Reflections and Implications

Moderator: Natalie Nielsen
Presenters: Amy Beal and Amy Reese

This closing portion of the meeting begins with a reflection on the day’s learnings from the vantage point of presenters’ and participants’ own work and programs. Presenters also focus on implications for implementation of early childhood STEM education.

Natalie Nielsen, Senior Program Officer, Board on Science Education, National Research Council
Natalie Nielsen is a senior program officer with the Board on Science Education at the National Research Council (NRC). At the NRC she has directed studies on K-12 and undergraduate science education, including the study that produced the 2011 report, Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Before joining the NRC, Nielsen was the director of research at the Business-Higher Education Forum, where her work focused on college readiness, access, and success, particularly in STEM. Previously, as a senior researcher at SRI International, Natalie conducted evaluations of a wide variety of federal, state, and district-level reform efforts—including technology, teacher quality, data-driven decision-making, and high school reform initiatives, and afterschool and youth development programs. She has also served as a staff writer for American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Project 2061, exhibit researcher at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and exhibit writer and internal evaluator at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Nielsen holds a BS in Geology from the University of California, Davis, an MS in Geological Sciences from San Diego State University, and a PhD in Education from George Mason University.

Amy Beal, Coordinator, Judy Center, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, MD
As coordinator of the Judy Center, Amy Beal’s work focuses on decreasing the achievement gap and ensuring all children enter school ready to learn. The Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ Judy Center focuses on STEM learning, and is based on the Maryland Model for School Readiness. The Judy Center collaborates with many community partners and Beal is a member of the Anne Arundel Early Childhood Council, Local Interagency Council, and Maryland State Department of Education Family Engagement Coalition. She is also a board member for Arundel Child Care Connections. Beal has a master’s degree in Human Services.

Amy Reese, Acting Coordinator of Elementary Science, Howard County Public Schools, MD
Amy Reese is currently the Acting Coordinator of Elementary Science and oversees elementary STEM programs in the Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) in Maryland. She was a Biology major who switched to the education field and holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Reese also holds a master's degree in Reading and is a certified Reading Specialist in Maryland. She is facilitating the development of Howard County Public School System’s Science and Engineering units for Kindergarten through fifth grade, based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Collaboration with the elementary Language Arts and Mathematics offices and integration of the Common Core Standards has been a key part of her curriculum development process. Reese has served on numerous workgroups for the Maryland State Department of Education, such as Early Childhood STEM Standards of Practice, Elementary STEM Standards of Practice, and Environmental Literacy. She has developed partnerships with local environmental agencies/volunteers to support STEM in field programs related to the environment and real world experiences. Reese was recently invited to visit South Korea, as part of their school system partnership with the South Korean Ministry of Education, to discuss Science and STEM education and enhance relationships for future collaboration.