Tuesday, January 6, 2009

UCF Panel to Tackle Challenges in Science, Technology and Math Education

ORLANDO, Jan. 6, 2008 -- Teaching kids the value of math and science can be tricky. But tomorrow's business leaders and educators will need a strong grasp on these subjects to tackle some of the world's biggest problems.

That's why the University of Central Florida will host its first public briefing on Friday, Jan. 9, on the challenges of science, technology and math education from kindergarten through college. The briefing aims to merge ideas from the academic, political and business communities, which will need to work together to achieve the best results for kids and the nation.

Former Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Norm Augustine will headline the expert panel, which also will feature UCF professors Lisa Dieker of the College of Education and Michael Georgiopoulos of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Other panelists will include Ron Abbott, executive vice president of Lockheed Missiles and Fire Control; J. Greg Hanson, a 1987 UCF graduate who was the first chief information officer for the U.S. Senate; and Jim Clamons, a vice president with Harris Corp.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union on UCF's main campus. The program will begin with refreshments at 8:30 a.m.

After an introduction by UCF President John Hitt at 9 a.m., Augustine will speak about "America's Economic and Competitive Challenges" and how they relate to science, technology, engineering and math education. Augustine then will join the other panelists in a discussion that will cover topics such as how schools can better prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math, known as the STEM fields. The panel also will discuss some of the challenges that industries face in recruiting applicants who are well prepared in the STEM fields.

Augustine is chairman and CEO emeritus of Lockheed Martin. He served as assistant secretary, under secretary and acting secretary of the U.S. Army in the early to mid-1970s before joining what was then the Martin Marietta Corp. in 1977. He was Martin Marietta's chairman and CEO from the late 1980s through 1995, when he became president of the newly created Lockheed Martin Corp. After retiring in 1997, he joined the faculty of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The briefing, sponsored by Bright House Networks, continues UCF's emphasis on helping students become interested in and succeed in STEM fields. UCF offers a two-year program known as EXCEL that aims to help incoming freshmen increase their success in science and math classes by creating connections with other students, faculty and disciplines. Funded by the National Science Foundation, EXCEL offers small, specialized classes, special advising days, an on-campus housing block and more.

Many UCF faculty members and students visit local schools to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and UCF also hosts several youth camps that aim to achieve the same goal.

For more information on the briefing, call 407-823-2156.

-- UCF --

Contact: Chad Binette, UCF News and Information, 407-823-6312, cbinette@mail.ucf.edu

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 6th largest in the nation with more than 50,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

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