Basic programming in grade schools, achieving Microsoft and Cisco certifications, competing in Cyber Security competitions. These are just a sampling of the amazing opportunities offered by different STEM programs to stimulate kids’ interest in the field and help them prepare for future careers.
For this panel, leaders from three STEM program will discuss how they structure their program offerings for students in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School.
Moderator: Mark Dronzek
Mark Dronzek, Global Head of IT, Seeds division, BASF
Mark Dronzek is a Renaissance IT guy who’s ‘impressed with the urgency of doing.” He has been a Global CIO, entrepreneur, and management consultant. He has held leadership positions in and advised Fortune and Global 2000 companies across multiple industries (including pharma, agriculture, tech and non-profit). He is currently Global Head of IT, Seeds division, BASF.
Mark’s roles have spanned Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. He has implemented multiple Global Shared Services and enterprise change management. He has also presented at national and international conferences, is on several Advisory Boards, is a LinkedIn provacateur and has collected far too many airline and hotel points.
Mark has a degree in British Literature from Wake Forest. He is an avid basketball and beach volleyball player as well as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo. He also dabbles in writing, art, gardening and guitar power chords.
Suzanne is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Va. Tech) with a BS in Biology, a minor in Chemistry and extensive coursework in Microbiology. She also received her teaching certificate while at Va Tech. Her Masters in Geosciences was completed through the Teachers in Geosciences program at Mississippi State University.
Suzanne started out teaching at Godwin HS in Richmond, VA. Biology and Earth Science were the courses she taught over the course of ten years. Godwin HS, located in Henrico County, was one of the first districts where computers were given to every student and used in the classroom every day. This allowed for the development of course work for both Biology and Earth Science that integrated computer technology with learning in the classroom. She sat on a committee that created the Standards of Learning curriculum for the state of Virginia and also exam questions to be used for the End of Course exams that were given by the state of Virginia. She became the Department Chair for Science at Godwin during the end of her time in Richmond. She has volunteered for several clubs at Godwin, including class sponsor and National Honor Society.
After taking a 10-year hiatus from teaching to stay home with her children, she has returned to teaching at Lyman High School. This is her second year at Lyman High School teaching Biology and Biotechnical Engineering.
Chris DeRosier, Media Specialist/Director of Galaxy’s STEM Academy, Volusia County Schools
B.S. Elementary Education 2003 (UCF), M.B.A 2010 (UCF)
Chris spent his first seven years as an educator in third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms. He is currently serving in the role of Galaxy’s Media Specialist and the Director of Galaxy’s STEM Academy. In this role, Chris oversees technology usage and management, he is a crusader against bureaucratic red tape, a lead visionary, and successful grant writer.
Chris and his team are leading the movement in Volusia County Schools in the creation of STEM-based schools within schools (academies). Galaxy STEM Academy students participate in CyberPatriot (https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/), Future City (https://futurecity.org/), Science Olympiad (https://www.soinc.org/), HOSA-Future Health Professionals (http://www.hosa.org), and FIRST Lego League (http://www.firstlegoleague.org/) competitions.
Since being hounded by a student over three years ago to purchase a 3D printer for the media center, Chris has led the formation of a school within a school to utilize equipment purchased through various grants and donations. The Galaxy STEM Academy is run by 12 core (science, math, language arts, social studies) teachers, three elective (art, business applications, STEM technology) teachers, one overly zealous media specialist, and a 300+ student team made up of heterogeneous classes (ESE, Gen. Ed., and Gifted all in the same classroom). Classes are taught in five 75-minute blocks, Core Classes M/T/Th, Lab Classes W/F. Labs change every six weeks so that students get exposure to as many disciplines as possible before deciding which direction they want to focus in high school. Through grant writing and business partnerships, Chris has been able to acquire $60,000+ for the STEM program at the Title I school.
Julie Gabrovic, M.Ed., Science teacher, Wekiva Elementary
Julie Gabrovic is an elementary Science Lab teacher and Science Coach at Wekiva Elementary School in Seminole County, Florida. She received her B.A. from Bluffton College and her M.Ed. at the University of Central Florida. She is also a National Board-Certified Teacher and in 2011, she earned a NASA Endeavor Certificate in STEM Education sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University after being awarded a NASA Fellowship. Julie teaches STEM lessons in a hands-on science lab and is able to work with all students in the school. Julie has been on many district curriculum-writing teams and is currently working on creating a more rigorous plan for Seminole County’s grades 4th and 5th grades. She has developed a long-standing relationship with nearby Wekiwa Springs State Park and has collaborated with the rangers over the years to create some fantastic programming. Robotics Club, Eco-Rangers Club, and Critter Care are just a few of the extra-curricular opportunities that Julie offers to her students. Julie has absolutely loved going to work every day for the past 30 years!