Immediately following the closing ceremony of WLTI, on September 25th, I traveled to the headquarters of Deloitte Consulting in Arlington, Va., where I was invited by the STEM Council to participate in a panel discussion on best practices and STEM skills. Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector and Julie Kantor, Chief Partnerships Officer, had attended our NLSC in June and their excitement about SkillsUSA’s work in STEM inspired them to invite us to be a part of the very important meeting. I served on the panel with representatives from Sally Ride Science, Accenture, Mind Research Institute, American Association for University Women and CIO Magazine. SkillsUSA was recognized for our best practices in engaging students in actual application of STEM skills. The response to my presentation was a bit overwhelming (in a very positive way) and I had keen interest from companies like Dow Chemical, CIO Magazine and Qualcomm.
A highlight for me was during the questions and answer session following the panel presentation. The first question came from an audience member from Wisconsin, who asked me if I knew how many SkillsUSA alumni were in the audience. When I asked for any alumni to respond, the same gentleman stood and stated that SkillsUSA had kept him from dropping out of high school in Wisconsin, inspired him to pursue a college degree and he now had a PhD in engineering serving as the chief academic officer for the STEM Academy. I could not have asked for a better testimony.