In her own version of the 1939 political film “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” Towson University’s Mary Stapleton, Ph.D., recently testified before Congress as part of a briefing designed to share strategies to engage the next-generation STEM workforce through the development and dissemination of traveling laboratories and other innovative education programs.
“It was amazing to hear how innovative STEM outreach efforts, like mobile science labs and equipment loan programs, are impacting students across the nation,” said Dr. Stapleton, Director of Biotechnology Education and Outreach within Towson University’s Center for STEM Excellence.
“Mobile Lab Coalition member programs have reached almost a million students already and are continuing to inspire the next generation in STEM,” she added. “Hearing from our congressional delegation made it clear to me that STEM education is a priority, not just in Maryland, but across the nation.”
The event was well received, with over 90 attendees including U.S. House members Steny Hoyer, Donna Edwards and John Delaney.
Stapleton spoke about the role of STEM outreach programs in supporting professional development in the K-12 community, highlighting the professional development programs offered by the Towson University Center for STEM Excellence. Examples included research experience for teacher programs and workshops that provide opportunities for teachers to deepen content knowledge, as well as programs focused on inquiry-based, learner-centered teaching methods.
She also discussed programs for Maryland students offered through Towson’s Center for STEM Excellence, including the SciTech Student Learning Lab — a field trip destination where students take part in hands-on inquiry based activities that engage them in STEM topics and the Maryland Loaner Lab (MDLL). MDLL is a ‘traveling’ science program where equipment, reagents (compounds or mixtures) and curriculum are sent to teachers throughout the state using FedEx.