Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Advisory Board Meeting

October 3, 2019 | 12:00-1:30 p.m.


  1. Recap of July board meeting 12–12:15 p.m.
  2. Recap of September 19 general Collaborative meeting 12­:15–12:30 p.m.
    1. Group activity: strategic plan 12:30–1 p.m
  3. Closing 1–1:15 p.m.


John Tully, Shavada Lee, Joseph Cignarale, Michael Weeks, Tom Peters


  • STEM Linx is the area where the Collaborative is shifting its focus. Hannah is reaching out to marketing/consulting firms to get a website designed and a marketing strategy in place.
  • In deciding how the general Collaborative can be a working group, we can organize into committees who all work on one component of developing STEM Linx. Maybe the committees are centered around the strategic plan: workforce development, community opportunity, educator resources.
  • Who are we marketing to? Who is our audience? Identify the first contributors to the site and who the consumers will be.
  • How do we fund the creation of STEM Linx? How do we generate content?
  • What opportunities can we put on the site that are happening outside of iMAGINE? What can parents/students/teachers get involved in the other 364 days of the year?
  • How do we make STEM Linx tangible? How do we get the community to rally around it and want to be featured on it? Maybe we send a weekly newsletter about STEM events happening in the Upstate.
  • What makes the Collaborative different? As in, why should people go to the Collaborative to post something on STEM Linx. Because we are the binder between nonprofits, businesses, and schools. We are the place people will want to come for a well-designed advertisement about their event that has the “bells and whistles.”
  • Fill a gap. Is there anything else in the community like STEM Linx? Answer is no. So, we build it.
  • Part of the need for STEM Linx is for it to be a dataset for local economic development that says, “Hey, the Upstate is a STEM-friendly area that businesses should move to.”
  • Have a STEM Linx booth at iMAGINE this year to get the word out.
  • For the next advisory board meeting: focus on a detailed part of STEM Linx and ask board members to bring a colleague who can help with that part, e.g., contributors, social media, website design, etc.

General Meeting Minutes

September 19, 2019

4-6 p.m.

Roper Mountain Science Center


Shavada Lee, John Tully, Jan Cox, Sharon Purvis, Wanda Staggers, Renée Lyons, Jorge Riano, Alice Gilchrist, Georgette Johnson, Gabriella Porter, Valerie Mosher, Beth Kinzer, Donna Stroud, Beth Leavitt, Sandy Bradshaw, Dallas Erwin


  1. Introductions 4–4:15 p.m.
  2. Program Updates 4:15–4:30 p.m.
    1. Group activity: “Laying the Foundation” 4:30 p.m.–5:15 p.m.
  3. Presentation/Discussion 5:15–5:30 p.m.

Group Activity Notes:  “Laying the Foundation”

  1. What great things is your organization/business/school doing to address STEM education and workforce development? What makes your approach unique? Why is it working?
    • City of Greenville has money to create afterschool and summer programs.
    • Ten at the Top is addressing teacher shortages.
    • Michelin is doing a ride and learn. Participants can take the bus to a seminar/class/other destination to get acquainted with the bus system. The idea is to help remove the stigma around individuals who take the bus or rely on it for regular transportation.
    • FIRST Robotics Team 283 is partnering with industry, using JAVA, to build a full robot. All is tied to workforce development.
    • Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center offers field trips for interactive lab experiments to help kids identify with science.
    • GreenBy3 provides project-based internships to high school and college students.
    • Roper Mountain Science Center has experiential science labs. Teachers get something they can’t do in the classroom and kids get exciting field trips with cutting edge technology.
    • Community Code provides computer programming instruction to different organizations, especially young girls. Present in areas where girls wouldn’t otherwise have this resource.
    • Ignite impacts kids with STEAM by emphasizing understanding, rather than memorization, of material.
    • Fluor provides fundraising support for STEM education and has Discover E (engineering) program.
  2. What obstacles do you face in advancing STEM education and workforce development?
    • How do you draw connections to more than just engineering? Supportive (administrative, IT, etc.) jobs are just as important as actual STEM positions.
    • There aren’t enough women in STEAM. Women hear about engineering/technology positions jobs and immediately assume the job isn’t for them.
    • Transportation: busses aren’t on time so employees are late. There aren’t enough drivers to run busses on the third shift; it limits the employees that can work those shifts. There is a lack of affordable housing near bus/public transit routes.
    • Retention of employees. Many jobs are part-time.
    • Advocating for smart schooling or school that fits the individual’s budget and dealing with the negative feedback that business is “killing college.”
    • How do we get skilled workers on the project-side? Incoming employees lack technical skills gained from a technical education. Not everyone is a 4-year college student. Invest more in technical schools.
    • The entire education system needs to change, kindergarten thru college.
    • Raising the teacher profession to a higher status. Professional development for teachers and salary increases would help this. Teacher certification requirements at the State Department of Education are outdated; they don’t consider continuing education courses in engineering as satisfactory for a math teacher.
    • Equity – accessibility to all students. Field trips are pay-for-service rather than need-based. Grants don’t cover enough.
    • Red tape: schools are strict about internships they will accept.
    • Funding: there is a budget, and it only goes so far.
    • How do we make parents care about STEM education? Parents don’t know what STEM/STEAM is and why they should care beyond a raised test score.
    • Standardized testing limits understanding and application of material.
  3. What are you hoping to gain by being a part of the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative? What relationships or resources are most useful to you right now?
    • Experiences, a way to give back to the community, networking.
    • Better understanding that there are good jobs in STEM.
    • Removing the stigma of not having a degree.
    • Removing the silos between our fields. Nonprofits, schools, businesses are all on the same team, so how can we work together?
    • Networking with funding partners.
    • Sharing of resources.
    • Messaging; being able to share what we do with the community.
  4. How has the landscape around the STEM workforce changed in the last 10 years?
    • Growth! Our kids are doing more of STEM! They use laptops in class and take on tech-based learning activities.
    • College has become a MUST for many parents. They advocate for their children to take on engineering, physics, IT, etc. rather than working in manufacturing or with their hands.
    • There is more attention put on STEM now because the need is becoming critical. South Carolina is behind in the education rankings. There is greater return on investment for STEM degrees these days.
  1. What are some action items you feel we can accomplish as a Collaborative?
    • Tying fun things to careers – “planting a seed that kids can do STEM when they grow up and that it’s fun.” Meeting kids when they’re young.
    • Advocacy!
    • Taking advantage of our manufacturing hub in Greenville
    • Partnering with tech schools.
    • We need to get the top people from government, State Department of Education, school leaders, etc. involved.
    • Tap into the private business sector.

