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.

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.

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

Meeting Minutes – September 13, 2017

Collaborative Meeting

September 13, 2017

4:00-5:30 pm

@ Roper Mountain Science Center


Kelsye Acker, Madeline Brown, Steven Brown, Joan Burket, Fay Choban, Bob Choban, John Driscoll, David Gardner, Alice Gilchrist, Juan Gonzalez, Laura Graves, Jennifer Harrill, Melissa Huff, James Kalinowski, Jennifer Klipp, Katie Klipp, Zephaniah Long, Lynn Mann, Mel Middleton, Jessica Morton, Val Mosher, Rick Murphy, Bill Pedersen, London Penland, Cassidy Reynolds, Rob Rhodes, Brian Richard, Thomas Riddle, Ansel Sanders, Dawn Sheriff, Donna Swanger, Tiffany Tate, Cheryl Wiggins

Meeting Information


    1. Welcome – Melissa
    2. Announcements – Melissa
      1. Introduce Kelsye Acker
      2. Update on iMAGINE Upstate
      3. Show iU video (5 min)
    3. Introduce Guest Speaker – Melissa – until 4:20pm
    4. Keynote Speaker – Ansel Sanders (20-30 min) – until 5pm
      1. STEAM Grants – K-12 awards 5 $2k grants to support STEAM related projects in the classroom for the year. Creating conditions to attract & retain teach talent through social media & reaching out to principals.
      2. Ansel’s introduces Discussion Questions
      3. Explains that conversation notes will be used by Melissa to create a survey to inform our goals and direction moving forward
    5. Roundtable Discussions (15-20 min) – 5:00 – 5:20pm
      1. Questions: Sheets at tables
      2. Discussion Time (15 min)
      3. Sharing (10 min) – each table shares 3 take-away points or follow-up questions with the entire group (5:20 – 5:30pm)
    6. Closing – Director (5:30pm) – 5 minutes
      1. Melissa – thanks Ansel Sanders
      2. Ask for notes and remind how they will be used – expect to receive a follow up survey within two weeks
      3. Next meeting will be a joint Special Event with NSBE that will delve deeper into these questions and solidify our goals, mission and strategic plans moving forward through 2020. Date: 15th from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Includes roundtable workshops led by facilitators and lots of time for networking. Location TBD.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does STEAM or STEM mean to you? What are the underlying assumptions? How can STEM or STEAM be integrated into in-school and out-of-school experiences for students?
    • Do kids assume they must be Great at math in order to do STEM?
    • Culture of STEM practitioners’ values critical thinking (role of failure)
    • Integration of content
    • Interconnections of S.T.E.A.M. and industries
    • Bridge gap between STEM education and STEM careers
    • Developing necessary skills to be successful in the workforce
      • Both STEM and soft skills
    • A vehicle to empower students and children
      • Minorities, lower class/impoverished, women
    • Better educate parents & teachers on STEAM & STEM
    • Give students a road map & career overview of various careers in STEAM & STEAM
  2. Is STEM mainly about WHAT to learn or HOW to learn?
    • How to learn
    • Foster creativity
  3. What do we mean by “21st Century” skills? Profile of a SC Graduate.
    • Add to handout Master Classes
    • More understanding
    • Meaningful/Practical learning
    • Problem solving – hands on
    • Confidence
    • Learning to learn
    • Continuous learning
  4. How do we know that there are gaps in STEM education and workforce development?
    • Difficulty in
      • Recruitment into industry/school system
      • Do kids relate real-life careers with STEM subjects
      • Classroom prep in college
    • Lack of teachers
    • Importing of employees
    • Lack of supply for our current workforce
    • Lack of varies problem-solving skills and risk taking (which build confidence that is needed in STEM
  5. Is our goal to prepare students to enter the workforce or to prepare well-rounded global citizens?
    • Yes, to enter the workforce means you are a good citizen
    • Both
    • It’s both
    • Well-rounded global citizens enter the workforce more prepared, more seamlessly ready and with more to offer
  6. What are some ways we can work together as a community to better prepare students for their future?
    • Summer classes
    • Value education
    • Celebrity – need science, not just sports
    • Companies adopt schools and provide role models
    • Create community projects that act as intermediary mediums for public/private partnerships
    • Offer Engaging, hands-on, relevant, age-appropriate activities
    • Offer exposure to STEM workers from the “real-world”
    • Open opportunities for seeing STEM in workplaces close to the students
  7. What is the purpose of the Upstate STEM Collaborative?
    • The people in this room at different places in understanding/wants/needs
    • Sharing resources
    • Build networks/connections
    • Identify possible opportunities
    • Get us all working together to provide insight and collaboration
    • To join reps from various fields, raise awareness of opportunities, provide networking of organizations to open doors of opportunity for ALL SC students in STEAM
  8. What role should the Upstate STEM Collaborative play in improving education and supporting economic development in our region? What areas of the community should we be focused on impacting: schools, afterschool and summer programs, public policy, business and industry, etc.
    • Teach parents and teachers the value of a career in STEM manufacturing
      • Opportunities from 2-year degrees
    • Introduce students to the career skills path to STEM at younger ages
    • More apprenticeship programs at high school level
    • Breaking the stigma of technical/ 2-year degrees and advance manufacturing
    • Showcasing the success of students placed in careers after 2-year degree/certifications vs 4-year degrees
    • Act as a networking facilitator to bridge gaps between volunteer groups and partnerships
      • Communities, schools, after school, summer, 4 to 5, Public Policy to Business/Industry

