SciTEC partners with other groups, institutions to boost state’s STEM ecosystem

Louisiana Tech University’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) in the College of Education recently announced plans to establish the STEM Collective for Innovative Louisiana Stakeholders (SCILS) Center.

The Center, established in partnership with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) stakeholders along the Interstate-20 corridor, will serve Louisiana’s Region 8 from Caddo Parish to East Carroll Parish as a member of the Louisiana Regional STEM Network.

“The development of Louisiana’s regional STEM centers will help us in building a robust STEM ecosystem across our state,” said Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education. “By bringing together regional partners around a common goal of innovation combined with stronger STEM education to employment pathways, great things are ahead for our students and our state. Louisiana Tech is stepping forward to lead in this area.”

Some of the key partners in the SCILS Center’s work will be Bossier Parish Community College, Caddo Parish Schools, Centenary College, CYBER.org, Delta Community College, Grambling State University, Morehouse Parish Schools, North Louisiana Economic Partnership, and University of Louisiana-Monroe.

“Louisiana Tech will continue to develop the STEM pipeline in our region – and ultimately our state,” said Dr. Les Guice, President of Louisiana Tech University. “Our work to create partnerships will help draw businesses to our region because of a rich and deep pool of talent that will benefit future industry.”

“Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) is proud to support STEM initiatives,” said Sandra Harvey, BPCC Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovative Learning. “We are confident that our partnership with the other member institutions will meet a spectrum of STEM needs in our region.”

Future STEM educators and professionals will benefit greatly from the partnerships created through the SCILS Center, GSU Chemistry professor Dr. Danny Hubbard said.

“We are very excited to be a member institution that supports the STEM initiatives in Louisiana and Region 8 in particular,” Hubbard said. “We are ready to share our expert knowledge and training to educate future STEM professionals.”

The STEM Network will be a system of STEM leadership entities strategically positioned across Louisiana, similar to the Regional Labor Market Areas (RLMAs) identified by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, whereby communities, parishes, multi-parish regions and the state can achieve improved STEM education, opportunity, and advancement.

“ULM is proud to partner and strengthen STEM resources in northern Louisiana,” said Dr. Anne Case Hanks, Professor of Atmospheric Science.

As the state innovates, said Ryan Pierce, Division Chair of Business and Technology at Louisiana Delta Community College, educational partnerships will be essential to STEM success.

“It starts in small groups, then spreads to larger collectives in the spirit of advancing our regional economies and the prosperity of our beloved state,” Pierce said. “Investment in human capital is key to this initiative with ties to workforce partnerships at the epicenter.”

The SCILS Center was proposed in response to the mission of the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Advisory Council (LaSTEM):

·      to create, deliver, and promote STEM education programs

·      to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM

·      to ensure the alignment of education, economic development, industry, and workforce needs

·      to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential

“Developing Regional STEM Centers is the next step in our strategy to ensure that each part of our state has an educational system that is creating the high-wage, high-demand STEM skills that the businesses in that community need and that our citizens deserve, said Sen. Sharon Hewitt, LaSTEM Co-chair “I want Louisiana jobs to be filled by Louisiana workers, and it starts with strong math and science skills in K-16 in a technology-rich environment that makes learning fun and meaningful. The new Regional STEM Directors and their Centers will be critical to the success of our mission.”