Global Initiative Brings Accessible K-12 STEM Education to the World
With a growing need to empower and encourage more students around the world in STEM disciplines, WPI’s Global STEM Education Initiative leverages the university’s expertise and resources to help other countries and underserved schools in the United States provide high-quality, accessible K-12 STEM education the world needs now.
For more than 50 years, WPI has shared its expertise and resources to grow the STEM pipeline, inspire and equip the next generation of STEM leaders, support the educators who introduce students to STEM, and collaborate with global partners in their own communities. With the programming, resources, activities, and support provided by this initiative, WPI is increasing its work with educators around the world to customize and enhance their STEM educational systems.
If we can train and educate the people who are going to educate future STEM leaders, we can maximize our own impact and achieve these goals much faster.
“WPI has recognized the importance of global demand for STEM education for a very long time,” says Joseph Doiron, director of the initiative, assistant teaching professor in The Global School, and co-director of the Global Lab. “At the core of WPI’s value proposition is hands-on STEM teaching and learning. That’s always the starting point. When you couple that with our global presence in 50-plus project centers in all parts of the world, we come equipped with a global network of relationships that is different from other places. We partner with people who share our commitment to tapping teams’ multidisciplinary knowledge and lived experience to the fullest benefit. We are already doing this with local communities and around the world.”
Whether it is engaging students in STEM at the Farm Stay Project Center’s working farm and educational nature center in Paxton, Mass., or using project-based learning modules to establish a consistent method for training teachers in Africa with the Math and Science for Sub-Saharan Africa (MS4SSA) initiative, WPI’s approach is holistic and purposeful. As the globe continues to face increasingly complex challenges, a more diverse population of professionals who can bring different lenses, experiences, questions, and passions to labs and boardroom tables is essential. Creating, translating, and deploying new scientific insights and technologies to benefit everyone’s health and well-being will depend upon the inclusion of many perspectives.
As a founding principle, WPI prepares and supports future scientists, engineers, and business leaders in their journeys to become the empathetic, collaborative, and resourceful STEM professionals the world needs. But the university’s parallel expertise includes a purposeful and thoughtful approach to inspiring and supporting the educators who teach the content students depend on. Students can’t progress without teachers who understand the latest developments, have the tools to convey the information, and are themselves excited by the material.
“The Global STEM Education Initiative will increase our impact on things that many of us across campus care deeply about, which is giving educators the ability to transform their communities through their classrooms,” says Doiron. “Our approach is to understand the problems in the local context and share our expertise and help people create solutions based on the local conditions. That lends itself extremely well to training STEM educators. If we can train and educate the people who are going to educate future STEM leaders, we can maximize our own impact and achieve these goals much faster.”