Chris Standerford, director of the Northern Michigan University Seaborg Center, will take on an additional role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. He has been named the MiSTEM Network Regional Director for the Central Upper Peninsula. MiSTEM is a statewide educational system that works to improve students’ preparation for an evolving workforce.
MiSTEM has organized mathematics and science centers, intermediate school districts, colleges/universities and other stakeholders throughout the state into 16 regions. Standerford will oversee region 15, which covers Menominee, Marquette, Alger, Delta, Schoolcraft, Dickinson and Iron counties. He will coordinate and oversee the progress of STEM education in the region and work to align efforts with the state’s overall needs and goals. He also will develop and implement the common goals of the region’s stakeholders and ensure their representation.
The MiSTEM Network was developed by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s recommendation to make Michigan a world leader in STEM education.
“As this network evolves, there are talented, hard-working people from around the state coming together to reach a cohesive vision for STEM in Michigan,” said Standerford. “Each of the regional directors bring different experiences to the organization. It's exciting to share what we've been doing through the Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center and the local intermediate school districts with others in Michigan, and to learn from them about their efforts.”
The council identifies four pillars necessary to establish a well-equipped foundation for a statewide STEM educational network: create a STEM culture; empower STEM teachers; integrate business and education; and ensure high quality STEM experiences. Standerford said that a heightened emphasis on STEM education benefits both students and Michigan as a whole.
“Not everyone will want to pursue a STEM career, but everyone should have the opportunity to explore these areas, recognizing their individual talents and how these connect to the arts, career and technical fields, the social sciences and other areas in the K-12 system. As our students explore potential careers, I see the MiSTEM Network as a mechanism to provide students, and Michigan, with this level of equity and a brighter future for all.
“We live in a great state, full of opportunities in a great many areas; manufacturing, technology, agriculture and tourism, just to name a few. Connecting business needs with STEM education initiatives will complement all of that and give Michigan the capacity to be a leader in the nation.”