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Thank you to all who joined us in Baton Rouge for the STEM Consortium Meeting. It was such an incredible event filled with passionate educators and collaborative minds that amplified the importance of science education and research. 

Educators and superintendents from around the country learned from each other through presentations and panels on educational leadership, equity, STEM exploration, pathways, and more!

Day 1:

East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) Superintendent, Dr. Sito Narcisse, presenting to attending educators.

Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President and CEO of JASON Learning introducing presenters and leading off the conference.

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome and Dr. Michael Robinson, Chief Academic Officer (EBRPSS), provided insight and motivation to our attending educators.

Dr. Christopher F. D’Elia, Professor and Dean, College of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University.

Educational leaders learned how to run a Design & Pitch Challenge across grade levels and make it more localized for their community. For more information on how EBRPSS ran the Challenge, visit Two groups of incredible students (pictured below) from East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) developed a winning solution to JASON and NCSU’s Design & Pitch Challenge: Operation Lifeline and shared it with us!

Watch their pitch presentations here: 

Elementary School Operation Lifeline Pitch 

High School Operation Lifeline Pitch 

EBRPSS K-2 Operation Lifeline Winners: Glen Oaks Park Elementary School’s Panthers Geaux STEM: G.O.P.E. Waterproof Insulated Bag.
EBRPSS High School Operation Lifeline Winners: Baton Rouge Magnet High School, reL.E.A.F.: Life Emergency Aid of the Future.

Attendees toured three different research labs in LSU’s College of the Coast and Environment. The tours included information on ecosystem food webs, coastal water pollutants and their effects on the deep ocean, and emergency response and research for chemical and oil spills near shore environments. 

Dr. Michael Polito during his tour explaining ecosystem food webs and how energy moves from plants and plankton at the base of a food web to animals like crabs, shrimp, fish, and marine birds and mammals at the top. 
Dr. Kanchan Maiti and an instrument used in his research lab used to collect samples of ocean sediment to better understand the accumulation of carbon and other contaminants in both water and sediment. 
Dr. Laura Basirico’s lab tour about the environmental impact of oil spills on shore environments. Her research team has participated in the response, data generation, and analytical interpretation of samples pertaining to many chemical and oil spills in US waters. 

Dr. Christopher F. D’Elia, Professor and Dean, College of the Coast and Environment (LSU), presenting on Coastal and Global Environmental Change and its Impact on STEM Education. 

Participants listened to a panel of educational professionals and partook in a Q&A focused on the Future of STEM Education.  

From left to right: Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President and CEO (JASON Learning), Dr. Michael Robinson, Chief Academic Officer (EBRPSS), Dr. Aaron Sinclair, Principal, Eva Legard Center for Coastal and Environmental Studies (EBRPSS), Dr. Matthew Montgomery, Superintendent, Districts 67 & 115 (Lake Forest Public Schools, IL), Dr. Devese Peace-Branch, Science Teacher and JASON National Trainer (Portsmouth Public Schools, VA), Dr. Christopher F. D’Elia, Professor and Dean, College of the Coast and Environment (Louisiana State University), and Dr. Linda Bui, Professor, Environmental Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment (Louisiana State University). 

Day 2:

LSU Center for River Studies is located on the Baton Rouge Water Campus near the banks of the Mississippi River. It houses one of the world’s largest movable bed physical models – the Lower Mississippi River Physical Model. The river model is 10,000 square feet and based on the topography and bathymetry of the Mississippi River Delta covering southeast Louisiana. To learn more about the River Center, visit LSU Center for River Studies

Center for River Studies Tour Guide: Dr. Clint Willson, Director of the Center for River Studies, Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering (LSU)

Participants toured the incredible Center for River Studies at LSU and observed a scale model of the last 190 water miles of the Mississippi River. It allows scientists to model sediment movement and wetland restoration/land loss according to potential changes in the river and silt patterns.

Mr. Ed Toman, Superintendent of Mercer County Public Schools (WV) presenting to attendees on how to Help Students Become Stars with JASON’s Argonaut program. 

Dr. Melissa Stewart, Assistant Superintendent of Indian Hill Exempted Village School District (OH) presenting on the Holistic Impact of STEM Education. 

Dr. David Eshelman, Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education for Stafford County Public Schools (VA) presenting on Stafford’s Transformation with Technology.