Ohio State University: Ohio State-supported STEAMM Rising Institute offers immersive campus experience

Dozens of teachers from Columbus City Schools visited classrooms and labs across the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University over the last two weeks with the goal of growing the next generation of teachers and students focused on innovation.

The interactive experience at Ohio State was part of STEAMM Rising Columbus, a new initiative to collectively develop STEAMM talent in Columbus. The initiative is a collaboration between the university, the city of Columbus, Columbus City Schools and Columbus State Community College. STEAMM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine.

Ohio State Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa L. Gilliam spoke to teachers at the STEAMM Rising Institute kick-off event at Pomerene Hall on Monday. Elementary school teachers participated in the institute last week. This week, middle and high school teachers have been exploring campus.

Gilliam said it is critical to spark interest in STEAMM fields at an early age.

“The research shows that young people, especially young people of color and women, start to determine whether they belong on that pathway as early as middle school,” she said.

Gilliam said ninth-grade math scores are also among the best predictors of future success. Those statistics indicate that Columbus teachers are key to helping young teens understand the opportunities they can find in those fields.

The goal of STEAMM Rising is to train and develop 500 STEAMM teachers in the next five years. The initiative also establishes STEAMM Pathways among the participating educational institutions to develop and share curriculum, providing more access to this specialized education.

Teachers had a chance to explore a wealth of opportunities during the week. The colleges of Arts and Sciences; Engineering; Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Medicine; Pharmacy; and other schools and units supported the tour.

One exercise at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences featured collaboration between the school and the school district as university faculty helped teachers work through a prosthetic leg challenge that was developed by the Columbus City School Curriculum Division. Teachers also participated in respiratory therapy techniques and learned how to diagnose infections in patients.

Ardelia Young, a physical science and medical intervention teacher at East High School, said she had some clear goals at the start of her week on campus.

“My thoughts about the STEAMM Rising initiative was to gain insight on developing project-based learning opportunities for students that will feed into general science as well as giving the kids critical thinking skills so that they can begin thinking about opportunities in the health science field,” she said.

Young said one of the ways the STEAMM Rising Initiative will help Columbus students is by showing them a broad range of career paths in these fields. The initiative calls for at least one STEAMM lead teacher in targeted schools across Columbus City Schools. As part of a STEAMM Scholars program, at least 25 Columbus students will be named as STEAMM scholars in the next five years.

“It is very important, especially for the health industry field, that our students can gain leverage and an opportunity to help build that area and build it in regard to supplying the need and demand of the health care industry,” Young said, “as well as identifying areas where they can really, beyond nursing or becoming a doctor, explore the various opportunities.”

Young said she looks forward to strengthening the ties between the two institutions by inviting university faculty to Columbus City Schools.

“[The STEAMM Rising Initiative] has been very helpful and we’re looking forward to getting a list of people that we can communicate with, collaborate with, and to work with our students at the high school.”