Statewide STEM week to be celebrated at GCC

October 16, 2019

Greenfield Community College is planning its second annual STEM Week October 21st– 25th. Organized by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council, MASS STEM Week is a statewide effort to boost interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math for students from Kindergarten through college. This year’s theme, “See Yourself in STEM”, aims to encourage learners to envision themselves in the diverse array of educational and career options in STEM-related fields.

GCC is participating in Mass STEM Week through its STEM Starter Academy program, an initiative through the Department of Higher Education that encourages students to enter STEM pathways within community colleges. SSA provides many STEM opportunities at GCC: STEM summer courses for high school and GCC students, internships for STEM majors that help students develop hands-on skills, extra support in math classes, individualized advising and support services to encourage student success, and support for instructors to use GCC’s new Outdoor Learning Lab for experiential learning on campus.

For GCC, “See Yourself in STEM” Week has translated to creating inclusive and interdisciplinary spaces for students to experience STEM. “Our aim is to show students and the community that STEM is everywhere in our lives”, says Teresa Jones, Co-Chair of the GCC Science Department. “We want people on our campus to realize that STEM is accessible and relevant for any student—whether they’re planning to study Humanities, Business, Biology or Engineering”.

One highlight will be a panel discussion and networking event Wednesday, October 23rd at 6pm with New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE). NEWIEE is an organization of professional women dedicated to cultivating female leadership in the Environmental and Energy industries. “NEWIEE on Campus” events aim to introduce different STEM fields to female learners and allow them to informally network with leaders in the industry.

GCC will also be holding its second High School STEM Day on October 24th, when 200 local high school students will be attending multi-disciplinary workshops led by GCC faculty and staff. “The most exciting part about planning this event has been seeing how people on campus took ‘See Yourself in STEM’ and ran with it”, says Deidre Murphy, STEM Special Programs Coordinator. “We have a workshop being led by a professor of Human Services and Addiction alongside a Coordinator of Instructional Technology about apps being used in Recovery Programs. It’s really cool to see the unlikely STEM connections being made”.

The week’s events will also feature a pair of lectures on future-oriented Engineering. On Monday, Oct. 21st, Engineering Professor Ted Johnson will take the audience into the not-so-distant future of space exploration in his lecture, “Why Mars?”. On Tuesday, Oct. 22nd, Professor Dr. Scott Civjan, P.E. of the UMass Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will share how Engineers have learned from past Earthquakes to plan and build resilient buildings.

On Thursday, October 24th, GCC will participate in Pioneer Valley Women in STEM’s Event, “LetsLevelUp: Colleagues and Friends as Mentors”, at The Look Park Garden House in Florence.

The event will be headlined by Dr. Becky Wai-Ling Packard, professor and author of Colleagues and Friends as Mentors: Lifting Up, Connecting, and Realizing Our Collective Expertise. The event aims to help make connections between women in various STEM fields and their younger counterparts. A light dinner will be served and there will be raffle giveaways.

On the GCC campus, there will also be ongoing participatory presentations in the lobby and dining commons throughout the week, including an art installation that will be expanding as the week continues. Many STEM Week events are open to the community.  For more information, please contact Deidre Murphy at murphyd@gcc.mass.edu, (413)775-1459 or check out the GCC Calendar: https://www.gcc.mass.edu/events/.