Policy & Outreach

Jaclyn began her graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, studying education policy. She initially envisioned herself preparing for a career in a state government, but she learned so much more!

Landing a graduate assistantship with the Science Outreach Initiative, Jaclyn was introduced to the world of outreach and grant writing. Through amazing mentorship, she learned about the Broader Impacts portion of National Science Foundation (NSF) grant applications and how to consult faculty researchers to expand their research proposals to positively benefit society and broaden participation in STEM.

Jaclyn's mentor led through example to get out there into the community and actively participate in outreach to expand access to STEM education. In addition to Broader Impacts programming, these activities would stem from collaborative efforts from various groups also committed to science outreach, particularly the Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem. While only a member of Philadelphia's Professional Development Working Group for a short time, Jaclyn would go on to become a leader in the San Diego STEM Ecosystem.

At Penn GSE, Jaclyn learned from some of the nation's leading educational researchers, advocates, policy advisors and writers. She was led through a deep dive of broad federal education plans as well as small-scale examples of innovative success in order to assess "what works" or has promise. For her culminating practicum, Jaclyn co-authored a policy analysis, The Role of School Start Time for Student Wellness & Outcomes for a school district in Pennsylvania to demonstrate the need and success of later school start times for adolescents.

Perhaps her most memorable professor, "the leading expert on America's teaching force," asked for the first time why teaching is not viewed as a prestigious "profession." As teachers, we know how much work goes into educating America's youth. We also know that our status in society is not where it should be...but why?

teachers are the most influential in-school factor affecting student success

Something that stuck was the discrepancy between a teacher's autonomy & authority within their own classroom versus their influence on decision-making at the school or district level. We now know that teachers are the most influential in-school factor affecting student success, so why not capitalize on that statistic and empower our teachers even more?! Some of the most influential resources we have available are being over-worked yet under-utilized.

Based on my experience in classrooms, teachers are not receiving the support that they deserve. Continuous training and support is provided in any other noteworthy profession so those individuals can continue to grow. Why should teaching be any different? These are a few of the questions that have led to the creation of Elevated STEM Teaching.