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Minnesota STEM Forum workforce call to action


C.M. Swanson

Steven Walvig, SciMathMN board chair, Mark Schroll, St. Cloud University, Cindy Hasselbring, Senior Director, High School Aviation Initiative, AOPA, Jason Ritter, Vice President, Partnerships, Project Lead the Way, Nancy Grazzini-Olson, President Academy College, CEO Thunderbird Aviation. Panelists engaging in a discussion defining flexible pathways for students and identifying quality instructional materials.

C.M. Swanson

Positive societal change doesn't happen by chance. It takes drive, dedication, and determination.

Judging by those standards, the Minnesota STEM workforce call to action held by AirSpace Minnesota and Aerospace Industries Association at the Minnesota Department of Education Conference Center on October 6 was a rousing success.

C.M. Swanson

Elizabeth Bierman, Senior Technical Manager, Honeywell Aerospace moderates a panel discussion.

From the morning visit from Senator Amy Klobuchar, to keynote speakers Dr. John Olson, Vice President and General Manager of Polaris Defense and Dale Klapmeier, Co-Founder and CEO of Cirrus Aircraft, and through all the high impact, moderated panel discussions, attendees and presenters created a spark of interest that burned throughout the entire two-day event.

The focus of the event was to examine how stakeholders can work together to increase student participation in STEM fields, with an emphasis on the important opportunities in aviation and aerospace.

In a panel discussion about growing participation from underrepresented communities, Mamie Singleton, Executive Director of the Youth Initiative Mentoring Academies (YIMA) said the main thing is to show compassion and commitment to the cause, to be a role model for youth, to mentor them, and to expose them to STEM fields.

"That means you," said Singleton to the attendees as she looked at the people gathered in the room. "It doesn't have to be a huge organization. It can be one person. It can be you."

C.M. Swanson


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