Dr. Kathi Elliott is the Executive Director of Gwen's Girls, a nonprofit focused on girls and young women. Gwen's Girls received professional development and hands-on instructional materials through the Access ASSET program for under-resourced educators. Dr. Elliott believes that professional development is necessary; engineering is everywhere; and design challenges spark meaningful learning for students.
Q: How has professional development informed your teaching and helped advanced learning for your girls?
Elliott: ASSET professional development supports our educators by providing a better understanding of the technology and engineering that surrounds our everyday lives. Professional development sessions break down complicated concepts into easy-to-comprehend formulas. Once our educators understand the content and pedagogy being taught, we can easily facilitate learning with our girls.
Q: What do you like most about the professional development you received/are receiving?
Elliott: What I like most about ASSET’s professional development are the hands-on experiments, informational videos and detailed curriculum.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for your staff/organization to attend professional development?
Elliott: It’s important for our staff to attend professional development because it contributes to our growth as youth educators. The professional development sessions allow us to take a step back and experience engineering aspects of each lesson from a student perspective. Many of us do not come from technology backgrounds and lack knowledge in the engineering field, however, the professional development sessions allow us to jump over that barrier so we can successfully facilitate learning with our girls.
Q: What do the girls find exciting about the engineering experiences/design challenges being learned?
Elliott: Through engineering experiences and design challenges, our girls are noticing that engineering is all around. Many of our girls do not have regular exposure to STEM opportunities, however, Gwen’s Girls hopes that these sessions will help our girls realize that there are many different STEM-related careers to choose from.
For more information about Gwen's Girls, visit their website.
To learn more about the Access ASSET program for under-resourced educators, visit the webpage.