Dr. June Scobee Rodgers will present “Why STEM teachers are needed today more than ever” on Wednesday, January 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Challenger STEM Learning Center on the UTC campus, located at 855 East Fifth Street.  This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers

The STEM Student Organization at UTC, with support from the Challenger STEM Learning Center and UTC STEM Education, is hosting this event.

Scobee Rodgers is the widow of Dick Scobee, Commander of the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle mission that ended in tragedy in January 1986.  She is the Founding Chairman for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.  There are currently 45 centers worldwide in the National Challenger Center Network where more than 500,000 students participate in Challenger Center programs.

National recognition and countless awards have been bestowed upon Scobee Rodgers during her professional career, “including the National Eagle Award, the Women’s International Center’s Living Legacy Award, the Spirit of Volunteerism, and in 2000, the National Award for Excellence in Leadership.”  She serves on boards of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Vatican Observatory, and Guideposts, and is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Following Scobee Rodgers’ presentation, Perry Storey, Director of the Challenger STEM Learning Center at UTC, will talk about ways the Center can help teachers actively engage their students with STEM education.

A tour of the Challenger STEM Learning Center will follow.

“As the Founding Chairman of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Dr. Scobee Rodgers is an educator at every level.  She is an excellent choice to inspire future and current STEM teachers,” Storey said.

The STEM Student Organization includes students in all STEM majors and education fields of study. It was established by senior Christina Mullinax, who serves as president.

Mullinax received the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship for her four years at UTC.  In return, she has pledged to spend four years teaching math in a high-need school district.  To encourage others to become interested in STEM education, she rallied fellow students to reach out to the community.  Ashley Dantzler is vice president, Erin Perry is treasurer, Nikki Rooks is secretary, and Grant Yost is publicist of the STEM Student Organization at UTC.

“STEM education is the future.  There’s so much engineering, technology, and math used to create new and better ways to live.  Most people don’t think about their cell phones, for instance, but there’s so much math and science behind a device like that.  Students who are engaged in STEM education gain an appreciation for technology,” Mullinax explained.

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