Georgia educators learn engineering concepts at Kennesaw State

GYSTC STEM Teacher Academy kicks off first session at Marietta Campus  MARIETTA, Ga.  (…

Georgia (Aug 18, 2015)GYSTC STEM Teacher Academy kicks off first session at Marietta Campus 

MARIETTA, Ga.  (Aug. 18, 2015) — Area teachers are already back in the classroom, but 50 middle school science and mathematics teachers did a little learning of their own, as they headed to Kennesaw State’s Marietta Campus on Aug. 17 for a day of STEM education. 

Engineering faculty in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State taught engineering concepts, such as bridge building and 3D printing, to middle school teachers as part of the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers (GYSTC) STEM Teacher Academy.

GYSTC, a nonprofit educational organization designed to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among elementary and middle school teachers, students and parents in underserved areas in the state, offers the GYSTC STEM Teacher Academy series each year. The series is sponsored by the Georgia Aquarium, Georgia College, IBM, Lockheed Martin and Kennesaw State.

Drawing from 10 Georgia counties, the 50 middle school science and mathematics teachers learned hands-on concepts that can be incorporated into their curriculum.

“If students are outthinking the project, increase the challenge. Start taking things away, such as less items to use to complete the task at hand,” said Roneisha Worthy, assistant professor of civil engineering at Kennesaw State. “We have to engage our students and watch to see who is not engaged. You’ll always have natural leaders, but find the ones that aren’t and make it fun for them.”

The middle school educators also offered their fellow teachers ideas for teaching STEM, such as “taking it to the market” which for some meant asking other students what they think or giving real-world situations to make it relevant. Another idea was to use a “Shark Tank” style method, referring to the television show in which entrepreneurs are given opportunity to be backed by investors, where students can be inventive and competitive.

The daylong seminar is the first in the GYSTC STEM Academy series this school year.  

“We have always included engineering in our Academy, but this is the first time that we’ve partnered with Kennesaw State’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology,” said Betsy Green, director at GYSTC. “Through this Academy, we hope teachers carry this enthusiasm for STEM back to share with other educators in their districts.”

For KSU’s engineering college, the opportunity to work directly with educators who impact young students has been a great way to reach future engineers. The day’s training agenda was organized by the College’s outreach committee.

“We want to promote STEM education at the grassroots level,” said Hai Ho, associate professor of electrical engineering at Kennesaw State. “There is a huge future shortage of engineers and we need to do our part to help that.”


- Tiffany Capuano; photos courtesy of Hai Ho and Melody Chapman. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit