Pond Ingenuity Fall 2018 13 Another goal of the STEM Advisory Board is to develop relationships with the business community. In that regard, I was contacted by fellow Advisory Board member and Engineering Teacher at Discovery High School, Michael Christodoulou in May 2018. Michael informed me that they would like to visit several businesses at the end of the GCPS STEM Teachers Staff Development Week. This is when the STEM teachers across the Gwinnett County meet to start developing the STEM curriculum for the next school year. Michael asked if Pond would be willing to host an hour-long tour, and I began preparing to host 15-20 teachers. I wanted to give the teachers a chance to speak with Pond experts from several areas within Pond. We included fields that most of the teachers were familiar with, such as architecture, electrical and mechanical engineering; and some that were not typically represented at our bi-monthly meetings, like our Landscape Architecture, Fueling and Fire Protection departments. The teachers were also interested in the types of software we use, so I invited Pond’s Director Virtual Design and Construction department, and I reached out to several other Pond professionals. The plan was to give a brief overview of each person’s role and the tools used in each discipline, ending with a short question-and-answer session. When the teachers arrived on the day of the meeting, it quickly became apparent that they were very interested in gathering as much information from us as possible. The teachers interest ranged from the type of work Pond does, level of education needed for the different positions, a description of the work environment, ways to develop a productive work ethic of students, new technology, and opportunities for Pond staff to help in the classroom. The attendees were very engaged. After we wrapped up the meeting, I took the teachers on a tour of our offices. Our Pond staff was able to answer questions and provide valuable feedback, which was well received. Michael wrote the following email to us thanking us for our participation. Tanya Norman, PE Civil Engineer Dear Tanya, and the entire team at Pond, On behalf of GCPS STEM Education, I want to thank you for the opportunity you afforded us on Friday. You and your team were wonderful hosts, and our teachers greatly enjoyed meeting all of you. The information you provided us was invaluable, both in terms of immediate application in our classrooms as well as in our long-term improvement goals. I am looking forward to building the relationship between Pond and GCPS in the future. Sincerely, Mike Christodoulou, STEM Cluster Coach, GCPS and the STEM teacher team I ’ve often thought about volunteering in the community helping to prepare children for success, so when an opportunity to become a member of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Slocience, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Board presented itself I knew I wanted to be a part of the program. In the STEM program, students are introduced to skills, techniques, and working conditions related to the fields of technology and engineering. The STEM program offers four career pathways: Engineering & Technology, Engineering, Drafting & Design, Electronics, and Mechatronics. Twenty-one Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) offer STEM classes in at least one of the career pathways. The purpose of the STEM Advisory Board is to allow educators to engage with professionals/business partners to obtain insight into the working environment and use real-world projects as an educational tool. Educators are also interested in what employers are looking for in a new hire (i.e. technical skills and work ethic). By knowing the needs of the employers within the community, educators can better prepare their students for the work force. In turn, professionals may go into the classroom to offer guidance, instruction on procedure, reinforce theory and real-world application, or to judge competitive events.