Summit sessions

Find the STEM solutions you need

The sessions at the Ohio STEM Innovation Summit tackle the most pressing questions in STEM education today.

The Ohio STEM Learning Network is proud to offer this preview of many of the 24 sessions coming to the summit. This curated slate of presentations brings together some of Ohio’s top STEM educators. 

From large urban districts to rural STEM schools, national teaching fellows to non-profits, there’s something for everyone at this year’s event.

Tickets for the Ohio STEM Innovation Summit are limited and going fast. Register today to ensure you can participate in this can’t-miss event.

Sessions by conference track

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Track 1: Culture

It Starts with a Seed: Growing a STEM Initiative

This interactive session will engage participants in the process of creating and building a shared vision for STEM in their classroom/building/district. Elements that will be discussed include: incorporating the arts, curating resources using a lending library and addressing educator fears. Examples of how to launch STEM into all grade levels and subject areas will also be shared.

  • Leah Blaze, Coordinator of Instructional Technology for North Olmsted City School District
  • Josh Chrosniak, Art Teacher for North Olmsted City School District/ Chestnut Elementary School
  • Lauren Barr, 4th Grade Teacher, North Olmsted City School District, Pine Intermediate School

Session ID: 31


PBL Lab Sites: Support Teachers to Shift Instructional Practices

How do you take an idea and create actionable and sustainable change? Lab site classrooms can help bring a vision to life by developing job-embedded learning for an entire staff! Learn how lab sites can support your teachers in shifting their instructional practices to make learning more authentic, student led, and engaging through PBL.

  • Elizabeth Ruebusch, Innovative Teaching & Learning Coach for Indian Hill Primary School
  • Erin Owens, Principal for Indian Hill Primary School
  • Andy Gruber; Assistant Principal for Indian Hill Primary School

Session ID: 39


Purposefully Creating an Inclusive School Culture

In this session we will discuss strategies for building an inclusive school culture where all students feel a sense of belonging. We will discuss both school-wide practices and individual classroom strategies for developing this sense of belonging.

  • Benjamin Graber, Freshman Seminar (CBI) and Mathematics Educator for NIHF STEM High School – Akron Public Schools
  • Marvin Grandison, School Counselor for NIHF STEM High School – Akron Public Schools
  • Angela Hammelman, Mathematics Teacher for NIHF STEM High School – Akron Public Schools

Session ID: 38


Implementing Green Approaches for a Sustainable Future

Sustainability is holistic, so shouldn’t our education system be, too? In this session, you will learn about how we are bringing education for sustainability to Ohio and using it to build authentic and experiential environmental programs. You will gain implementation and fundamental learning strategies for student growth through environmental education. See how engaging students in climate conversations and practices can better prepare young adults to have climate resilient practices embedded into their lives. Our presentation will champion student and educator stewardship by engaging the community into thought provoking conversations and practices around sustainability.

  • Jessa Goldner, Student Experience Instructor for PAST Foundation

Session ID: 5

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Track 2: Underrepresented in STEM

STEM for All: Bringing STEM Education to Students with Disabilities

How can we create accessible STEM education programs that include all students, especially those with behavioral, intellectual, or mental health barriers? In this session, participants will see real-life examples of how project-based STEM learning can be used as a primary instructional tool to increase test scores, improved behavior, and increased academic and social engagement for all students. See how implementing project-based learning strategies in your classroom can create an equitable learning environment for all.

  • Allison Shardell, Intervention Specialist for Par Excellence Academy

Session ID: 58


How to increase participation in Computing and other STEM fields

Join us to play, learn, and connect in a STEM community! Participants will learn ways to engage students, raise awareness, and connect with others, to broaden the participation of girls, women, and other underrepresented populations in computing and other STEM fields.
This session will draw on participant input and resources provided in NCWIT’s free AspireIT Toolkit to create engaging inclusive learning experiences. Learn how to use near-peer mentorship to encourage active authentic engagement and increased learning.

  • Meg Draeger, STEMM Program Coordinator for Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School
  • Eva Bradshaw, Regional Affiliate Program Manager for NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology)

Session ID: 26


Urban Girls Can STEM

Educators of all levels will learn how to create equitable STEM opportunities for African American girls. In addition, suggestions will be given on how ensure that African American girls sustain an interest in STEM, allowing this underrepresented group to pursue STEM related majors and careers.

  • Carla Neely, Educator/STEM Legislative Fellow for Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow

Session ID: 17


Zero Barriers in STEM: Making STEM Accessible to Students with Disabilities

Picture in your mind an engineer, a biologist, and a computer programmer. Did that person use a wheelchair, have a learning disability, or communicate through ASL? No? That’s because there is a lack of representation of individuals with disabilities in STEM fields. As Ohio’s STEM workforce continues to grow, we must address these gaps through inclusive STEM practices in our K-12 schools. Inclusive practices will also us to build a pipeline of highly qualified STEM-prepared graduates, that better reflects the diversity of our state, with a focus on individuals with disabilities. We believe that by providing STEM educators specific guidance to make STEM more accessible, we will see an increase in the representation of individuals with disabilities in the Ohio STEM workforce. But, our work is just beginning. Will you join us?

