The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, in partnership with Trying Together (formerly Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC)), will host the eighth annual Early Childhood Education Student Affiliate Dinner on Thursday, April 12, in Chambers Hall Gymnasium.
Approximately 200 people are expected to attend this event, which provides the opportunity for professional development and networking to Education majors attending regional colleges and universities as well as to educators from the southwestern Pennsylvania region.
Vickilyn Barnot, PhD, assistant professor of Education and director of the Early Childhood/Elementary Education Program, Wendy Hardy, EdD, associate professor of Early Childhood Education, and Britani Malik Early Childhood Education major are the Pitt-Greensburg chairpersons for the event.
“This is the second annual dinner that Pitt-Greensburg has hosted for Trying Together,” said Wendy Hardy, EdD, associate professor of Early Childhood Education. “The PAEYC organization recently rebranded as Trying Together, and we see this as a great opportunity to bring Education majors and regional educators together for networking as well as to share ideas and experiences. A primary focus of Trying Together is to offer professional development opportunities to its members, and we have structured our event to include opportunities for our guests to see STEM education projects in action.”
The student affiliate dinner is supported in part by the Lulu A. Pool Health and Education Trust, held by First Commonwealth Bank; the Rotary Club of Greensburg, Madeline Nichols Memorial Fund grant; Trying Together (formerly known as Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC); Pitt-Greensburg Chapter of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA); The Pitt-Greensburg Student Government Association (SGA); The Math Learning Center; and Lakeshore.
George M. Davison, creative entrepreneur, technology ambassador, and thought-leader, is the Keynote speaker. His passion for technology and innovation has fueled his career that includes the development of Inventionland, an immersive work environment where his creative team could be inspired and tap into their imaginations as they design products of the future. In 2015, his community outreach expanded to the educational sphere where he developed coursework preparing young innovators with the science, technology, engineering, and math skills necessary to be successful in today’s world. The Inventionland Institute Curriculum has been adopted by schools across the country, helping to inspire the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. Ken Burk, CEO of Inventionland Institute will also speak at the dinner.
NASA Flight Director Ed Van Cise will greet the group via a pre-recorded message filmed in the NASA Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) mission control area.
Five activity tables will feature STEM activities for children of various ages. The activities will be led by five alumni of the Pitt-Greensburg Early Childhood Education Program:
- Science activity designed by Courtney DiBridge, a fourth grade teacher in the Elizabeth Forward School District ;
- Technology activity designed by Madalyn Minahan, a kindergarten teacher in the Greensburg Salem School District;
- Engineering activity designed by Rebecca McHugh, who is enrolled in the Pitt’s master’s of Reading Education program and is a reading intern with the Greensburg Salem School District;
- Mathematics activity designed by Kelsey Campbell, who is enrolled in Pitt’s master’s of Reading Education program and is a Reading Specialist intern with the Greensburg Salem School District; and
- Brushbots activity designed by Jaymee Humbert, who is enrolled in Pitt’s master’s of Reading Education program with an Advanced Reading Specialist Certificate and is a Reading Specialist intern with the Greensburg Salem School District.
“We are proud of our Education program,” said Hardy. “An event like this allows us to involve our students in the programming, decorating, and planning—another great experiential learning experience for them. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight our graduates who are teaching in many of our local school districts.”
Another activity table will feature From Basics to Robots . . . and Everything In Between. This table, under the direction of Daniel Arnold, of Laurel Highlands School District, and Sarah Durzo, of Intermediate Unit 1, and will provide Elementary STEM curriculum and activities for grades kindergarten through five. It will highlight the areas of Physical and Computer Science. Educators will be invited to enter a drawing to win robotics kits for use in their classrooms.
Twenty Girl Scouts in various age ranges (Daisies, Brownies, Cadettes, and Senior Girl Scouts) will be in attendance to participate in the various activity tables. This will allow the educators to see how students react to the concepts. These Girl Scouts represent the best and brightest from Jeannette, Hempfield, and Greensburg Salem School Districts and are part of the Central Westmoreland Service Unit’s Girl Advisory Board. This board provides girl-led governance and feedback to the Service Unit.
Another fun activity will be the opportunity to have one’s photo taken on the moon. L. Todd Brown, PhD, associate professor of Physics, Katrina Brown, PhD, associate professor of Physics, and Bryan Edwards, Pitt-Greensburg Secondary Education alumnus, will oversee a station where attendees can have their photo taken in front of a green screen, which will be used to create a photo of the attendee on the moon. The photos will be emailed to individuals after the event.
In 2010, Pitt-Greensburg received initial program approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to add Instruction I certification programs in Early Childhood Education and Secondary Education to its curriculum. Prior to that, the campus had offered its students a pre-education program. In 2016, Pitt-Greensburg received the PDE’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Endorsement for its Early Childhood Education program. Pitt-Greensburg offers endorsement certificates in the following areas: Biology, Chemistry, English, Gifted, Mathematics 7-12, STEM (PK-12), Social Studies, and Spanish (PK-12).
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 29 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Nursing, Healthcare Management, Public Policy, and Education, as well as 24 minors and five certificate programs. With nearly 1,500 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community.