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Teachers Awarded IISME Summer Fellowships




Two Sunnyvale School District teachers were students again this summer, gaining experience in the practical applications of the subjects they teach.

Kathleen Keating from Cherry Chase Elementary School and Joe Gabent from Fairwood Elementary School served as interns with local companies for eight weeks through IISME Summer Fellowships. They were selected out of 275 applicants competing for 100 fellowships offered this year by IISME (Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education).

For 31 years, the program has immersed teachers in hands-on internships in host companies and universities and provides support in translating those experiences into exciting and relevant classroom instruction. Teachers experience full immersion in both the culture and environment of an industry setting or university lab.

This summer, 28 organizations including Agilent Technologies, Brocade, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Stanford University, Synopsys, The Tech Museum of Innovation, UC Berkeley and VCE supported 100 teachers.

For 90 percent of the summer, Kathleen and Joe were paired with a scientist, engineer or business leader while engaging in a meaningful project for VCE Company, LLC and The Tech Museum of Innovation, respectively.

“I am so excited to be working alongside “CLOUD” software developers and infrastructure engineers to learn about skills to teach our students so they can be competitive in the 21st Century Global business environment,” Kathleen Keating said.

In her fellowship position this summer, she worked in product marketing learning about big data in a forward thinking organization, VCE.

For the remaining 10 percent of the summer, the teachers’ fellowships were translated into updated curriculum and improved teaching practices. Kathleen and Joe used the experience to create a new lesson, introduce a new technology/lab, or integrate 21st century skills in the classroom.

“I was extremely excited to find out not only that I had been offered a summer teaching fellowship with IISME, but also that I was being offered the fellowship at a host organization that fit in so well with my interests and with the direction I am taking my teaching of Science in the classroom,” said Joe Gabent, who takes his students to the Tech Museum every year. “Through experimentation and play, visitors connect excitement and enthusiasm to these activities, and learn about science and technology in the process. This is exactly what I look forward to being able to bring back to my classroom.”

Since 1985, IISME has awarded 3,512 Summer Fellowships to K-16 teachers from 725 schools and 127 districts in the state. A total of 64 Fellowships have gone to Sunnyvale School District teachers.

“I’m so pleased that we have district teachers engaged with the summer teaching fellowship with IISME because it aligns so well with Sunnyvale School District’s initiative of infusing technology across all content areas,” said Sunnyvale School District Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Picard. “I’m sure what Joe and Kathy learn will end up benefitting our students and their colleagues.”

Kathleen and Joe’s accomplishments were celebrated at the IISME End of Summer Celebration at Synopsys, Inc. in Sunnyvale on Aug. 6.

Contributor Alia Wilson. 

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