Executive Director leading the way in STEM education

Local News

One talented woman in Centre County has made it her mission to make sure today’s youth are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

Christy Shields shows us how she’s leading the way in STEM education.

Walking into the Discovery Space Science Center in State College, you can quickly see it’s a place buzzing with activity. The staff, along with Executive Director Michele Crowl, are making sure kids are having a fun day along with learning.

“You can’t have a bad day, when kids are having a great time on the floor, exploring so…we have a lot of parents that come in and they just follow the kid’s lead,” said Crowl. “So we talk to parents about it and they say my kids are really busy when they are here.”

The Discovery Space Science Center focuses on letting kids of all ages explore science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun way.

“Even at the youngest level, it may not look like science but they are learning a lot more than we even know,” said Crowl. “They are learning how to interact with someone else, or how things move or spin.”

Sandy Jones, a parent who brings her son to visit frequently, agrees.

“Its just part of the whole education curriculum,” said Jones, and she went on to say, “The math, science and reading, they all pretty well tie together and he just has a love and fascination for how things work and trying to figure things out. So the exhibits here really help to develop that curiosity.”

Many kids can find themselves in school thinking science and math classes are hard, but the hands on approach to educating is why Michele Crowl chose this career path.

“For me, science is a way for me to understand my world. I think for a lot of kids it can be that way,” said Crowl. “If they are given opportunities to explore it.”

That’s why Crowl is so passionate about bringing science to children. She has a Ph.D. in Science Education, and is helping guide children into the possibility of careers in STEM fields. There is opportunities with school visits, field trips, and science summer camps for all children to enjoy. Also, one initiative is called STEM Powered, where 5th grade girls get to shadow female scientists in the community.

“By now they know they can be a scientist or an engineer, but they don’t really know what that means,” said Crowl. “Being able to show them specific avenues to show them science or engineering they might consider one day as a career is important to us.”

It’s a place where people like Michele Crowl, are making major strides in setting up our next generation for success.

“All right. Do you want to try and drive it,” she said.

If you would like to visit the Discovery Space you can click here, or head over to https://discoveryspace.org/ for more information. 

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