Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D., a journalist and scientist with a passion for inspiring the next generation of STEM learners, will be the keynote speaker for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Student Research Weeks, which run from April 10 to April 25.
Ramirez’s lecture, “STEM: How It Got Here and Where It Needs To Go,” will be held on April 18, from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., in the Student Commons Theater, 907 Floyd Ave.
Ramirez is author of “Save Our Science,” which is based on her TED talk about the importance of STEM education, and co-author of “Newton’s Football: The Science behind America’s Game.”
During her visit to VCU, Ramirez will take attendees through a brief history of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and discuss the connection between how lessons were taught in the past and the technology of the day. She will talk about the needs of the 21st century, which requires a new kind of learner — a student who can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully, versus one who can simply churn out answers by rote.
In order to solve the complex problems of tomorrow, the traditional academic skills of the three “Rs” – “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” – must be exchanged with a new emphasis on creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, according to Ramirez. These are skills inherent in scientific research. Ramirez will make a case for a recommitment to improving schools, and she will propose a plan to increase every child’s participation in STEM.
Ramirez is a former associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University. Prior to that she was a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories, where she developed a universal solder (a reactive solder that bonds to glass) for which she was awarded MIT Technology Review’s TR100 award in 2003. You can find her work at Material Marvels and Science Xplained. Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.).
The lecture is co-sponsored by the STS Program, the VCU Office of the Provost, the VCU School of Education and the VCU School of Engineering.
VCU Student Research Weeks bring together undergraduate and graduate students from across disciplines to celebrate research and creative and scholarly projects. The event, which has grown in size and participation in the past four years, is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present overviews of their current projects, theses or dissertations.
These projects span many academic disciplines, including interdisciplinary studies, the College of Humanities and Sciences and the schools of allied health professions, arts, business, education, engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work. Students will be available to demonstrate and discuss their projects.
For more information about this event, contact Karen Rader at (804) 828-9642.
For a complete schedule of VCU Student Research Weeks events visit http://www.research.vcu.edu/ugresources/research-week_2014.htm.