Jessica Porter is a senior studying early childhood education for grades pre-K-4 and special education for grades K-8 at Edinboro University.
Why did you choose to participate in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program?
Courtesy of my undergraduate classes and field experiences, I have learned the importance and emphasis of STEM in early childhood education. I was eager to learn how to incorporate STEM across the curriculum and develop engaging, hands-on STEM opportunities for my students.
How did you decide which STEM field was right for you?
I am currently a senior at Edinboro University studying early childhood and special education. I decided to add a STEM certification in education to help improve my teaching instruction and ability to help students tap into their natural and innate curiosity of the world.
What is a typical day like in your STEM experience?
A typical day could simply be allowing students to investigate and explore, while encouraging them to ask questions about the real world. STEM can be found across multiple content areas in education, including literacy. The four “Cs” are important in STEM: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. It is vital for students to develop these 21st-century skills throughout their education.
What was the most memorable moment of your STEM program?
I was given the opportunity to present my STEM box to my peers and other professionals at Edinboro’s Academic Festival. A STEM box is a standards-based educational resource that covers multiple content areas while engaging and inspiring students to explore. My STEM box was pumpkin themed and included a wide variety of materials such as stories, gourds, unifex cubes, measuring tape, pumpkins, pumpkin seeds, scales, etc. The activities inside the box ranged from comprehension to measurement. This experience assisted me in discovering my passion for STEM and my love of education.
What advice do you have for teens looking at STEM degrees and/or career paths?
Research all of the different opportunities available and once you find something that sparks your interest or passion, then go for it. STEM is broad and there is something for everyone, what ties it all together is the focus on creating new knowledge, solving problems, and learning about the world around us. Awesome stuff.