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Livingstone, Isenberg sign STEM agreement

by Dr. State Alexander

Livingstone News Service

SALISBURY — Isenberg Elementary School and Livingstone College have entered into a partnership to help students succeed in the future.

Studies have shown that the number of jobs now available in the United States is directly tied to new achievements in science and engineering. Education leaders believe there are not enough new people entering these fields and not enough people in America creating the kinds of technological advances that will create new job opportunities from science and engineering in the future.

Job growth, they say, depends on the nation’s ability to graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. What appears most alarming to educators is that America is ahead of some poorer nations in STEM and its job creating advances, but is behind most of the more developed nations in the world in these fields.

That is exactly why Isenberg Elementary School Principal Marvin Moore and Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins decided to do what they could to turn this STEM story into one with a better outcome for the community and nation.

To do that, the two education leaders agree, exposure to science, math, technology and engineering should begin as early as kindergarten. It is a good idea, they said, to ready young students with a love for the knowledge in these fields. Minority students too often think lessons in math and science are too hard for them to learn.

The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding recently which will allow the schools to collaborate in partnership on science, technology, engineering and mathematics with their students.

“I don’t want our students to be just consumers of technology,” said Moore. “Somebody created Facebook. Why can’t one or some of our students do the same thing? We’ve advanced our technology. Consider the old phone installed to a wall in the house to new telephones reinvented to carry with you everywhere. Engineering is developing new ideas, planning it out, creating a model, testing it and improving what you’ve dreamed.

“Math is all around us, so we need to help our students see possibilities and be given an opportunity to grow things, even to fail and improve a product.”

Those concepts are why he asked Jenkins for a partnership with Livingstone to help make students at Isenberg college-ready — not just for Livingstone, but anywhere they may want to go.

“It could be Carolina, Duke, wherever, and they must ingrain that option from kindergarten. Students have to see where they want to go. School children can learn of their option to go to college from other college students, and that is where students from Livingstone College come into the picture,” Moore explained.

Moore, speaking to a large group of Livingstone students at the signing event, encouraged them to give back to the community by volunteering to help a young person succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We don’t want them to be just consumers of technology but creators and producers of technology as well.” he said.

STEM education is best embraced when introduced as a primary focus early in the learning process.

Livingstone College has produced a long line of scientists and doctors. Solomon Carter Fuller graduated from Livingstone and completed his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. Fuller’s contribution to the medical field was his clinical knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease. Fuller completed his post-graduate study at the University of Munich and at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital in Munich, Germany. The Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center in Boston is named in honor of his important work.

Dr. James Gavin, another Livingstone College graduate, earned a Ph. D. in medical research and a medical degree from Duke University. Gavin is internationally renowned in the field of juvenile diabetes.

“We desire that our students in the STEM fields are successful. This collaboration with Isenberg Elementary School will benefit students from the college and the elementary school,” said Dr. Jenkins. “Historically, experts in science, and the medical field in particular are in the DNA at Livingstone College.”

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