Connect with Us

We’ve updated our social media!

To get better in touch with our audience, we’ve transitioned our social media from using Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and LinkedIn. In the future, you can find us at the below handles:


Twitter: @stem_sc

LinkedIn: Upstate SC STEM Collaborative


Feel free to connect with us on these platforms as we work on better uniting the STEM ecosystem of the Upstate!

Advisory Board Meeting

July 31, 2019

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

CU-ICAR, Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research


Joseph Cignarale, John Tully, Cheryl Wiggins, Tom Peters, Kat Owsley, Brad McKenna, Michael Weeks, Matthew Critell, Dennis Crawford, Shavada Lee, Joan Burket, Hannah Halusker


  1. Lunch and Introductions 12–12:25 p.m.
    • Who are you, when did you join the Collaborative, and why did you join?
  2. Group activity: strategic plan 12:25–1:10 p.m.
    • Review of goals
    • Are we on target with our goals?
    • Where do we want to go in the future? How can we update our goals to reflect the vision of USCSC for the next five years?
  3. Presentation 1:10–1:30 p.m.
  4. Closing 1:30–1:45 p.m.
    • Brainstorming for first Collaborative meeting
    • Setting dates and times for future board meetings
    • Final thoughts


Discussion questions:

  1. What insights do you have about each action item?
  2. (What can you recall that USCSC has done in the past for each action? Are you/your organization/business/school doing something individually to address this goal?
  3. How has the landscape around the STEM workforce changed since 2017 such that this goal should be updated?
  4. What part of the goal (actions/outcomes) need to be updated?
  5. What are some action items you feel we can accomplish as a Collaborative?


  • Lay out the territory of the Collaborative (programs, budget, resources needed, etc.)
    • Build it in a logic model or input/output diagram, i.e., “This program requires this.”
    • What gaps does the logic model reveal?
    • How can the model show directions for the future?
    • Where is the money going? This model will show us.
  • Can we have individual giving for USCSC?
  • “Teach us how to teach others at the funding source.”


  • Get more schools involved in USCSC, not just those in Greenville County.
  • Get creative with staff capacity.
    • Build staff with high school or nonprofit interns?
  • Companies want to do outreach. Can we coordinate with them to get their availability?
    • Then, we can make it into a publishable calendar for the community, e.g., Bosch is available in October, Fluor in June, Michelin in February, etc.
  • We are very well known for our iMAGINE program, but not for the other community involvement opportunities we provide. How do we market the others?
  • Teachers would come to general meetings if they were made more available to them.


  • Social media will drive us to the STEM Linx platform. Can we create a social media presence for STEM Linx?
  • STEM Linx should offer:
    • A volunteer pool
    • STEM activities to do in the Upstate
    • STEM internships at our community partners
    • Mentorship opportunities > Mentor Upstate?
  • STEM Linx could be the platform to unite all of our USCSC goals.
    • Develop a task force to create an input/output diagram to get STEM Linx off the ground.