  • Allison McMannis (representing HMSE Team, Smithsonian, and ODE), Principal for Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary School
  • Cynthia Madanski (Representing Hawkins Team), Instructional Coach for Hawkins STEMM Academy
  • Denise Taylor; Teacher for Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary
  • Monica Cornell, Teacher for Hawkins STEMM Academy
  • Dr. Yujia Ding, Mentor for Smithsonian Science Education Center
  • Janna Mino, STEM Education Program Specialist for Ohio Department of Education

Session ID:28

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Track 3: Innovative Teaching & Learning

Give them a V.O.I.C.E.!   Personalizing STEM learning experiences

Join us to learn how we provide 1400 students in grades K-6 with the opportunity to choose their own area of study and follow their passions. Our innovative structure, V.O.I.C.E. (Variety of Individualized Choices in Education), allows our students to select their own learning experiences in environmental science, project marketing, podcasting, culinary science, and many more areas. A small-town district with a 98% poverty rate, we work closely with a wide array of community partners to provide unique, small-group experiences to all of our students. We will furnish you with everything from schedules, partnership ideas, examples of student applications, and ideas for the first steps you’ll need to implement a similar system in your district.

  • Dana Letts, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Chillicothe City School District
  • Heather Tarlton, STEM Facilitator for Chillicothe City School District

Session ID: 19


Incorporating STEM and ELA practices in Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms

This interactive session will focus on best practices for early literary skills using a STEM based design cycle. Participants will engage in the design cycle process and an inquiry activity while brainstorming ways to incorporate English Language Arts into the lesson. This session will utilize a text from the Good Night Little… Series, a collaborative set of books and activities codesigned and developed by The PAST Foundation and Ad Astra Media, LLC.

  • Alyssa Reder, STEM Program Coordinator for PAST Foundation
  • Mandy McCormick Smith, Director of Research for PAST Foundation

Session ID: 49


Let the bodies hit the floor: Integrating classic texts with science

Ever struggle to think of ways to make classic texts relevant? Or to use grade-appropriate examples in science class to make the topic more relevant? In this session, you’ll learn how English Language Arts and science courses can integrate in authentic ways using classic texts like Medea, Hamlet, and The Crucible. The session will focus on Anatomy and Physiology, but the presented strategies can also be applied to other classes like Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Sociology. Almost any text — particularly those included in the literary canon — will work, especially if there’s murder involved!

  • Jenna Bates, Teacher for Bio-Med Science Academy
  • Shana Varner, Teacher for Bio-Med Science Academy

Session ID: 51


Unlock the Learner-Led Classroom: Self Organized Learning Environments

Participants will be immersed in the process of Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE). Unlike the time required to frontload and execute PBL, SOLE sessions centered around curated BIG questions are quickly planned and delivered within a class period. We begin by asking attendees to “suspend their disbelief” and participate from a learner perspective. We will then take time to understand the research developed by Sugata Mitra who won the million dollar TED prize for his talk. Finally, we will engage with the @Startsole platform (free to all) to look at the many resources available to educators that make SOLE sessions easy to create and facilitate. Attendees will leave with an actionable resource they can immediately integrate into their classrooms and schools.

  • Sam Crews, Ohio STEM Learning Network Manager, Akron Hub for Akron Public Schools (NIHF STEM)
  • Jeff McClellen, Founder, Startsole for Startsole

Session ID: 46


Using Claim Evidence Reason to Implement Higher Level Thinking Skills in STEM

This session will focus on how to use the Claim Evidence Reason instructional strategy as a tool to guide inquiry in all classrooms. Participants will learn what the CER strategy is and how they can begin to introduce it in their classroom in a scaffolded approach. Participants will be actively engaged with a variety of other highly effective instructional strategies and will explore how these can also be used to support teaching through an inquiry lens. Teachers who are new to a STEM classroom or use of the design process will benefit from this session. Coaches and mentors may benefit from refresher training of CER and its practice across all content areas and the benefit it can provide to students of all abilities to grow STEM application with authenticity.

  • Monique Binkley, Lead Teacher & Biology Coach for Akron NIHF STEM High School
  • Katie Lovell, Instructional Specialist for Akron NIHF STEM High School

Session ID: 32

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Track 4: Computer Science & Computational Thinking

Coding Across the Curriculum: 4 Components of Computational Thinking

In this session, participants will learn strategies for including Computational Thinking and coding across the curriculum. This session will explain the 4 components of Computational Thinking and will provide participants opportunities to brainstorm what these components look like in their content areas. Examples of teaching 6th and 7th grade students to code in HTML and CSS will also be provided. Finally, participants will see cross-curricular projects that include computational thinking and computer science (using Alice 3.7, HTML/CSS and Python) that can be used in any content area.

