CSO DC ITEST Summit
“I have never felt that my voice was as important as I did during that discussion.” – CSO Marissa
At the core of the Chief Science Officer program is the belief that their lies true power in student voice to create actionable change at their schools, in their communities, and even nation and worldwide. On July 11th, 2019 Chief Science Officers Shalae (Arizona), Marissa (Arizona) and Moira (Delaware) set of to Washington DC to use their voice to advocate for the importance of STEM education and implementation of student voice into the decision-making process. This trip left CSOs feeling like they had made an important contribution as CSO Marissa reflected, [I was] Truly amazed on how this adult was taking notes on what I said and how they were genuine in communicating with me. I will always remember that adult… because I have never felt that my voice was as important as I did during that discussion.” Read on to learn how these remarkable students used their voice in our nation’s capital.
Wednesday July 12th, the CSOs accompanied with Executive Director Dr. Babendure, COO Kelly Greene, and Government Relations intern Caillou Peña were tasked with making 10 legislative visits on Capitol Hill. Over the course of the day CSOs were able to have their voices heard by policy makers whose actions impact us each and every day. After speaking with Representative Schweikert and others the CSOs were able to showcase just how unique the CSO program is and left the meeting with a plan to get Arizona CSOs in front of congressmen and a seat in the political discussion. “[This trip] showed me the significance of being able to talk with our representatives. It was also really powerful to have such an interesting conversations with [representatives] who are making laws. Overall, this trip’s Capitol Hill Visit was an amazing experience.” – CSO Shalae. CSO Moira also used this experience to make a difference at home as she said, “The enlightening and motivating experience of sharing our excitement with Representatives on Capitol Hill is one that I cherish and has propelled me to reach out to leadership within my school district about CSO. “
“The enlightened and motivating experience… has propelled me to reach out to leadership within my school district about CSO.” – CSO Moira
The following days cultivated in the CSO’s attendance of the NSF ITEST conference. Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program supports the research and development of innovative models for engaging K-12 students in authentic experiences that build their capacity to participate in tomorrow’s STEM workforce. The CSO program, being an ITEST funded project, was highlighted throughout the two days of the conference. This included a breakout session hosted by the CSO. “We did present this year… the goal of our presentation was to figure out how we could work
together with the other organizations present to help grow their programs through our extensive network of students.” CSO Shalae
“…the goal of our presentation was to figure out how we could work together with the other organizations present to help grow their programs through our extensive network of students.” CSO Shalae.
Every chance CSOs have to use their voice grows the community it inspires. The CSOs left the conference knowing they had inspired and would use this experience to inspire their peers back in their respective states. “It was truly empowering for me to see that my goal of elevating student voice was coming to life at the conference. Knowing that my voice can and will be used to make change I walked away from the summit eager to inspire others to use their voice.” – CSO Marissa.
The Chief Science Officer (CSO) program is a global project of the SciTech Institute, The program seeks to create a pipeline of diverse STEM leaders, increase communication and collaboration among CSOs, enrich school STEM culture and career awareness, and increase student voice in STEM conversations in the community. To learn more about the CSO program or to get involved, visit www.chiefscienceofficers.org.