Leaders of STEM-EC, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Coalition of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, liked what they saw when they visited the Cherry Creek Schools Institute of Science & Technology on Oct. 3.
“It’s really fantastic,” said STEM-EC member Rich Liner, founder and board member of KidsTek, a K-12 technology education group. “Every detail has been thought out to showcase STEM education. It’s just a great facility.”
STEM-EC members toured the Institute, which features an aviation lab complete with flight simulators, lines of latitude and longitude on the floors, galaxies of stars on the ceilings, and windows that represent Fibonacci’s numerical sequence.
They also heard from Richard Charles, Director of STEM Education for Cherry Creek Schools, about the Institute’s rich STEM curriculum, which includes five “career concentrations” which are similar to majors in college. They are:
• Health sciences
• Computer Science and Applied Mathematics
• Natural Resources and Energy
• Arts and Technical Communications
• Engineering and Technical Sciences
STEM-EC member Peter Dinneen of DeVry University was impressed by what he saw and heard. “It was executed brilliantly by an exceptionally engaged staff,” said Dinneen, who believes the Institute will help keep students interested in science and math, and encourage them to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields, where the demand for qualified employees is great.
STEM-EC was formed in 2006 under the guidance of Chamber President John Brackney to address the fact that Colorado’s high tech industries face a growing shortage of qualified employees.
“The collaborative work of the STEM-EC group created valuable partnerships and provided accurate information about business and industry needs,” said Wendy DeBell, School-Community Partnership Coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools.
The Institute of Science & Technology was approved by Cherry Creek voters in 2008 and opened in August 2011. The $18 million, 58,000 square foot facility is located on the Overland High School-Prairie Middle School campus.