  • Catie Kovar, Digital Explorations teacher for The Dayton Regional STEM School
  • Pat Murakami, STEM Explorations teacher for The Dayton Regional STEM School

Session ID: 59


Debug! Plugging Computer Science into the Curriculum

You mean coding can be taught by ANYONE, and in ALL SUBJECTS?! WHAT?! Learn how to incorporate a variety of resources such as plugged (online) and unplugged (hands-on) activities that can support you in integrating computer science into the curriculum with your K-5 students. Empower your students to learn computational thinking, logic, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and see what they can do!

  • Christine Danhoff, Technology Integration Specialist for North Point ESC
  • Shannon Gregg, District Elementary Instructional Mathematics Coach for Akron Public Schools

Session ID: 52


NASA STEM: Computational Thinking – Design an Artemis Crew Module

 NASA’s Artemis program will return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972, the year of the agency’s last Apollo moon landing. In this session, participants will not only be receiving resources, but will be participating in an interactive activity. The free NASA STEM lesson plans introduce the practice of computational thinking and include elements of a real NASA mission. An Educator Guide provides four standards-aligned activities to help students learn about NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts to the Moon and beyond. Along with these resources, participants will design and build a crew module model that will secure two 2-cm astronaut figures during a drop test. The session’s PowerPoint presentation will be available to all participants and will include videos, activities, tips, and pointers.

  • Susan Kohler, NASA Professional Development Education Specialist for NASA Glenn Research Center

Session ID: 55

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Track 5: STEM Careers

How Do We Create a Fun and Meaningful Work Based Learning Program?

Attendees will be able to take with them information and resources in order to create and/or sustain a successful program for experiential learning opportunities. (Job shadow opportunities; tours; and internships both paid, and unpaid.)

Discussion will take place about the following:

  • How to approach businesses
  • Preparation of students to participate with good professional skills
  • Presentations,etc.
  • Involving community business partners with STEM activities.
  • Evaluations
  • Tammy Cooper, Internship Coordinator for MARYSVILLE Early College / STEM High School

Session ID: 44


STEM Career Outreach with Elementary Students

Interested in learning more about STEM career outreach for elementary students? We will discuss best-practices to engage elementary students, such as: hosting hands-on coding activities and drone demonstrations for K – 6th graders, strategies for effective collaboration between schools and employers, and insights on emerging transportation technologies, including drones, and self-driving/electric vehicles. Join us to learn more about how you can effectively engage elementary students with STEM career outreach opportunities!

  • Stacy Callahan, Licensed Professional School Counselor for Columbus City Schools, Avalon Elementary School
  • Rich Granger, Managing Director, Workforce and Economic Development for DriveOhio

Session ID: 7



Additional session to be detailed later

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Track 6: Community & Industry Partnerships

Building Community Collaboration and Partnerships

Our session will focus on various ways schools, teachers, and district level leaders can create valuable and sustainable partnerships to support authentic learning activities within school districts, buildings and classrooms. This interactive session will give participants the opportunity to explore, discuss and collect various digital resources to help brainstorm partners within their own communities.

  • Jamison Truebenbach, Chief Academic Officer for Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Rachel Sanders, Bioscience Instructor and FFA Advisor for Global Impact STEM Academy

Session ID: 41

Connecting Industry with Education

During the 2021-2022 school year, the PAST Foundation and Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary School collaborated with Bath & Body Works, Inc. to provide a unique STEM experience to fourth grade students. The Science of Fragrance is a STEM program focused on engaging students in the science behind creating the fragrant products of Bath & Body Works, Inc. while simultaneously encouraging STEM identity through the exposure to various STEM careers. During this session, we will explore how the PAST Foundation and Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary School were able to engage an industry partner to provide robust STEM programming for elementary school students. Participants will also have an opportunity to brainstorm and discuss potential partnerships within their schools/districts.

  • Alyssa Reder, STEM Program Coordinator for The PAST Foundation
  • Allison McMannis, Principal for Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary, Reynoldsburg City Schools

Session ID: 37

Creating a School Wide Design Challenge

In this session, educators will learn how to engage in a community centered, whole school design challenge using our ECHS STEM Solutions as a model.

  • Jennifer Hinderer, Principal for Marysville Early College High School
  • Brooke Young, Teacher for Marysville Early College High School
  • Catherine Boylan, Teacher for Marysville Early College High School

Session ID: 33

Little Learners, Big Ideas

Do you struggle with community partnerships? Are you a teacher at the primary level, or a school leader of/support staff for primary-level students, looking to foster meaningful partnerships with a focus on STEM mindsets? This is the session for you! Come and learn ways you can seek a best-suited partner, ideas for developing the relationship via learning experiences with that partner, and how to sustain that partnership. I will showcase what has worked for me and my little learners, what has not worked, and how we grew from those missteps. You will also sample a reciprocated learning experience to spark your own ideas of how to establish your own partnership.

Kimberly Vacanti, PreK Teacher for Incarnate Word Academy

Session ID: 4

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