Fostering STEM Trajectories: Bridging ECE Research, Practice, & Policy

On May 31-June 1, 2016, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and New America co-hosted an early STEM convening in Washington, D.C. funded by the National Science Foundation. Read on for highlights from the event.

Day One

The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Lisa Guernsey, Deputy Director of the Education Policy Program and Director of the Learning Technologies Project at New America and Michael Levine, Founder and Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

Preparing for the Future: STEM Learning & Research

Presented by Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director for Education & Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.

Keynote Address: The ECE Ecosystem and Early Childhood STEM Research

Presented by Deborah Phillips, Professor of Psychology and Associated Faculty for the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University.

Response and Discussion Panel

Featuring LaRue Allen, Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University, Kimberly Brenneman, Program Officer for Education at the Heising-Simons Foundation, Andres Henriquez, VP of STEM Learning in Communities at New York Hall of Science, and Shelley Pasnik, Director of the Center for Children and Technology and VP, Education Development Center. Joined by Deborah Phillips and moderated by Lisa Guernsey.

#STEMStartsEarly at the White House

Presented by Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education and Russell Shilling, Executive Director of STEM, U.S. Department of Education.

Overview of Background Paper and Funding Priorities in Early STEM Research

Presented by Elisabeth McClure, Research Fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

OER, Federal Research, and STEM: A Briefing

Presented by Lindsey Tepe, Senior Policy Analyst of Education Policy for New America.

Day Two

Why Framing the Issue is So Important

Presented by Nat Kendall-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer for the FrameWorks Institute.

STEM Teachers: Learning from Inside and Outside the United States

Presented by Douglas Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Executive Director of the Marsico Institute of Early Learning, University of Denver, Mike Smith, Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Vivien Stewart, Senior Advisor of Education for the Asia Society. Moderated by Michael Levine.

Looking to the Future

In the wake of the wonderful insights and discussions shared during the Fostering STEM Trajectories event, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and New America are compiling a comprehensive report to be released this fall, featuring a national action agenda and formal recommendations for funding agencies focused on early STEM.

We welcome your insights on the priorities that should shape STEM education. What do you think are the barriers to bringing STEM learning to young children? Please send your thoughts to

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