Thanks to GrandEd, I was able to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Seattle, WA, in February of this year, and it was a success! The AAAS conference offered a unique interdisciplinary blend of scientific session, plenary and topical lectures, flash talk sessions, e-posters, presentations, and international exhibits.
One initiative that I focused on was understanding ecosystem dynamics and how finding ways to maintain a stable balance of the many ecosystems in our changing circumstances is critical to our advancement. I learned a great deal about the most recent scientific research being conducted on the growing problematic consequences associated with human interaction with our varied ecosystems and their possible solutions.
I was also able to discuss STEM partnership and mentoring opportunities for my students with scientific associations and educational institutions, such as NASA, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), University of California, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The sessions associated with STEM partnerships and mentoring were very useful and engaging. I learned how to create a mentoring program with local universities and colleges, as well as the best way to establish STEM partnerships for my students.
One of the most important issues facing the scientific community is the shortage of women and minorities in the advanced degree sector. There were three sessions that I attended that presented statistical data reflecting the lack of advanced degrees in different scientific fields, especially physics and astronomy. These discussions also lead to possible solutions, such as mentoring for women and minorities at the high school level and the recruitment of women and minorities in undergraduate colleges and universities to encourage them to seek graduate level degrees in the scientific fields.
My entire trip to the AAAS conference was informative, engaging, educational, and, most of all, I was able to develop professional relationships to help engage my students in the world of science. What a wonderful and unforgettable experience.