mission is to use these skills to inspire other teachers, influence the spending and allocation of government funds, and create a ripple affect with his impact on the Brandywine School district to influence the state of Delaware as a whole. This interview dives into the past twenty years of his career, what drives his vision for STEM in the Brandywine School District, and what he believes future holds for STEM in Delaware.

 

DSTEM: How will your new position as an engineering and physics teacher differ from your old position at Concord as a physics teacher? Obviously, the engineering part will be brand new, but will you alter your physics curriculum at all?

Jud: We’ll start with physics itself. I do plan to teach it differently. I won’t change a whole lot because I was relatively successful when I left the classroom at Concord High, but with the new system there are a lot more tools at my disposal than I had before. In the last few years, the Brandywine School District has made great gains in the area of technology education and I’ll now be able to use Google platforms and other new technologies to aid my teaching that weren’t available six years ago.

 

DSTEM: Brandywine HS has a state-of-the-art 5,000 square foot STEM Lab, how will this factor into your use of new technology when teaching physics and engineering?

Jud: The STEM lab is the other major difference between Brandywine and Concord. To make it easy on scheduling, I’ll actually be teaching a physics class in the engineering lab. With 5,000 square feet, I’ll have access to all kinds of digital fabrication tools, digital design tools, which could potentially make physics a really interactive and stimulating subject for students.

 

DSTEM: During your 14 years at Concord you created two websites, WagnerPhysics.net and WagnerPhysics.com to help as a platform for students to learn and share information. Will you bring these websites to Brandywine, if so will they be any different?

Jud: Those websites were sort of my “sandbox” early in my career. Physics as a subject is relatively concrete, meaning you can visualize and physically understand most of the concepts. However, the topic that I always had trouble explaining to students was time, because time doesn’t have any smell, touch, or taste. You can’t see or feel time, which makes it harder for students to understand. So I had to ask myself; how do I convey how things change with respect to time, because you can’t do it by writing on a blackboard. Even when a student sees a demonstration in real time, they don’t have the opportunity to go backwards and rewatch if they missed something or were confused. So that’s where I felt that creating animations would be a great way to convey things that are very difficult for students to grasp. When I made these websites (in the early 2000s), the Internet was on the rise and I knew how to code in HTML and Flash, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine these factors into something that would help me in the classroom.

 

DSTEM: Have you kept updating these websites as your career has moved forward and as technology has advanced?

Jud: Two things happened in my career that moved me away from these websites. As I got into working as a supervisor, I began to distance myself from physics so I spent less time working on developing these websites. Also, my two websites were built in Flash, which was under scrutiny at the time by Steve Jobs and Apple. When I heard this, I started playing with a different kind of animation that uses HTML and Java Script only and could be used on any device (PC, iPhone, iPad, etc.).

 

DSTEM: So you do still use animation to convey different physics concepts, but how you built these animations had changed a lot from when you first started.

Jud: Yeah, I call them “layers”. The last thing I want is something that is too visually overwhelming with too much information, so I try and show the same simple animation multiple times but have a way to toggle layers on top of that. If I want students to see vectors, or a trail of how things move over time, I can use graphs with toggles where you can turn the steps on an off as they rewatch this event, learning each “layer” separately and then combining it to fully understand the complete picture. It makes students not be passive and actually engage with the material.

 

DSTEM: As a visual learner, I vividly remember certain physics topics going over my head in high school because they were too abstract to grasp when taught out of a textbook or off computer slides. I’m sure your animations are incredibly helpful in that regard.

Jud: A lot of physics is extremely abstract. I always thought physics was the ultimate STEM class because it did combine science with mathematics in a way that not many other classes do.

 

DSTEM: Speaking of STEM, a major part of your career is involved in STEM supervision in the BSD. How will your new teaching job effect how you balance these two careers?

Jud: Sustainability is something that we as a district knew we had to think about six years ago when STEM was a minor piece of the Race To The Top plan. Reflecting back now, I realize that the reason why we have STEM education in the BSD isn’t because of me as a supervisor but because of the investments and the methods of some of the teachers. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Jordan Estock at Concord High School or Brooks Twilley at Mount Pleasant High School or Heather Handler at Talley Middle School and Jacqueline Chesworth at Mount Pleasant Elementary. These are teachers who not only have made a huge difference with kids, but have made STEM a common word among families and parents, have gotten us into the newspaper because of their achievements and what their kids have accomplished. In a nutshell, the movement of STEM education has been through the teachers. For me to go back and become a teacher, I’m hoping to add to that.

