Alcoa Foundation and ASSET STEM Education Partner to Inspire Future Climate Leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, January 8, 2019 – ASSET STEM Education (ASSET), a national provider of professional development and hands-on materials in STEM, announced it will kick off a new course that will empower local middle school science teachers to develop and inspire future climate leaders. The course, titled “Climate Leadership: From Classroom to Community” will be offered to educators at no cost, thanks to generous grant funding from Alcoa Foundation.

The purpose of the course is to provide educators with the strategies, skills and equipment needed to empower students to think like environmental scientists and understand matters that may impact them – including air quality and climate change. Throughout the course, participants will complete two and a half days of in-person professional development. Using the Nature of Science lens, the participants will explore air quality using monitors and sensors which will be used as a tool for data collection and analysis.

“This topic is an important one in our community,” said program lead, Stephanie Rakowski – Senior Professional Development Specialist at ASSET. “Our region’s air quality is among the worst in the nation. Through this program, educators can introduce the Nature of Science process to students to better understand, analyze and act upon these real-life issues and positively impact the world we live in.”

The course provides a framework for students to identify and think through real world issues. ASSET will draw on recommendations from education research as well as previous experience with topics of local interest.

“We believe this new program will inspire a future generation of environmental scientists, who will lead the way in solving complex problems in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Cynthia Pulkowski, Executive Director at ASSET. “We are so grateful to Alcoa Foundation for its support of this program and commitment to the future of STEM education in our community.”

School-based teams of two middle grade (6-8) science teachers from Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland and Washington counties are invited to apply to participate. The program will include two full day sessions on January 24 and 25, 2019 and a half day session on May 20, 2019 at the Bayer Professional Development Academy – ASSET STEM Education Southside Office.

Visit to learn more and sign up.

About ASSET STEM Education

Founded in 1994 by the Bayer Corporation and a coalition of community partners, ASSET STEM Education has grown from a local education improvement nonprofit to a national leader in science, technology, engineering and math education. The organization provides more than 100 different professional development courses to more than 2,600 educators annually. ASSET also equips classrooms and educational programs with hands-on, minds-on STEM materials. Each year, these activities improved quality of STEM education for more than 69,000 learners. ASSET’s holistic approach to STEM education fosters youth interest, engagement and achievement in other subjects as well, including reading. For more information, visit