    Additional Notes

    • BIG IDEAS from one group
    • Goal – Equip SC students in STEAM for life
    • Need – Additional access to opportunities and funding for/in STEAM in and out of the classroom
    • Action – Pool resources and increase quality communication



Meeting Minutes – June 14, 2017

Collaborative Meeting

June 14, 2017

4:00-5/5:30 pm

@ Roper Mountain Science Center


Laney Alverson, Madeline Brown, Joan Burket, Kelly Byers, Bob Dickinson, John Driscoll, Juan Gonzolez, Melissa Huff, Dave Lewandowski, Val Mosher, Rick Murphy, London Penland, Tom Peters, Benjamin Ranson, Aimee Redick, Susie Teague, John Tully, Jason Weidman, Jodi Zeis

Meeting Information

iMAGINE Upstate Festival

Save the Date! The 2018 iMAGINE Upstate Festival will be on Saturday, April 7, 2018!

Science on the Move

Science on the Move

What’s Happening


Meeting Minutes – February 22, 2017

Collaborative Meeting

February 22, 2017

4:00-5/5:30 pm

@ Roper Mountain Science Center

Attendance: Reid Becker, Jaime Benton, Katie Burch, Ashely Burns, Kelly Byers, Jan Carter, Victoria Corbin, David Gardner, Alice Gilchrist, Greg Hutchinson, Kevin Kunkle, Lynn Mann, Val Mosher, Leesa Owens, Tom Peters, DeDee Quinn, Thomas Riddle, Paul Sharp, Tiffany Tate, Susie Teague, Michael Weeks, Cheryl Wiggins, Jarrod Wiggins


Meeting Minutes – November 30, 2016

Collaborative Meeting

November 30, 2016


@ Roper Mountain Science Center

I. Introduction & Welcome: 

Attendance: Katie Burch, Ashley Burns, Helen Byce, Kelly Byers, Bob Choban, Fay Choban, Victoria Corbin, Ashley Dyal, Juan Gonzolez, Shannon Hansen, John Kaup, Mandy Liesch, Deanna Ludwick, Gerald Marshall, Mel Middleton, Val Mosher, Tom, Peters, DeDee Quinn, Thomas Riddle, Amy St. John, Susie Teague, Michael Weeks, Cheryl Wiggins and Jarrod Wiggins

 II. Moving Forward

  • Our mission remains the same…

III. Timeline Updates

  • Interim Position: Melissa Huff
  • Posting Full-Time Position
  • Priorities set by Collaborative will continue:
    • Provide resources for existing (not new) programs
    • Maintain quality of iMAGINE: Postpone Rock Hill and Spartanburg

III. Architecture-Construction-Engineering (Mel, Helen, Alison)

  • Workforce Development
  • Nationwide supported project
  • Focused on high school students
  • 60+ sites in US (40 states)
  • Working with Next High School
  • Afterschool program (can be during school time)
  • Seeking mentors, PR, monetary donations
  • Who designs the curriculum?
    • They develop own curriculum
    • Include their contact info
    • PowerPoint posted below
    • Website:

 IV. Happenings

 Science On the Move (Katie Burch):

For more information from November’s meeting, please review the PowerPoint.



ACE Mentor Program Presentation:

Meeting Minutes – August 31, 2016

Collaborative Meeting
August 31, 2016
@ Roper Mountain Science Center
Refreshments provided by Accelerate Learning!

I. Introduction & Welcome: 

Attendance: Melinda Ammerman, Jessica Austin, Ashely Burns, Chris Burras, Kelly Byers, Ken Carter, Bob Choban, Fay Choban, Victoria Corbin, Alice Gilchrist, Kevin Kunkle, Deanna Ludwick, Lynn Mann, Louise Mariani, Val Mosher, Rick Murphy, Tom Peters, DeDee Quinn, Thomas Riddle, Katie Rishebarger, Caren Senter, Paul Sharp, Jodie Shirley, Tiffany Tate, Susie Teague, Lee Vartanian, Cheryl Wiggins

 II. Review of Organization

  • Who we are and how we started
  • The new website & communication resources –

III. Our Priorities (Future Committees)

  • Bridge the Opportunity Gap: Support/grow mobile STEM programs to bridge the opportunity gap in STEM education in rural and urban areas across the state.
  • Increase Awareness: Increase community awareness of STEM careers and access to these careers in our region.
  • Increase & Facilitate Collaboration: Map and align STEM resources in our region to increase access, awareness, and effectiveness.
  • Support STEM Volunteers: Develop a plan to recruit, retain and organize skilled professional volunteers to support STEM programs across our region. 