To show you some evidence behind this, we did a survey at the end of this academic year of elementary level teachers. As a supervisor, I’m always wary of adding more stuff to the plates of these teachers because they are already dealing with so much like RTI, math standards, new curriculum, etc. In this survey, we asked them to develop their own growth plan for the next three years, based on what they believe will be the most successful way of teaching and which topics will have the most impact. 31% of them said they wanted to continue and strengthen STEM and STEM based learning. To me, that is a critical mass. It is the beginning of a movement, and exactly what you want as a supervisor.

From a supervision standpoint, you need people to clear the path for those teachers. When I was at the district office, the supervisor of science and recently the supervisor of mathematics have incorporated more STEM into what they do. So while I begin to teach again, they will still be there as people who see the big picture, make the right connections with funding, recognizing accomplishments, all of the things you need to occur at a district level.

 

DSTEM: Five or ten years down the road I’m getting the sense that you see yourself continuing to pursue both supervision and teaching, as a way to keep driving the direction of STEM growth, but also participating in this movement yourself as a classroom teacher.

Jud: Exactly, so one of the things we do at Brandywine is have a ten year plan. Mine definitely involves staying active at a district level. We just had our STEM camp which was made up of elementary and middle school campers as well as campers from a high school robotics camp. It worked well for families with kids at all three levels because they could drop all their kids off at our STEM camp instead of having to juggle two or three separate camps. During pickup, we had this display that showed the levels of progression from an elementary level of thinking (habits of mind, growth mindset, learning from mistakes) to a middle school level (more project based learning) and finally to a high school level (humanitarian approach to STEM, using engineering to solve problems, etc.). I think the work that Jordan Estock has done at Concord High School, whether it was the MIT Invent award or the AbilityOne Challenge, his kids are getting national recognition for developing tools that are meant to help others. These are the things we need to share to our school board so that we can replicate them elsewhere in the district. To me, this is what STEM is all about. It’s not realistic for a specialized charter school to think they can accomplish all this in four years; you need to have long-term progression to get kids to that point.

 

DSTEM: You hold three supervision positions in the Brandywine School District; Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Supervisor of STEM Education, and Supervisor of Career & Technical Education. In which of these positions does your work pertain more to STEM in state of Delaware as a whole, rather than just the Brandywine School District.

Jud: So I am employed by the Brandywine School District so the work I do there is meant to directly improve STEM in the BSD. However, these improvements also have ripple effects that can also affect STEM awareness levels in Delaware as a whole. I also hold a position on the Delaware STEM council, which focuses more on STEM in the state of Delaware itself. The three positions I hold in the BSD that you listed above are somewhat interrelated as well. If you consider Career & Technical Education, that is something I picked up in the first four months of working at the district level and immediately felt a connection between revitalizing Career & Technical Education and ushering in good strong STEM Education. Having this view and pushing for it at the federal level allowed me to put a lot of pressure on the department of education to really think about the hires they were making. I think their hiring of Luke Rhine to lead that charge and creating the C&T Education STEM office was huge. You can see how we were trying to accomplish in Brandywine has had greater effects around Delaware.

 

DSTEM: It seems that Brandywine was one of the first school districts in Delaware to really put an emphasis on STEM six years ago when you began working as a supervisor. Is this accurate?

Jud: It’s kind of a funny actually, we have these STEM labs at our secondary level which are sustained with CT funding. We also used some of our Race To The Top funding to help feed these labs by getting the new equipment, renovating them, and making them look like the spaces we wanted them to be. So now, we’re getting all kinds of traffic in and people are wondering how we afforded all this. In reality, we just used our Race To The Top funding in a different way. It’s hard for people to respond that because from a Race To The Top perspective, each district had their own plan and their own way of tackling STEM, but different districts decided to spend their money in different ways and I think the way we spent ours was with a long term mindset, something that is paying off now six years later.

 

DSTEM: It seems like a large part of these 3 positions is how to manage budgets and capitalize on available resources. What is the culture like in Delaware regarding spending money on education? How do you think it compares to other states?

