This summer, Georgia Southern University alumna and staff member Hollie Sisk (‘01,’05) became one of only 1,700 individuals in the world and 14 in the state of Georgia who are Google for Education Certified Innovators.
Sisk, who joined the College of Education in June as the coordinator of the Instructional Resources Center on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, attended the 2018 Google for Education Certified Innovator program in Venice, California on July 9-11.
The Certified Innovator program selects candidates based on their professional experience, passion for teaching and learning, innovative use of technology in school settings, potential to impact other educators, and their desire to tackle challenges in education. This year, Google will train five cohorts in countries including the United States, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark and Mexico.
“I was shocked that I got accepted the first time I applied,” Sisk said. “Most people don’t get in on their first try, so my expectations were to just go through the application process.”
Throughout her graduate education at Georgia Southern University, Courtney Smith has become an advocate for her future career field of school psychology.
“Not many people know what school psychologists are,” Smith said. “They often get us confused with school counselors, and that is why it is so important to advocate for the profession and awareness of our role in the schools.”
Smith serves as the University’s student representative on the Georgia Association of School Psychologists (GASP) Executive Board and has been an active member of the Georgia Southern School Psychology Student Association (SPSA). Throughout her time in the Educational Specialist program, Smith has participated in career events, speaking to prospective applicants and coordinating campus activities for School Psychology Awareness Week.
It was not until recently that Smith realized that she could do more. After being nominated by a faculty member, Smith received the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Graduate Student Advocacy in Action Scholarship. This award provided free registration for the annual Public Policy Institute. A partnership between NASP and Georgia Washington University, the Institute offers intensive learning experiences that help build foundational knowledge of education public policy and grassroots advocacy skills.
Georgia Southern University College of Education will soon begin offering materials and supplies for K-12 science and social students content and curriculum through the Institute for Interdisciplinary STEM Education (i2STEMe) School Outreach program.
Formerly hosted by the Georgia Southern Museum as Project SENSE (Science Education Network for the Southeast) and Project BESST (Be Engaged in Social Studies Teaching), the i2STEMe School Outreach program offers equipment, materials and activity kits that enhance science and social studies curriculum and provide hands-on, inquiry based learning.
The program is a paid service that provides opportunities for membership at the school system, individual school or individual teacher level. Annual memberships range from $2,500 for entire school systems to $250 for an individual teacher.
“We are in the process of organizing and preparing a warehouse full of materials that teachers will be able to check out for a complete lesson in their science or social studies course without having to stress about the school purchasing the equipment or materials for the lesson,” explained Kania Greer, i2STEMe Coordinator. “We have Vernier and additional lab equipment that most schools do not have access to, and this program would allow teachers to utilize that equipment in their classroom to reinforce hands-on learning that students find engaging and exciting.”
Georgia Southern University College of Education (COE) faculty have organized a community service opportunity with People of Action Caring for Kids (PACK) of Savannah, Georgia on Friday, August 17 at 11 a.m. Members of the COE are invited to come together to pack bags of food for local Savannah K-12 students.
“PACK is an organization that works with local schools to provide meals and basic necessities to all students who sign up,” explained Janel Smith, lecturer in the Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education. “The organization also runs a clothes closet at the Chatham County DFACS office for foster families as well as supporting local charities.”
Smith explained that because PACK directly impacts the locals students in schools in which Georgia Southern serves, she and fellow faculty members wanted to donate their time to assist the organization in their efforts.
On Saturday, September 22, Georgia Southern University’s Institute of Interdisciplinary STEM Education (i2STEMe) will be re-introducing one of the University’s most popular past events–STEMFest!
The event will be held on the Statesboro Camps in the Nessmith-Lane Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides exploration stations with hands-on STEM learning activities for elementary, middle and high-school aged children. The event is free and open to the public.
“We were disheartened when we were not able to offer this event in 2017,” explained Kania Greer, i2STEMe coordinator, “and the large response from the public let us know they were disappointed as well. We knew that if at all possible, we had to bring STEMFest back this year.”