By Helen Foster
From this past Sunday to Wednesday, a few of our Ann Richards girls had the amazing opportunity to attend the national PLTW summit in Indianapolis. We have been learning about PLTW and the many ways we can apply it this semester, so I thought it would be cool to learn more about this summit and what it’s all about, as well as what our girls’ role was there. I decided to use my connections to get an interview with one of the attendees, Emma Foster, an 11th grader and engineering student. Last year, she and her engineering classmates redesigned an airstream trailer by gutting it and turning it into a functional, Eco-friendly teacher’s lounge.
What was the summit for?
The PLTW summit was created to gather together teachers, school administrators, universities, and corporations dedicated to STEM education. Participants met with PLTW students involved with innovative PLTW programs, learned from PLTW partners, and engaged in professional development.
Who created it?
I’m not quite sure who created it… maybe Vince Bertram (CEO)
Why does it meet in Indianapolis?
The PLTW Headquarters are in Indianapolis, and the JW Marriott Indianapolis has a huge conference center.
What did you do during your time there?
We saw several amazing guest speakers, presented our PLTW program to the over 1,300 attendees, attended a few breakout sessions about the various aspects of PLTW, chatted with teachers and administrators, and explored Indianapolis a bit.
What did you present about?
On the big stage, we presented about Project Ventura and the maker movement we’re starting at our school. At the smaller breakout session, we talked more about our schools’ PLTW program and how to get girls engaged in STEM education and the challenges associated with that.
Did you meet anyone interesting while there?
We met the CEO of PLTW, Vince Bertram and got to talk to him at length. We also got to meet a few PLTW students from around the country, since 4 other high schools were invited. We also met the dean of Missouri S&T and various industry and university professionals.
How do you think others felt about you and the other Ann Richards girls?
We felt kind of like celebrities! After our main stage presentation, people would come up to us and ask “are you the airstream people?” and talk to us about our personal experience with that.
What did you learn about PLTW and it’s community?
I learned that there are a LOT of passionate people dedicated to helping students succeed in STEM education, and also how important PLTW is to closing the education gap and helping the economy as a whole.
The next of these summits takes place in 2016, so if you want to, make it your goal to attend. It’s not an opportunity worth missing. For more information, visit https://www.pltw.org/pltwsummit