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Expert: exposing students early to STEM education inspires discovery and innovation in the future

April 17, 2017

Students programming in the Thinkabit lab

As advocates rally for science this week in Washington, D.C., an expert says exposing students early to STEM-focused learning will inspire future generations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Jim Egenrieder, director of the Thinkabit Lab at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center, offers both teachers and students an engaging learning environment — part lab, makerspace, and innovative classroom — to foster creativity, collaboration, and the critical skills necessary for the 21st century.

Quoting Egenrieder

“STEM is not simply a collection of subjects; instead it's a collection of skills and habits of mind. STEM-focused learning helps students recognize the all-important intersections of logic and discovery, design processes, innovative technologies, data collection and analysis, and computational thinking,” says Egenrieder. “Integrating these concepts into the classroom supports creativity, collaboration and the skills necessary for future business and social entrepreneurs.”

Virginia Tech and Qualcomm Inc. launched the Thinkabit Lab in September 2016 to offer both teachers and students an engaging learning environment -- part lab, makerspace, and classroom -- to foster creativity, collaboration, and the critical skills necessary for young people to succeed in STEM careers. The Thinkabit Lab, led by Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering and School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is based on Qualcomm’s World of Work and STEM coursework.

The National Capital Region lab is Qualcomm’s first outside of San Diego, servicing underserved students, students underrepresented in STEM careers, and teachers from the metro Washington, D.C. area. For some students, the Thinkabit Lab experience offers a first introduction to hands-on STEM learning and real-world careers.

About Egenrieder
Jim Egenrieder is the director of Virginia Tech’s Thinkabit Lab at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center. He creates, develops, and facilitates programs for STEM education and workforce initiatives by building partnerships and engaging regional school systems, institutions of higher education, non-profits, local governments and industry partners. View his full bio here.

Interview

To tour the Thinkabit Lab or secure an interview with Egenrieder, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 571-858-3262.

 

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