Introducing Hannah Halusker

Hannah Halusker works for South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science (SCCMS) as the Director of iMAGINE Upstate, where she helps to facilitate and design impactful, hands-on learning experiences for PreK-12 students in the western region of South Carolina. Hannah also directs the coordination of the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative to help join industry and community partners in promoting STEM education and workforce development in South Carolina.

Prior to joining SCCMS, Hannah was the lead science writer for Clemson University’s College of Science in the Department of Communications and Marketing, having published a variety of stories in local, national, and international outlets. She graduated from Clemson University in 2017 with a B.S. in Genetics and is currently in pursuit of her master’s degree in Communication, Technology, and Society, also at Clemson.

The common thread throughout all of Hannah’s interests is her aspiration to increase accessibility to the sciences, whether through communication or engagement—and especially for vulnerable populations. In her role with SCCMS, Hannah is eager to bring science to even more of South Carolina’s kids and to get them invested in their education from a young age.

Notes from Meet-Up on May 23, 2018

May 23, 2018

4:00 – 5:30 pm

@ Roper Mountain Science Center



Kelsye Acker, Melinda Ammerman , Madeline Brown, Joan Burket, Sarah Deveau, John Driscoll, Dorothy Earle, Dewey Evans, Donna Foster, Juan Gonzalez, Kelly Hodnett, Melissa Huff, Chloe Ingle, Gerald Marshall, Duke Moses, Valerie Mosher, Julius Nfor, Tom Peters, Cassidy Reynolds, Keith Walker, Jason Weidman

Meeting Topic: STEM Mentoring in South Carolina


Million Women Mentors- SC Chapter – Dr. Donna Foster

PEER and WISE at Clemson University – Serita Acker

GE Girls Club – Melinda Ammerman

Discussion Questions

  1.  How do you define STEM mentoring?
  2. What is the role and value of STEM mentoring?
  3. How are you or your company already involved in STEM mentoring OR How do you or your company plan to be involved in STEM mentoring?
  4. What are your next steps?

Next Meeting

August 22, 2018 at 4 pm
Roper Mountain Science Center

1st Annual iMAGINE Expo 2018

The iMAGINE Expo 2018 for School Counselors and Mentors, held on March 1, 2018, was a special event to raise awareness about STEM opportunities in the Upstate! A highly engaging, structured event was designed to equip school counselors and mentors with the resources they need to ensure that students have a viable path to a rewarding STEM career.

STEMLinx Forum Meeting Notes

November 15, 2017

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

@ Hughes Main Library


Kelsye Acker, Laney Alverson, Kori Benion, Jaime Benton, Madeline Brown, Chris Burras, Helen Byce, Patra Card, Kenneth Carter, Maya Davis, Marissa DiLoreto, John Driscoll, Adraine Garner, Alice Gilchrist, Christen Hairston, Christen Hairston, Melissa Huff, Greg Hutchinson, Jennifer Klipp, Beth Leavitt, Justin Lewis, Mandy Liesch, Joey Loman, Zephaniah Long, Deanna Ludwick, Gerald Marshall, Mel Middleton, Brian Morrison, Brianah Morse, Susan Orr, Tom Peters, Thomas Riddle, Thomas Scott, Sr. John Agnes Suh, Donna Swanger, Courtney Weldon, and Jonathan Wiles


  1. Welcome – Melissa and Ken
    • Introduction and welcomes
    • Introduces NSBE – Ken
  1. Agenda – Melissa
    • Presents agenda, introduce speakers
    • Reviews purpose of our meeting
  1. Overview of STEAM Tech Team – Fay Choban
  2. Overview of NSBE – Brianah, Ken
  3. Overview of Science on the Move – Katie Burch
  4. Q&A – Melissa, Kelsye
  5. Conclusion
    • Table discussions
    • Sharing
    • Closing – Melissa

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think are the most important challenges for students in the Upstate that the Upstate STEM Collaborative, NSBE, and its initiatives and partners should address?
  • What is the value of community-wide collaboration around STEM? If you have been participating with our network before today, what is the value of the Upstate STEM Collaborative to you? How could our network be more effective?
  • How do the programs you heard about today address or fail to address the challenges you cited in question #1?
  • What ways can we work together to support and improve these programs and others?
  • What other opportunities do you see for us to support existing programs and enhance connections between STEM outreach initiatives and organizations? What role should the Upstate STEM Collaborative play?


STEMLinx Forum Presented by: Upstate SC STEM Collaborative & NSBE

  • Network with other STEM professionals
  • Learn more about our Upstate K-12 STEM initiatives
  • Discover ways to get involved
  • Discuss gaps in STEM outreach and how to reach underserved students
  • Help cast our vision for the future
  • Come away inspired to ensure that every student is college & career ready!

Read more & Register on Eventbrite