STEM in the Park offers Educator ExternTrips twice a year for K-12 educators to spend a few hours visiting local STEM companies for an out of classroom field trip – just for them! ExternTrips expose educators to real world careers so that they can bring this experience back to the classroom and utilize it in their lesson plans.
Post by: D. Brandon Inge, High School Biology Teacher
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an ExternTrip with Bayer in October. From start to finish I was impressed with the planning, the preparation, and execution of professionalism exhibited by Bayer employees. As an educator now for over ten years, I sometimes get compartmentalized and may not fully see and appreciate the future jobs, careers, and business opportunities that my students will pursue and in which they will participate. The opportunity for me to experience the vast amount of research that Bayer is conducting was phenomenal.
As a science educator, I place a high value on hands-on learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant to my students. Having now seen some of the research that is being done at Bayer, I can give my students specific examples of professionals right down the road who have careers following the same methodology as we are in class; experimentation and problem-solving. I can speak and share with my students some of the personal journeys that were shared by Bayer employees during the panel discussion. Perhaps most importantly, Bayer employees expounded upon the skills that they (and most others) are looking for during the interview and hiring process – soft skills. They pushed skills such as communication, teamwork, and self-determination…skills that educators are working hard to enhance, but skills that seem to be weakening with time among our youth. I appreciate the ExternTrip program and specifically the good folks at Bayer for helping me better help my students!
A note from Bayer ExternTrip host
“Bayer strives to support educators and the programs that help them help their students. We invest in the future and there is no better investment than the young minds of tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, and agronomists. We applaud the educators that go the extra mile for their students and use opportunities like these ExternTrips to broaden the world for their kids. Every new experience for an educator is a potential spark for passion for a student.”
Mindy Chu, Bayer Corporate Communications
Credit Suisse ExternTrip
Post by: Thomasina Barnes, Career Technical Education Teacher
My experience at Credit Suisse was awesome and very informative. The overall format was very flexible and efficient, presentations were straight to the point, and the company volunteers provided valuable information that can be utilized in the classroom. As a web design teacher, I felt that having hands on demonstrations provided me with great insight and a better perspective of what the IT career field consists of. I was really surprised to see the vast array of degrees that employees had within the IT department. For example, the support staff consisted of neurosurgeons, history majors, psychology majors, etc. The support staff created a very inventive presentation, by having us do mock support calls with fake customers. The software developer team demonstrated a neat resource that I have previously utilized in my web design class; Hour of Code. It was a nice confirmation that I am on the right track, regarding using modern technology and resources to teach coding. Another part of my experience that I enjoyed was speaking to the artificial intelligence support team about how they were grooming the AI robot to accept and understand all types of human responses and behaviors.
At the conclusion of our day, we spent time with a panel of Credit Suisse employees. Each employee provided us with great advice and words of encouragement to take back to our students about how to: get started in the IT field, be a multitasker, work on interpersonal skills, network, and have a passion for their field of choice no matter what it is. Overall, I enjoyed my time with the employees of Credit Suisse and would be open to future collaborations and opportunities with the company.
Post by: Greg Eyman, K-5 STEM Teacher
I was so lucky to participate in such a valuable experience with STEM in the Park’s Wake County ExternTrips. Being a STEM teacher at an elementary school, it is a rare treat to peel back the curtain at big companies in the Triangle — and Cisco so graciously granted some grateful teachers a full, hands-on, exciting experience. We were able to dig deep into some of Cisco’s Internet of Things connections — first by an amazing talk given by one of their top employees, Rene Daughtry, and then they led us through a very relevant and authentic Internet of Things lesson that would be perfect for 4th or 5th grade. I was especially excited to participate in the session that paired us up with multiple employees from across the company, so that I could bring back to my students the importance of skills like communication and collaboration, and how they are very highly valued in the hiring process across the board. Sometimes these skills are more important than being specifically pre-trained in a certain aspect of the technology (they can teach that!) It’s always such an energizing and engaging experience when companies like Cisco are so generous with their time and resources. There is so much that I’ve already brought back to my students!
These posts have been edited and condensed for clarity.