Gilbride advocates STEM education

By Cameron Pettrone

Staff writer

NASA Fellow and STEM advocate Jane Robinson Gilbride, ’80, visited campus on Thursday to discuss her views on education and the importance of science.

Gilbride, who is this year’s Leader in Residence and an earth science teacher, stressed the importance of passion, purpose and opportunity.

According to her, it is critical for students to get into a career that they care about, but also be open to other fields.

She used herself as an example of this, explaining how it took a while and a few jobs for her to get where she really wanted to be.

“Passions surface when opportunity comes to you,” she said.

Gilbride also described how many of her students were able to identify and follow their passions due to what they were taught. For example, one student in particular went on to pursue meteorology due to her educational experience; it helped push her in the right direction.

For this reason, Gilbride reminded the audience that it is important to always remember our childhood passions.

Another point that Gilbride brought up in her talk was how it is much harder for young students nowadays to really get into science due to the amount of “noise” in our society.

She argued that, in the past, there were less distractions for children. Today, things such as social media get in the way of students finding their purpose or getting interested in the sciences.

Gilbride said that STEM science is a very important thing for students to be taught and exposed to.

“Today’s youth need STEM,” she said.

“STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering and math; very important fields in our society. The process of schools exposing children to it is in the hopes that they will develop a passion and pursue it, she said.

Luckily, Gilbride believes that STEM science is easily accessible.

“You don’t need to be a scientist to bring STEM to society,” she said.

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