The 9th annual STEM Summit was held on October 18th at Gillette Stadium bringing together a record crowd of 1,200 STEM leaders from education, business, non-profits and government to brainstorm, discuss, develop and advance the state's nationally recognized STEM agenda. The event was hosted by MBR and the UMass Donahue Institute and sponsored by MBR members providing STEM leadership throughout the state and nation including National Grid, Verizon, EMC, Raytheon, Suffolk Construction, IBM, Mass. Technology Collaborative, MITRE and Siemens (link for more on MBR members' leadership in STEM). MBR's leadership, as well as that of the many STEM advocates in attendance, was recognized by the state's Secretary of Education, Paul Reville, who praised the gathering for "creating a movement" around STEM and for the "pathbreaking efforts in setting a national model."
New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft kicked off the Summit by welcoming everyone to Gillette Stadium and announcing a new STEM teacher of the Year award program that will provide a grant to the winning teacher and recognize their achievement in the Hall at Patriot Place.
Keynote addresses by Rose Kirk, President of Verizon Foundation and NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman inspired the crowd with personal stories of how STEM has impacted them. Ms. Kirk's address in the morning provided a call to action stating, "Your mission, my mission, our collective mission is to provide as many students as possible the opportunity for a STEM education, which will help us build stronger communities and a stronger economy." Verizon invested $16 billion in 2011 to deploy mobile and fiber optic networks to support innovation and economic growth. Ms. Kirk announced an exciting new national challenge for middle school students to develop an "innovative app"- ten schools will be chosen to develop applications that will be made available in the Android marketplace. She said that we all have a responsibility to ignite the passion and excitement in our young people to help them "create magic" using math and science.
NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman led off the afternoon keynote address showing images of the International Space Station saying, "I used to live there." She also said she is a "big fan of math and science," especially when it comes to returning safely to earth. "The reason I and NASA support STEM is because we need kids to grow up and design spacesuits so their mothers can come home," she added. Ms. Coleman said NASA is using its unique capabilities to advance high quality STEM education. She posed for pictures with students and teachers. Ms. Colemen joined Roundtable member and Siemens' Northeast Zone Manager Tom Foley to recognize Kelly Graveson, a physical science teacher from Douglas and 2011 Siemens STEM Institute Fellow.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who has long championed STEM education in Massachusetts, announced $650,000 in state funding (read release) for @Scale projects, and he both praised and urged the business community to continue supporting bringing STEM programs to scale across the state. He thanked Verizon's Region President Donna Cupelo and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, as well as the Governor's STEM Advisory Council for their work on STEM. The Advisory Council includes nine Roundtable members and MBR Executive Director JD Chesloff.
Both the morning and afternoon breakout sessions tackled challenges and made recommendations that will strengthen the next iteration of the statewide STEM Plan and implementation of the @Scale Initiative. Secretary Bialecki, Secretary Reville and Secretary Goldstein all participated in the day-long Summit. Numerous MBR members and prospective member General Dynamics participated in the Summit and breakout sessions.