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V.I. Officials Attend National Governor's Association Science Summit

A U.S. Virgin Islands team is participating in a National Governor’s Association Summit on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) this week in Durham, North Carolina. Members of the team include the Governor’s education advisor Luis Sylvester, the Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner for Curriculum and Instruction Sarah Mahurt, the Department of Education’s STEM State Director Ann Richbourg, and University of the Virgin Islands Mathematics faculty member Adam Parr.

Among the topics of discussion at the summit are: What is STEM, why is it important, how does it impact state and territories economies, employers’ perspectives on STEM skill demand, and developing state STEM plans.

The USVI is in the process of actively drafting a STEM plan, Mahurt said in a Government House statement.

"The advice and guidance that the team will receive at this summit will ensure that the territory’s plan is comprehensive of those practices and approaches that will best achieve our goals. The digital age has made it compulsory that STEM education is provided from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate and therefore we need to ensure that we develop a plan and its implementation,” she added.

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Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Thursday the summit comes at an ideal time, one month after he issued an executive order to develop a science and technology council, whose mandate includes drafting a science and technology plan for the territory.

“To achieve a competitive standing in the fields of science and technology requires a consistent investment in the professional development of our teachers, the creation of a business climate to foster investment and a commitment to our students. This mix will allow us to be a player in the economy of the 21st century.

“According to the Department of Labor statistic, STEM jobs are growing 33 percent faster than non-STEM jobs in this economy, and with our increased focus on a STEM curriculum, the expansion of our RTPark and the broadband investment, we are poised to achieve this objective,” deJongh said.

“NGA has been a tremendous resource for us in multiple areas of focus, such as healthcare, security, family planning and in education, and specifically with a focus that ties the educational investment to economic development,” Sylvester said. “This summit continues our commitment to ensure that the Virgin Islands capitalizes on opportunities that will strengthen our delivery system and add a value that the people can realize.”

At the summit, the Lt. Gov. of North Carolina, Walter Dalton, told the audience that by focusing on STEM industries, Durham was transformed from a city that suffered through economic difficulties with the collapse of the tobacco industry, to a leader of bio-technical research within the nation, according to Government House.

In addition to being a “tremendous resource,” NGA assumed the travel and hotel expenses for all the individuals who attended from the Virgin Islands.

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A U.S. Virgin Islands team is participating in a National Governor’s Association Summit on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) this week in Durham, North Carolina. Members of the team include the Governor’s education advisor Luis Sylvester, the Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner for Curriculum and Instruction Sarah Mahurt, the Department of Education’s STEM State Director Ann Richbourg, and University of the Virgin Islands Mathematics faculty member Adam Parr.

Among the topics of discussion at the summit are: What is STEM, why is it important, how does it impact state and territories economies, employers’ perspectives on STEM skill demand, and developing state STEM plans.

The USVI is in the process of actively drafting a STEM plan, Mahurt said in a Government House statement.

"The advice and guidance that the team will receive at this summit will ensure that the territory’s plan is comprehensive of those practices and approaches that will best achieve our goals. The digital age has made it compulsory that STEM education is provided from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate and therefore we need to ensure that we develop a plan and its implementation,” she added.

Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Thursday the summit comes at an ideal time, one month after he issued an executive order to develop a science and technology council, whose mandate includes drafting a science and technology plan for the territory.

“To achieve a competitive standing in the fields of science and technology requires a consistent investment in the professional development of our teachers, the creation of a business climate to foster investment and a commitment to our students. This mix will allow us to be a player in the economy of the 21st century.

“According to the Department of Labor statistic, STEM jobs are growing 33 percent faster than non-STEM jobs in this economy, and with our increased focus on a STEM curriculum, the expansion of our RTPark and the broadband investment, we are poised to achieve this objective,” deJongh said.

“NGA has been a tremendous resource for us in multiple areas of focus, such as healthcare, security, family planning and in education, and specifically with a focus that ties the educational investment to economic development,” Sylvester said. “This summit continues our commitment to ensure that the Virgin Islands capitalizes on opportunities that will strengthen our delivery system and add a value that the people can realize.”

At the summit, the Lt. Gov. of North Carolina, Walter Dalton, told the audience that by focusing on STEM industries, Durham was transformed from a city that suffered through economic difficulties with the collapse of the tobacco industry, to a leader of bio-technical research within the nation, according to Government House.

In addition to being a “tremendous resource,” NGA assumed the travel and hotel expenses for all the individuals who attended from the Virgin Islands.