STEM Educator Symposium

The STEM Educator Symposium, held during STEM Week on Tuesday, March 2nd, will provide professional development and resources for STEM educators from a variety of formal and informal settings.  The Symposium, brought to you by the Missouri AfterSchool Network and the Missouri Math and Science Coalition, invites afterschool professionals, classroom teachers, STEM coordinators, science museum, library staff, and other STEM partners to attend.  Thanks to funding from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, there will not be a registration fee for the virtual STEM Educator Symposium.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM


Thanks to generous funding from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, there is no cost to attend the virtual STEM Educator Symposium on March 2, 2021.  Please register here for a link to the STEM Educator Symposium event page with individual links for each session.  If you have any questions, please contact Clint Darr at or Lynna Lawson at

Registration link


8:30-9:00 Breakfast – BYOCAB (Bring Your Own Coffee and Bagels)
9:00-10:00 Welcome and Presentation
10:15-11:30 STEM Careers STEM Equity and Inclusion Family Engagement in STEM
11:30-12:00 Lunch – Collaboration break out discussion rooms
12:00-1:00 Linda Godwin, NASA Astronaut
1:00-2:00 Partnerships – STEM Ecosystems FIRST Robotics eSports
MoreNet Mango Math Project Lead the Way
ESTEAM and the Entrepreneurial Mindset
2:00-3:00 Maker Space Empowering Students through Innovative Teaching Practices Click2Science
Intro to Leap Into Science Promoting STEM with Civil Air Patrol Kids & Coding with Scratch
4-H STEM Challenge and Extravaganza
2:45-3:00 Reflection and Wrap Up


Session Descriptions

10:15 AM – 11:30 PM Sessions

STEM Equity & Inclusion – Dr. Karen Peterson, National Girls’ Collaborative Project – This workshop will introduce the ways in which a framework is a useful tool for afterschool programming. Presenters will share examples within broad categories for increasing access to STEM learning opportunities and then delve more deeply into specific strategies and tactics that focus on cultural responsiveness.

Family & Community Engagement in STEM – Dr. Linda Kekelis, STEM Next – How do we help close rather than increase the opportunity gap in STEM with family engagement? How do we make sure that every parent feels confident and has the resources to support their child in STEM? How do we reimagine family engagement as more than a one-time, end-of-program event? How do we support children and their families in engaging in STEM at home and in their community? This workshop will share research, bright spots from the field, lessons learned from supporting families from afar, and resources for supporting families in STEM from out-of-school-time programs in various settings across the country.

STEM Careers – Mark Cowsert, MASN, Associate Director of Policy and Partnerships Brian Crouse, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VP of Education Jeff Beiswinger, University of Missouri, Heart of MO RPDC, Career Advisor Consultant Jay Webster, University of Central Missouri, Central Region RPDC, Career Advisor Consultant Jon Follis, BGC-Ozarks, Reeds Spring Unit Director Martha McCabe, KC STEM Alliance, Executive Director – STEM Careers are said to be the future…yet as one afterschool professional has said-“they are NOW because you can’t even order a burger at McDonald’s without STEM- someone had to design and program the technology!” This interactive session is an overview of the why, what, how and benefits of STEM Careers focus in the afterschool space.

12:00 PM Keynote

Linda Godwin – NASA Astronaut

A Missouri native and veteran of four space flights, Dr. Godwin has logged over 38 days in space, including over 10 EVA hours in two spacewalks. In 1991 she served as a Mission Specialist on STS-37, was the Payload Commander on STS-59 in 1994, flew on STS-76 in 1996, a Mir docking mission, and served on STS-108/International Space Station Flight UF-1 in 2001.

1:00 PM  Workshop Sessions

FIRST Robotics – Camdenton LASER 3284 FIRST Robotics Team – Learn how to start FIRST robotics in your afterschool program. (PreK-12) It is the hardest FUN you will ever have! FIRST Robotics inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication & leadership.

ESTEAM & the Entrepreneurial Mindset – VentureLab – Entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business, it’s a mindset and skills. It is a Practical application and program ideas for educators in order to engage students in existing STEM.

