Beyond Innovation: Using the Power of Sport to Advance STEM Education
With millions of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) going unfilled year after year, Beyond Innovation, an initiative of Beyond Sport, and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, brought together hundreds of the world’s most creative and innovative leaders to collaborate on leveraging the universal power of sport to help inspire young people’s interest in STEM education.
Diversity in STEAM Magazine attended Beyond Innovation, held from November 14–15 at the historic Dodger Stadium, where events and sessions focused on helping achieve targeted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) in line with larger global efforts by 2030.
Kicking off the day was Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Nichol Whiteman, who has been instrumental in leading the Foundation’s efforts to positively impact the local Los Angeles community. She brought their game-changing “Bigger than Baseball” philosophy to the forefront.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation recognizes that STEM is essential to addressing poverty, inequality, and so much more,” Whiteman said. “As the role of sports continues to grow in advancing STEM, we will focus on a global view to create opportunities for all. Beyond Innovation is just the start of our desire to be leaders, collaborators, and strategic investors in direct programs, education, and experiential learning for millions of Los Angeles youth.”
Following her remarks, Beyond Sport Founder and President Nick Keller provided additional context on the importance of working together to achieve the UN SDGs. “STEM can and is playing a crucial role in addressing the world’s timeliest issues, however, the tech revolution is being centered with those in a place of privilege,” he said.
The first panel led by inspiring women leaders dove into STEM’s role in addressing gender equality. According to recent statistics, only one in five countries achieve what is classed as “gender parity,” with women making up 45–55 percent of researchers.
Panelists included Dr. Liz Hicks, founder & principal of LA Unified School District – Girls Academic Leadership Academy; Dr. Katherine Bihr, VP of Programs & Education, TGR Foundation – A Tiger Woods Charity; Jen Regan, chief sustainability officer, We Bring It On; and Leticia Andueza, associate executive director, New Economics for Women.
“The pathway from elementary school to college STEM careers—girls keep falling out of that pathway… When I first went out to recruit for our school, our girls didn’t know what an engineer was. I think what’s so important is to have women, women of color, and companies inviting these young girls in so that they can see what it’s like to be in a place like Google, like SpaceX. What it’s like to be an innovator so that they have that idea in their heads,” Dr. Hicks said.
Dr. Bihr continued, “Many of us that are teachers taught like we were taught. But the world has changed so rapidly…we have a disconnect. We’re trying to help educators teach more authentic ways for kids to learn about content. We need to connect what’s happening in the real world to today’s classroom. We need to show the connections from school to career sooner.”
The day continued with a series of panel discussions, including Using Tech to Address the Climate Crisis (UN SDG 13), Developing Innovative School STEM Curriculum for Quality Education (UN SDG 4), and Improving STEM to Help Generate Sustainable Cities and Communities (UN SDG11). Headlining those conversations were Dr. Bihr, Melanie LeGrande from the MLB, Jesse Lovejoy of 49ers EDU & Museum, Dr. Emily Church of XPRIZE, and Chris Rougier, STEM curriculum developer, Loyola Marymount University—to name a few.
Beyond Innovation was supported by Host Partner, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Supporting Partner, 49ers Foundation; Official Partners SAP and EVERFI; and International Media Sponsor, ESPN.
For more information on the action-packed event and Beyond Sport, visit beyondsport.org, and to read about the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, visit dodgers.com/ladf.
Source: Beyond Sport
Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOUNDATION