Fourth Annual Showcase Highlights Outreach and STEM Education

Showcase exhibitors and planners pose with Doc.
Showcase exhibitors and planners pose with Doc.

Towson, Md. (April 20, 2011): On April 13, the Minnegan Room was the scene of the fourth annual Showcase, at which Towson University faculty and staff had the opportunity to share their expertise with the outside community.

“Not only is the Showcase an opportunity for the broader community to learn about how the university can apply its experience to real-world problems, but it’s also an opportunity for us to learn what the concerns are in the community, so that we can be more proactive in providing expertise” said Dyan Brasington, vice president, Economic and Community Outreach and founder of the event. “This is our special opportunity to spotlight–or showcase--our expertise to the university and broader community at the same time.”

This year’s Showcase focused on science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education as well as the expertise of units of the Division of Economic and Community Outreach (DECO), whose mission is to reach out and provide services to the broader community.Speakers reinforced the importance, and relatedness, of both the outreach and STEM education missions of the university.The first, Katherine Oliver, Aasistant state superintendent,Career and College Readiness, praised the university for its involvement in teacher professional development and STEM education activities. Ms. Oliver’s address was followed by time for networking, then a talk by Richard (Dickie) George, information assurance technical director, National Security Agency. Mr. George spoke of cybersecurity and academia’s role in ensuring the safety of our information–that of the government, businesses and individuals. He spoke of a faceless, nameless threat to the American way of life and of the need for well-prepared individuals to work on securing electronic systems. Both speakers made it clear that there’s a huge role for Towson University to play in the life-and not only the intellectual life --and welfare of the broader community. 

Before, between and after the speakers’ talks, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the unique contributions Towson can make to the community by visiting exhibitors’ booths and mingling over lunch.Previous showcases have focused solely on applied research. Different this year, in addition to DECO units, exhibitors included faculty members and groups of faculty members whose scholarly interests revolve around outreach, including teacher professional development.This year’s added focus on STEM education provided a venue for the university’s faculty members, who are very involved in STEM education at all levels, to bring more awareness of their work to the broader community, including the local educational community.Said Sarah Haines, Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education and one of this year’s exhibitors, “This was a great way for me and my colleagues working for the betterment of the broader community to let that community know about the good things Towson University’s faculty members are doing in STEM education, and to tell them that we can-–and want todo more.”

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