Debbi Stone, Vice President of Education at The Florida Aquarium (FLAQ), was accepted as one of 22 fellows in the inaugural class of LEAD STEM, a new national leadership development experience designed to empower and arm individuals with high level skills to shape the future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education in the U.S.
Fellows met in person for the first time this month in Kansas City, Missouri as part of the STEM Learning Ecosystems National Community of Practice Convening.
“I am honored that I was named a LEAD STEM Fellow,” Stone said. “STEM is so important for our youth, and at The Florida Aquarium, we strive to educate our community and beyond in fun and engaging ways. I look forward to working with this dynamic group and learning how to better teach and engage people in STEM learning, and hopefully, inspire them to be better stewards of the environment.”
FLAQ has a history of providing relevant and timely educational programming reaching audiences of all ages and backgrounds, including underserved youth.
“We believe that everyone should have the ability to learn about STEM, and we’re grateful we are able to reach children who may not otherwise have a chance to learn STEM through hands-on, fun ways,” Stone said.
By partnering with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and many other organizations throughout Tampa Bay, a dynamic STEM hub is growing. FLAQ is poised to continue to answer the call to bring STEM to diverse audiences while also focusing on workforce development for future STEM jobs in the Tampa region.
Representing leaders and emerging leaders in corporate, education, museums and STEM-rich organizations from 19 regions, LEAD STEM fellows have agreed to invest the next nine months in intensive training and education on a variety of topics including policy change, fundraising, sustainability, relationship building and leadership.
Debbi joins HCPS Director of STEM Larry Plank as a Fellow, with the Tampa Bay STEM Network one of only two national ecosystems chosen to have two Fellows based on the strength of the region and its potential.
The Samueli Foundation is the lead funder for this program and provides these development opportunities to fellows to provide growth opportunities that are much needed in the STEM community.
“In order to be competitive and world leaders in STEM, we need to develop trail blazers who can challenge the status quo and have the respect and influence to affect change,” said Gerald Solomon, executive director of Samueli Foundation and co-founder of STEM Learning Ecosystems.