UCR’s Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Graduate School of Education Dean Thomas M. Smith and mechanical engineering professor Suveen Mathaudu will be attending and presenting panels at the US News STEM Solutions Conference from June 29 to July 1 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

This conference aims to bring leaders in higher education from around the nation together in order to discuss potential ways of how to better prepare students grades K-12 for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and fields.

A movement to encourage STEM education began after students amongst all educational levels were seen to possess difficulties in learning STEM subjects. In addition to promoting education, the movement encourages higher levels of participation by women and students of color to pursue education in STEM fields.

Business executives, talent managers, curriculum administrators, diversity directors and leaders, educators, policymakers and non-profit organizations are encouraged to attend the event.

“This is the first time in the past 5 years…that we’ve had speakers on the program,” commented James Grant, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications. “The conference organizers extended invitations to each individual speaker — we suggested many names to them and they chose the panelists.”

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox will be presenting a panel entitled “The HBCU and HSI Advantage,” which elaborates on why historically black colleges and universities (HBSU) and Hispanic-serving institutions HSI award more than their proportion of bachelor’s degrees to African-American and Hispanic undergraduate students.

Smith expressed plans for enhancing the focus of the education program for STEM subjects. “My interest is getting new ideas for recruiting UCR students in STEM majors to consider going into teaching. I am also interested in ideas about how to improve the STEM emphasis in our teacher education courses, as well as how to support our teachers once they are out in classrooms.”

Smith will also be presenting a panel entitled “Teaching the New Standards: Ramping Up STEM Professional Development.” “In my presentation, I will be showcasing UCRs participation in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and how were are redesigning our teacher education programs so that our students are ready to teach the new math and science standards,” Smith stated.

Mathaudu will deliver a panel called “Enlightening Minds.” The presentation will focus on explaining how people can retrain their minds to think differently when it comes to subjects such as math, and how they can view STEM from a different perspective, including the use of popular culture, such as comic books, to promote interest in those fields.

Wilcox will be speaking on June 29th from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Smith will speak on the 30th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Mathaudu will present on July 1 at 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.