Today on STEM Insight, let’s meet another one of our LEAD STEM Fellows!

LEAD STEM is a yearlong leadership development experience tailored for the National STEM Learning Ecosystem leaders and emerging leaders. LEAD STEM Fellows are selected following a rigorous application process, and will participate in a yearlong leadership program that focuses on developing a core set of transferable skills. Leadership development will require persistence, critical thinking, and the ability to stretch beyond one’s own comfort zone to collaboratively seek outcomes-based solutions.

Today we are thrilled to introduce Andrew Garner.

Andrew currently serves as the Education Services Manager at the North Museum of Nature and Science. Here, he has created and cultivated programming that connects businesses, non-profits and educators. Andrew orchestrates the annual North Museum Science & Engineering Fair, affiliated with the INTEL ISEF International Science Fair Competition, an event free of charge for both students and schools. Andrew’s ‘out of the box’ approach to problem solving continues to be the catalyst for program development that expands the reach of what is possible. Prior to his work at The North, Andrew held the role of Youth Coordinator at the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board. This experience provided a unique perspective in understanding both the importance of STEM literacy as well as workforce preparation for at-risk student populations. Andrew has also created the STEAM Art Gallery at The North, with gallery space that highlights the elements of STEM in art. Incorporating the gallery space has engaged community members and areas of the Lancaster Ecosystem that were previously unconnected to STEM.

What led Andrew to become interested in the LEAD STEM Fellowship? We took some time to ask him, and here is what he had to say.

Was there a sense of urgency that motivated you to pursue STEM?

“Having heard from countless local employers about their lack of a trained and prepared workforce, I’ve learned that STEM education is so important. It directly affects our local economy, and also the State and National level. I am looking for best practices and hope to uncover innovative initiatives that I can bring back and implement locally.”

What made STEM come alive for you?

“For me, when I was in school, the “buzz word” STEM wasn’t used but I always enjoyed assignments that required the use of a variety of skill sets. My time in workforce education and connecting schools with employer needs is what brought STEM to life for me.”

What are you most looking forward to as a STEM Fellow?

“Filling a need locally through my Cap Stone project and the Professional development. I’m also looking forward to the mentorship component and connecting nationally with my peers. I am grateful for this experience and honored to represent Lancaster in this way.”

Where do you see STEM every day in the world around you, that most people might overlook?

“STEM is embedded in everything, but I see it directly in the palm of everyone’s hand who is carrying a smart phone.”

If you were given $1 million STEM ONLY dollars, how would you spend them?

“I would probably use $1 million STEM ONLY dollars for training, resources, and materials for educators. I would want to carve out a month or multiple days to do so. The need is there, the desire is there, but time and money seem to be a huge barrier.”

What do you do when you aren’t being a STEM Fellow?

“I enjoy kayaking, painting, working in the yard, music and spending time with my family, dogs and friends.”

What is your favorite thing about Lancaster?

“Currently the Pop Up Beer Garden on Prince Street.”