High-quality education in  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is the key to advancing economic development and thriving communities. The second annual Southwest Virginia STEM Summit will again bring together K-20 educators, employers, and advocates in Blacksburg on May 7-8.

“The purpose of the summit is to showcase and celebrate current successful STEM educational innovations and partnerships, continue to forge the types of connections that create and sustain high quality STEM education programs, and generate new ideas to our extant efforts,” said Susan Magliaro, professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and director of VT-STEM.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will give welcoming comments by video, with state Sen. Bill Stanley and Del. Joseph Yost speaking in person, along with Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and Provost Mark McNamee. 

Guest speakers will be Jenifer Corn, Director of Evaluation Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University; Paul Reynolds, co-founder and CEO of FableVision@Boston Children’s Museum; and Megan Healy, assistant vice chancellor for academics at the Virginia Community College System.

Thursday evening’s poster session highlights a range of regional and statewide STEM education partnership programs. Friday’s concurrent sessions include representatives of public schools in Bland, Carroll, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Russell counties, and Salem City, as well as local community colleges, Radford University, and Virginia Tech, and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. Discussions on the emerging Virginia STEM Hub Network, the potential for STEM school designations in Virginia, and the 2015 Virginia Science Festival are also planned for Friday.

Thursday’s poster showcase and keynote will be in Goodwin Hall, Virginia Tech’s signature engineering building. Friday’s speakers and sessions will be held at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg. The cost is $50, which includes a reception, breaks, and lunch. The registration deadline is May 1. Lodging is available at The Inn 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 Magliaro by email or at 540-231-8325.