The 12th annual UTeach Conference was held May 22–24, 2018. The focus of the 2018 conference was “Broadening Participation in STEM.” We kicked things off with a very engaging presentation by Dr. Kate Bieberdorf, who showed us through her dynamic and explosive demonstrations how to engage students who might not otherwise find chemistry particularly engaging. The audience enjoyed watching her and her team of assistants hit home lessons of enthalpy and other types of reactions with balloons, liquid nitrogen, and lots of fire!
During the conference sessions, participants shared lessons, outreach and recruitment ideas, and best practices for implementing UTeach and its courses at their universities. Students from UTeach programs across the country displayed their research during the poster session, and folks enjoyed socializing with their friends and peers from across the UTeach network.
We capped off the conference with a dinner, awards ceremony, and a keynote speech by Dr. Bernard Harris, NASA astronaut and new CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. Dr. Harris’ talk centered on how educators could encourage kids to make their dreams a reality, using his own experience of having daydreamed about going to space as a kid and working to make that dream come true.