Afterschool STEM with PLTW Launch – Ashley Benne and Andrea Holzwarth, Project Lead the Way – Learn more about Project Lead The Way Launch! These highly engaging, hands-on, STEM-learning modules will not only help cover your Next Generation Science Standards, but will have your students asking for more! In this session we will cover a description of PLTW Launch, what it could look like in your after school space, and also funding opportunities.

Making Math Champions – Mary Curry, MANGO Math – Math ability is the single strongest indicator of students future academic and financial success. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for us to champion math. All students can succeed in math and students can succeed if we reduce the stress and anxiety around mathematics. It can be done, and games can help. Come learn fun ways to promote math in your programs through games that help students find success in a stress reduced situation. All students can learn math and all educators can become math champions.

Esports in Afterschool – Jared Bellis, Morgan County R-1 School Afterschool Program – This session will discuss the benefits of starting an esports program in your after school program as well as the hurdles you will face establishing it. This will primarily be a Q&A session with some information provided.

Virtual MILL Tour – Matt Parris & John Riley, MORENet – Come see all the amazing tools available in to teach STEM. From Robots you code to creating in 3d we will show you some of the possibilities you can do with your students.

2:00 PM Workshop Sessions

Empowering Students through Innovative Teaching Practices – Laura Leibman, National Inventors Hall of Fame – Let’s build a pathway for equity through the Innovation Mindset. Learn about resources, professional development, and funding to support your efforts. Invention education builds a new relationship for teaching and learning practices fostering children’s ability to experience real-world problem-solving, explore their passions, gain social and emotional strength, and prepare a pathway for creativity, collaboration, and innovation. Early exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship will impact lifelong opportunities for growth. We believe that children can reach their academic potential when they understand the power of design thinking with persistence, confidence, STEM, and intellectual property. This workshop will provide educators with direct, applicable strategies to integrate into their classrooms and programs. Participants will feel prepared and excited to continue applying the innovation mindset, strengthen their current strategies, and empower students in any subject.

Promoting STEM with the Civil Air Patrol – Lanna Fletcher, US Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol – This session will highlight STEM programs offered to teachers, schools, and community groups by Civil Air Patrol.

Leap into Science – Light and Shadow – Clint Darr, MASN, and Dennise Day, Kansas City Science Center – Leap into Science is a national program that integrates open-ended science activities with children’s books for young children and their families. This session is a preview/informational session for the upcoming 2 hour Leap Into Science virtual educator training that will occur on March 18th. In this informational session you will get a taste of the Leap Into Science curriculum for elementary students and a peek at the free Light and Shadow kit you will receive if you attend the 2 hour training and commit to delivering this program to youth and/or their families. There will be no cost for the March 18th training.

4-H STEM Challenge & Extravaganza – Amanda Meek, Missouri 4-H STEM Specialist – Learn about some of the STEM opportunities that Missouri 4-H can offer to enhance your program. The 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge explores sending a mission to Mars with the activities. Mars Base Camp is a collection of activities that teaches kids ages 8-14 STEM skills like mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and agriculture. The Missouri 4-H STEM Extravaganza will provide youth with an opportunity to showcase the skills they have gained in teamwork, engineering, programming, and problem solving.

Create an Inclusive Computer Science Program – Saundra Wever Frerichs Click2Science Professional Development – Young people need computer science skills to thrive. Develop strategies for creating an inclusive CS program that provides assess for all students. You won’t need an expert coder to bring CS into your program. We’ve broken it down into a simple process that builds on the skills you already have. Logical thinking, problem solving and youth development are the basis of the Click2Science approach to CS.

MakerSpaces: Creating a space for S.T.E.A.M. – Jodi L. Polk, Director Nevada Public Library Are you looking for a way to incorporate more STEAM into your program? Are you limited on space or budget? Learn valuable tips and tricks to help you define physical spaces where MAKERS can explore STEAM-activities. This session will also highlight local resources that are available through your public library to help you build a STEAM tool kit.

Kids & Coding – Kayce Amsden, Missouri 4-H Youth Program Associate – I will share what I have learned after a year of teaching kids how to code on Zoom. We will discuss how a virtual classroom can be fun and interactive if the teacher creates an inviting and safe place to share ideas and coding creations.





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