New Jersey STEM Pathways Network and Ecosystems Visit Cleveland for STEM Community of Practice

Highlights from New Jersey’s trip to the national STEM Ecosystems 2019 Fall Community of Practice Convening that took place October 21-23.

The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (NJSPN) along with leaders from its five ecosystems, recently attended the STEM Ecosystems Community of Practice in Cleveland, Ohio. The three-day convening brought members of all 89 worldwide STEM Ecosystems and leaders from business, education, non-profits, and philanthropy together to learn best practices in STEM.

The convening’s theme was centered around Living STEM: Communities At The Heart, which focused on the benefits of ecosystems and community leaders partnering to advance their efforts. The Community of Practice convening is a great opportunity for these communities to network and exchange ideas with one another.

The three days were packed with speakers and facilitated discussions led by ecosystem teams and TIES (Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM) staff. Many Ecosystem to Ecosystem (E2E) sessions were held by fellow Community of Practice members that spoke about their initiatives, projects, and efforts in STEM.

When it came to presentations, New Jersey’s presence was truly a powerhouse!

Delran STEM’s co-leads, Mary Jo Hutchinson and Erica DeMichele, presented on the key aspects of the cradle-to-career STEM continuum by sharing how they have created and funded programs including a STEAM Up Summer Camp & Academy and their Fabrication & Innovation Laboratory.

NJSPN’s manager, Kim Case, and HSMC lead, Kari McGann, presented their Lead STEM Fellow Capstone posters. LEAD STEM is an initiative of the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice, a collaborative movement of 89 STEM Learning Ecosystems made up of hundreds of after-school STEM organizations, thousands of school districts serving millions of students, hundreds of businesses and industries and dozens of community colleges and universities.

Kim Case’s poster was on bringing common sense to leverage combined philanthropy and leadership to accelerate stem learning through a NJ STEM Funders’ Roundtable.

HSMC Lead Flemington-Raritan Superintendent Kari McGann’s poster was on her partnership with ExxonMobil to engage girls in STEM.

Kim also participated in an E2E session on leveraging ecosystems for STEM policy change which focused on the statewide coordination of resources and efforts to make STEM a statewide priority. In this E2E, Kim partnered with leaders from Pennsylvania, Great Lakes Michigan and Iowa.

South Jersey STEM and Innovation Partnership (SJSIP) Ecosystem leads, Pavithra Lakshminarayan (Mindbytes) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Camden County Community College), led a session on public based learning showcasing a Design Challenge they put together in partnership with the Yogi Berra Museum, Camden County College and Siemens. 

The Community of Practice convening is held twice a year and seeks to nurture and scale effective STEM learning opportunities for all learners. The selected sites from across the United States have demonstrated cross-sector collaborations to deliver rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning.