EDC to Refine and Test CT-E STEM Career Workshop Model

Young woman in lab

What does it mean to be a “computational thinking enabled” (CT-E) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional? Working closely with STEM industry professionals, Joyce Malyn-Smith and Joseph Ippolito developed a profile that describes the work tasks CT-E STEM professionals perform every day—illustrating what they must know and be able to do. New funding from the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure will enable Malyn-Smith and Ippolito to take this work to the next level. In 2013 they will refine and test an innovative workshop format targeted to help undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds launch professional careers in the emerging field of CT-E science and engineering. Their partners include the New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, Intel Corporation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of New Mexico, and Navajo Technical College.

Malyn-Smith said: “We are convening New Mexico employers and educators to test a workshop model that can be used to create opportunities for undergrads to develop and apply the CT-E skills—such as computer modeling—they need to succeed in highly technical careers in today’s scientific enterprises. If the workshop model proves to be successful, we plan to scale it up.” In the workshop model, employers revise the CT-E professional profile to fit their local context, ensuring it reflects the community’s workforce needs. Educators use the revised profile to identify new courses, programs, and internships they must develop to ensure students acquire the full range of needed CT-E professional knowledge and skills. Students participate in a workshop—jointly planned by employers and educators—that helps them connect with employers, builds their knowledge of CT-E jobs and skills, and guides them in completing a personalized CT-E learning plan (courses they will take, internships they will complete). To prepare for scale up, Malyn-Smith and Ippolito will design a gap analysis tool that helps educators identify action steps—starting a new course, integrating new content into courses, partnering with a business—and create a CT-E Pathway Guide that helps students assess their interests and identify skills they want to develop or sharpen. 

Last Updated: December 2012