Jud: I think Delaware and Tennessee were the first states to get Race To The Top money, with STEM as an option of what you could spend it on. In the states that followed, STEM was required to be incorporated with these funds. I think the fact that we have a pretty reputable STEM presence nationally is phenomenal, and I think it goes back to the culture of Delaware. I think about presenting to the Board of Education with Dr. Terry Gray on science standards and expecting a ton of push back and resistance from what had happened in other states, but in Delaware it wasn’t intense at all. It is almost like we’ve been waiting for nationalized standards in science for awhile. We embrace it, which makes my job incredibly exciting because the potential is endless. You rarely find people who are anti-STEM.

Thinking about my own district and career in technical education, where I got the most pushback was the elimination of programming surrounding auto corps where students were changing oil and working very hands on with cars. However, we got rid of that to make room for something that will give them a much wider skill set, using digital tools and applications to solve problems.

 

DSTEM: I know you’ve worked closely with a number of policy makers and politicians throughout the state including the current governor, senator, and Ted Kaufman who used to represent the state. What have you learned from working in the public sector and how has this knowledge positively affected your current jobs?

Jud: When I think about the experience of going from a classroom teacher to a district level position to working with the governor, it was a pretty intense transition. What I learned more than anything else is a systems way of thinking, looking at how things are interrelated and work together. I do a ton of listening and take in all different ideas people have. Trying to find a place for all these ideas is tricky work, but also very interesting work. The STEM network is incredibly important. A question I always ask is; how do you help different treads get connected from one place to another so a person with one interest or desire can play a role in the bigger picture? In the classroom, I can use that skillset. I know now that teaching is more than just the relationship between me and my students, but it’s the relationship between me and parents, other teachers, and everyone else who wants to invest in my students as well. I’m always asking myself how I can tap into that and make those connections. Asking those questions will help me be as successful as possible.

 

DSTEMWhat do you think the future holds for STEM education and the STEM economy in Delaware?

Jud: To me, there is huge opportunity in Delaware. I shared the statistic about the 31% of elementary teachers that want to incorporate STEM to their three year plans. These are teachers who aren’t strong in math and science, and picked a teaching career that is as far away from STEM as possible. Now they are pushing to expose their students more to STEM. There is huge potential in Delaware, more so than anywhere else in the nation. The funding is there, it’s just about using that funding the right way.

 

DSTEM: Last year you received your doctorate in Education from Wilmington U while continuing with your career as a teacher and supervisor. Why did you want to become a doctor? How will you use this degree in the years to come?

Jud: That’s a really interesting question. Six years ago I was actually a little insecure. Most people go from the classroom to a district level position after multiple year as an assistant principle, a principle, or some other kind of coordinator/supervisor. For me to just jump that far, there was a part of me that felt underqualified and that somebody made a mistake. Going for that doctorate gave me the confidence I needed to believe that I belonged in this position. The things I learned and are able to draw on through that program totally change the way I view leadership and administration. I’m much more confident in my mission and vision.

 

DSTEM: At Wilmington University did you concentrate on a specific type of education for your doctorate?

Jud: The education leadership programs at Wilmington University are broken up into 3 parts; educational leadership, educational leadership in higher education, and organizational leadership. I picked educational leadership in higher education, which was kind of an academic curiosity for me. I was pretty familiar with the K-12 system but I wanted to learn more about higher education. It was pretty interesting digging into that area. The big question is how does that degree serve me going back into the classroom, and I think it comes down to what leadership actually is. I left the classroom to help build up STEM programs because I wanted to demonstrate leadership. In reality, I was demonstrating leadership at the classroom level. STEM education in the Brandywine School District is what it is not because of what I did but because of the teachers that I empowered. They are the leaders of this movement. I don’t think I would have realized that if it weren’t for that degree.

 

Judson Wagner:

Judson was a physics teacher for 15 years at Concord High School, as well as Department Chair. For the last 6 years he has been the STEM coordinator for the Brandywine School District in Delaware. As an educator, Mr. Wagner has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST); the Siemen’s Advanced Placement Award for Teaching; and the Cable Industry’s Leader in Learning Award. Mr. Wagner was appointed co-chair of the Delaware STEM Council by Governor Markell in 2010.


Interview on behalf of Delaware STEM conducted by Zachary Yonda – Zach is a passionate STEM advocate as well as a devoted student athlete on the men’s basketball team at Swarthmore College. He is currently pursuing a degree in economics.

Interview with Judson Wagner

Written by Zachary Yonda