Stressing the vital need for high-quality education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the first Southwest Virginia STEM Summit will bring together educators, employers, and advocates in Blacksburg on May 2.

The aim of the daylong public summit is to identify current programs and partnerships, to create a network among STEM educators, and to enlist partners in new initiatives. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will give welcoming comments by video, with state Sen. Phillip Puckett and Del. Joseph Yost speaking in person.

Guest speaker will be Karen Jackson, Virginia lead for the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and former deputy secretary of technology for the commonwealth and director of the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance.

Keynote addresses will be given by Benjamin Knapp, director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech and professor of computer science; and Rebecca Kruse, evaluation director for the Army Educational Outreach Program Cooperative Agreement, led by Virginia Tech.

Representatives of public schools in Bland, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Smyth counties, local community colleges, Emory & Henry College, and Virginia Tech will take part in a panel to discuss current partnership programs.  

The summit will be at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg. The cost is $50, which includes lunch. The registration deadline is April 25. Lodging is available at the hotel with a special rate for summit participants by calling 540-231-8000.

Details and online registration are available on the summit website. For more information, contact Professor Susan Magliaro, director of the Virginia Tech STEM initiative, by email or at 540-231-8325.