III. Collaborative Feedback & Goals

What do you want to see in the next year?

  • More participation from outlying counties (i.e. Abbeville, Greenwood)
  • Engagement beyond Greenville
  • Increase network of collaborative
  • More companies (outside Greenville)
  • More collaborating among different initiatives
  • See various groups work together / collaborate (instead of pockets)
  • Additional companies from surrounding areas/counties
  • Awesome marketing to increase awareness of STEM collaborative
  • Better marketing and awareness
  • Spread the word of assets and how to make use of them
  • More cohesive messaging about STEM
  • iMAGINE Upstate’s continued success and growth
  • iMAGINE Rock Hill – Big
  • Maintenance of asset map & sharing
  • Asset mapping
  • Need to grow STEM Linx to become more than just a place to list events. Is it really statewide?
  • Increase promotion of STEM Linx
  • Stem Linx usage?
  • Job shadowing and/or internship opportunities for High School Students (more than manufacturing)
  • Recruiting and training STEM/STEAM-minded teacher
  • Volunteer opportunities for teacher candidates or future teachers to support and volunteer at STEM/STEAM initiatives
  • What volunteer groups are we missing? Do we have and help out with out of school programs?
  • Upstate STEM roundup (?) bridge the gap
  • High school students can job shadow and / internships at local companies
  • Career awareness for 7th /8th and high school
  • Mentoring careers (middle – high) – hangouts
  • Solar eclipse > aerospace starting point and continues in future years
  • Collaboration for total solar eclipse project (Girl Scouts) and continuation with a focus on aerospace/astronomy
  • Creation of speakers/exhibitor list
  • More mobile labs

What would you like to see in the next 3 years?

  • Focus on STEM by higher ed.
  • Higher education STEM credentials
  • Young teachers need to catch up
  • Push teacher education in this area
  • STEM certification for educators
  • STEM certifications
  • Continued growth and success of Upstate SC STEM Collaborative with an effective structure and sustainability
  • Would like to still be able to be here as a collaborative and serve as a national model.
  • Enhancing global technology and awareness/promotion
  • Platform for resource dissemination and networking for collaborative projects
  • Brings together diverse professionals with a common interest and host of different perspectives, resources, and backgrounds
  • Expand Science on the Move
  • Expand Science on the Move to Low Country, midlands and Pee Dee
  • Support Science On the Move with more human resources
  • Go beyond “in school” time – Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Day Cares, State Parks with “out of school” time
  • Mentor programs
  • Increase or have more focus on afterschool learning time and rural areas
  • Mentor program
  • Reach all students in all schools
  • Summer programs
  • Focus on all schools
  • Expanding to more schools
  • Summer enrichment organizing
  • Develop a library of careers and videos
  • List of speakers, their expertise, willingness to talk to students/classrooms/community groups

Why are you part of/interested in learning about joining the Collaborative?

  • Increasing awareness of STEM region wide to better educate children & prepare them for STEM careers, breaking the cycle of poverty.
  • Networking
  • Learning about new resources
  • To find assistance/ideas to bring back to Girls Scouts and/or to help with expending to all girls to learn about STEM
  • Support all tings STE(A)M across the Upstate, as well as South Carolina

What initiative(s) need(s) the most attention?

  • They are all working together to some point but the asset map and organizing volunteers seems to need the most attention
  • Improve STEM asset map & market so more people can use it
  • Knowing what all these other organizations are doing
  • Getting STEM resources to underserved children (high poverty areas)
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • Mentoring and internships
  • iMAGINE Upstate
  • More Science on the Move
  • “STEM Innovator moment”

 IV. Happenings

 Science On the Move 

  • Mentors needed for 4-H Science Youth Teams (Gaffney, Spartanburg, and Greenville)
  • Get in touch with Katie at!

Lowcountry SC STEM Collaborative Update:

Dremel 3D Printing Resource:

  • Dremel has launched a new printer and resources for EDU
  • Working on getting some feedback to them with Chris Beyerle and the kids at NEXT High School

 Development Events:

  • Upstate Summit with Ten at the Top on September 13, 2016 in Greenville. Go to for more information.
  • Next Steps Institute on September 26th – 28th in Charleston. Go to for more information
  • SC Future Minds – 9th Annual Public Education Partners Conference on October 14th in Columbia. Go to for more.

 Attend or Get Involved:

  • 1 Spark! on September 2nd & 3rd at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. Go to
  • Manufacturing Day on October 5th at ECPI – Greenville. Contact Donna Swanger at
  • Superhero Science on October 8th at Roper Mountain Science Center. Go to for more information.
  • Science + YOU Exhibit opening on September 17th at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Go go for more.

Be happening! 

Are you trying to spread the word about a STEM opportunity in the Upstate? Email Sarah at with the details and she will help!  You can also add public events to the iMAGINE Upstate STEAM Events Calendar –