Lab science education programs featured at ACS national meeting

(Download Image) Lab scientist John Knezovich, accompanied by postdoctoral researcher Karis McFarlane (on screen) explained the basics of mass spectrometry, to middle school students during a sessions of the Lab's "Scientists in the Classroom."

A special symposium on "STEM Education Pipeline to Innovation & Entrepreneurship" was held at the recent national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Anaheim. 

The symposium was developed because of concerns over the eroding proficiency of U.S. students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines that have serious implications for science literacy and future national workforce needs.  President Obama cited STEM education as a national priority in his State of the Union address. 

John Knezovich, director of University Relations, was an invited speaker at the symposium.  He pointed out that while there is a strong consensus on the need to improve overall student proficiency in STEM disciplines, many education enhancement programs focus on engaging only the best and brightest students.

Knezovich said that it is in the best interest of non-academic entities to engage students and teachers as broadly as possible to stimulate interest and build proficiency in STEM disciplines so as to increase the number of science-literate citizens while also increasing the pool of highly qualified graduates.

He highlighted the Laboratory's "Teacher Research Academies," "Science on Saturday" and "Scientists in the Classroom" programs as tools to broadly engage teachers and students in the work of the Laboratory and to promote scientific literacy.

In his closing comments, symposium chair Sadiq Shah, who is also the chair of the ACS Committee on Science, noted that LLNL programs and others that are directed toward broad engagement of students and teachers should be adopted as models for enhancing STEM education.