Family Engagement in Pk-12 Engineering Education

Studies have shown that parents have a powerful influence on students’ success in STEM and future careers. Parents and guardians can be advocates and support their child’s engagement in engineering activities if they are given some tools and encouragement. Whether you work with kids in the classroom, an afterschool club, or a community program you can empower families. You can offer hands-on experiences with engineering, send home supplies and activities to try as a family, and share accessible opportunities to explore engineering in the community. Join Linda Kekelis of STEM Next Opportunity Fund and Tara Chklovski of Iridescent to learn about ways to engage families in their children’s STEM experiences.

This conversation was recorded on November 1, 2018.

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Linda KDr. Linda Kekelis is an advisor for STEM Next Opportunity Fund with a lifelong passion for ensuring that all youth, particularly girls and underrepresented youth, have opportunities to achieve their potential in STEM. Parent engagement has been part of Linda’s life work. As the Founder and former CEO of Techbridge Girls, she made family engagement one of the vital elements of the program and committed resources to serve the needs of families, particularly those from under-resourced communities. Currently, Linda advises youth-serving STEM organizations and Ecosystems on empowering families and brings research and practice to a variety of audiences in case studies and blogs produced for STEM Next Opportunity Fund. Linda also participates on advisory boards, and serves in a leadership role on state and national STEM and equity initiatives including the NAE’s EngineerGirl and LinkEngineering. Linda has a master’s in Linguistics from the USC and a PhD in Special Ed from UC Berkeley.

TaraTara Chklovski is the CEO and founder of the global non-profit Iridescent. Her mission in life has been to transform the opportunities available to young people, especially girls, to reach their full-potential and impact their communities. Tara founded Iridescent in 2006 to create and deliver powerful science, engineering, and technology education to empower underrepresented young people. Iridescent has since grown to a community of over 7,000 mentors and more than 90,000 participants throughout the world through its flagship programs Curiosity Machine and Technovation. Tara earned her BS in Physics from St. Stephen’s College and a MS in aerospace engineering from Boston University. Tara left her PhD program in aerospace engineering at USC to found Iridescent and directly empower girls and children everywhere.