“My favorite part of the program was the opportunity to meet with Samsung employees,” shared Dolly Bergen, a high school physics teacher in California and a national finalist in 2018. “The employees shared amazing advice and reemphasized that students should network and participate in internships.”
One teacher asked how he can get more young women involved in the Solve for Tomorrow contest and STEM classes. Katie Van Strander, Senior TR in Material Technology with Samsung Austin Semiconductor shared her experiences in the STEM field. While highlighting that there were not many women in her higher education classes, she has seen good strides in the professional setting with more women represented in the STEM field. “It’s important for young girls to have role models. When you have a female student interested in participating in the Solve for Tomorrow program, encourage her to invite her friends to participate too.”
Katie Van Strander (pictured lower left) joined the employee roundtable at the 2020 Teacher Academy. From left to right…Jonathan Harvey (New Jersey), Brittany Buxcel (Minnesota), Adrian Jopek (New Mexico), Huy Pham (California), Katie Van Strander (Samsung).
Pedro Martínez López, a Think Tank Team Research Engineer at Samsung Research America, participated in the employee roundtable last year and came back for another year. “Programs like Solve for Tomorrow and the Teacher Academy can have a huge impact. In regards to PBL, I was lucky to experience this kind of teaching in school. And contests, like Solve for Tomorrow, are a great way for students from all walks of life to realize their potential, meet like-minded peers, and networking with a company like Samsung is a great opportunity.”
Pedro Martinez Lopez Caption: From left to right: Amy Pace (Utah), Michele Mosa (Samsung), Jose Rodriguez (Virginia), Andrea Narvaez (Delaware), Congzhong Guo (Samsung), Pedro Martinez Lopez (Samsung).
Overall, PBL lessons in leadership, disruption and empathy, along with peer network opportunities, were deemed invaluable as the educators head ‘back to school.’
When asked what piece of advice they would share with other teachers gearing up for the academic year ahead, Dolly responded with the importance of practicing self-care. “Put one hour per day on your calendar for yourself to do something you enjoy. Teachers are caring people and are often giving, and you can’t give if your cup is empty.”
Joseph echoed the sentiment, “Try to relax. And remember we’re all adapting to these changes. Taking it day by day helps.”