“Barbara "Rain" Araneda is an engineer transitioned to a STEAM educator focused on expanding students' awareness of global issues and building their capacity and confidence as real-world problem solvers. Araneda has helped develop and pilot LSU’s Pre-Engineering JumpStart Pathway curriculum and is now piloting the application of the Humanities Amped curriculum to STEAM courses at Belaire Magnet High School, hoping to empower youth to solve societies’ problems by merging analytical, problem solving with communication skills. As part of their personal pedagogy, Araneda incorporates opportunities for community partnerships, mentor-ship, and youth empowerment into their lessons and activities.”
Project Name: Sustainable Student Solutions
Briefly explain your philosophy on why STEM skills are important for today's students:
“Survival is about adaptability, and to survive in a global marketplace and exponentially evolving technical world, today’s students must not only be proficient in reading comprehension, math, and science, they must also be critical thinkers, ready to adapt and troubleshoot problems that have not even been considered or created yet. STEM curriculum, with a foundation in engineering design and real-world problem solving and project-based learning, is perfectly suited to develop the social, emotional, and technical skills necessary for today’s students to be prepared and confident to take on challenges and solve them in a socially and environmentally responsible way. The incorporation of the A in STE(A)M also serves to highlight an often neglected yet important skill nourished and developed through STEM education -- creativity. It is this creativity that leads to both innovative solutions for global problems, as well as profitable ones, as noted by today’s employers and startup groups, who are seeking creative and adaptable employees.”
What strategies do you hope to gain from this year?:
“There are a wealth of strategies for teaching all levels and areas of content, however, many of these methods are not sufficiently evidence or data based strategies, and many more are not adequately differentiated for students with differing learning styles and/or abilities. I would like to engage more deeply in learning strategies of problem based learning and project based learning that have shown evidence of success in increasing scores in reading comprehension, math and science, experimentation, critical analysis, and, importantly, student personal development. I want my students to be engaged and applying skills from all their learning areas to solve problems that are not straight-forward science and engineering problems. I want them to be confident in themselves and their skills. Therefore, I am also interested in learning more about youth empowerment strategies and trauma-informed education and how these strategies can be incorporated into cross-curriculum STEM activities and problem-based learning.”
The STEM Fellows is a project of the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System made possible by a generous grant from Capital One. The purpose of the initiative is to establish and support a cadre of “STEM Teaching Fellows” who, armed with content knowledge, innovative teaching strategies, and an entrepreneurial spirit, can support their colleagues and transform EBRPSS schools into institutions of innovative STEM teaching and learning. In 2019, thirteen educators in East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System were named STEM Teaching Fellows.