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Educational Innovator Dr. Eric Mazur will be 2017 STEM Scholar Speaker

30th May 2017

The National STEM Scholar program announced today that Dr. Eric Mazur, internationally sought after speaker and thought leader in education, will be the Mary Nixon Speaker for its 2017 class.  Dr. Mazur will speak June 7th on the campus of Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

An international leader in innovative practices in higher education, Dr. Mazur pioneered peer Instruction, an evidence-based, interactive teaching method he popularized at Harvard in the early 1990s and is now practiced globally across multiple academic disciplines. Peer Instruction is a student-centered approach to teaching that flips the traditional classroom and transfer of information for retention and deeper learning. His teaching methods have garnered a large national and international following.

Dr. Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, the first recipient of the $500,000 Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education, the author of several books and the author or co-author of nearly 300 scientific publications.

Dr. Mazur’s topic, “Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning,” will explore how assessment fails to focus on skills relevant to life in the 21st century. He notes that “Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce meaningful change in education.”

His talk will begin at 6:00pm CDT in the Russell Miller Theatre of the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center on the campus of WKU. This is a free event and open to the public but registration is required as seats are limited. Please register here.

The National STEM Scholar program annually selects 10 middle school science teachers from across the country to participate in a week-long advanced development program. Created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU, the National STEM Scholar program focuses on “training the trainers,” with the long-term goal of inspiring the next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students nationwide.

According to Dr. Paula Grisanti, National Stem Cell Foundation Chairman, “Dr. Mazur’s proven Peer Instruction teaching method has transformed classrooms around the world for decades by using interaction to increase student engagement. His beliefs about interactive teaching, educational technology and assessment tools continue to inspire teachers to rethink their approach to teaching, making him a great fit for the National STEM Scholar program. Our hope is that by giving middle school science teachers the opportunity to learn from him, we can reach hundreds if not thousands of students through their classrooms today and in the future. We also are delighted to open his remarks to the public as we welcome such a world-renowned expert to Kentucky.”

The National STEM Scholars will be hosted by The Gatton Academy at WKU from June 4 – 10, 2017 where they will engage in hands-on, minds-on science activities; connect with speakers and thought leaders in STEM education including Dr. Mazur; learn with skilled science educators and develop a creative Challenge Project for classroom implementation.

The National STEM Scholar program is in its second year of a five-year grant provided by the National Stem Cell Foundation.

About the National Stem Cell Foundation

The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) is a charitable 501(c)3 organization that funds adult stem cell and regenerative medicine research to accelerate treatment options, advocates for patients participating in clinical trials and supports STEM education to inspire the next generation of researchers and scientists nationwide.

 About Gatton Academy

Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is Kentucky’s first state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in advanced math and science careers. One of only 15 such programs in the nation, The Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for eight consecutive years.