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NDeRC to host annual conference

Adam Llorens | Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Notre Dame extended Research Community (NDeRC) will host its fifth annual Collaborating for Education and Research Forum tomorrow in the Jordan Hall of Science.

Thomas Loughran, a professional specialist in the Department of Physics and member of NDeRC, said the event is designed to enhance interaction between local K-12 teachers and University administrators. The forum fosters a vibrant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community between the educators, he said.

“The forum presents a broad spectrum of engagement opportunities for STEM professionals for both researchers and educators at the university and K-12 levels,” Loughran said. “We’re trying to foster an integrated STEM community.”

Loughran said a functioning STEM community is essential for both teachers and students.

“Teachers and administrators know one another and have a sense of belonging to the same social entity, and because they belong, they give invitations to students to belong too,” Loughran said. “That issuing of effective invitations into the STEM community is the model of STEM education we are working with.”

To reach teachers, Loughran said the NDeRC emails registration invitations to approximately 350 Michiana STEM educators.

The event promotes conversation among professionals from local schools and universities. Loughran said the forum averages around 150 teachers every year.

“In years past we had 25 spots for our BioEYES initiative, a study of the development of zebrafish, and received 100 applications,” Loughran said. “At another forum, we launched a blog and got 100 subscribers over the weekend.”

Loughran said the forum’s commitment to building STEM education and research locally is gaining momentum.

“It’s an enduring atmosphere,” Loughran said. “You know the community is alive because we keep meeting and collaborating.”

The Collaborating for Education and Research Forum will be held tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Jordan Hall of Science.