News & Updates

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

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



Introducing Kelsye Acker

As a passionate professional, Kelsye is excited to join iMAGINE Upstate and the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative team in her new role as Special Events and Marketing Coordinator. With her particular interest in mentoring and motivating youth, she is thrilled to be involved with a program like iMAGINE Upstate that is geared toward students and young professionals. Kelsye’s dad is an engineer and she is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of STEM education and careers.

Prior to joining the team, Kelsye managed display media campaigns as a Media Specialist at Infinity Marketing with their DJ Endorsements program in Greenville. Her experience includes sales, marketing, client management, branding and financial communications.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, South Carolina has always been a second home since she has family in Anderson. Kelsye earned her bachelor’s from Kennesaw State University in Communications with a focus in Public Relations. When she’s not hard at work, you can find her downtown checking out the latest food spots, or spending quality time with family in Anderson!