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Jen Curatola-Wozniak's opening address at STEM & Makers Fest/Expo, Malatya bilimiletisimi.com © 2016 Bi Network, Stanford, California

Jen Curatola-Wozniak's opening address at STEM & Makers Fest/Expo, Malatya

Dr. Metin Şardağ | Bilim İletişimi | Eğitim

Jen Curatola-Wozniak, U.S. Consulate

STEM & Makers Fest and Expo, December 15, 2018, 12:00 p.m, Inonu University

Representatives of the Ministry of National Education, İnönü University, and Malatya municipalities, students, teachers, and parents, merhabalar. I am honored to be here in Malatya for the first time for the STEM & Makers Fest and Expo. The room is buzzing with excitement as you anticipate all the exciting skills you will learn – or is that just the whirring of the robots?

On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I’d like to thank all of the partners who made this expo possible – Hacettepe University, Inonu University, Turkish STEM Alliance, STEM News Aggregator, and especially Prof. Gultekin Cakmakci for his steadfast efforts to coordinate this impressive event.

Ataturk once said, “Hayatta en hakiki mürşit ilimdir.” How right he was. His words were never truer than they are today. Our world is becoming more and more technological. Our problems are increasingly complex. Even just the next thirty years hold boundless challenges, and your generation will be leading the way to address them. Can humans travel to Mars, and if so, can they tame its harsh environment for tourism or even habitation? What is the consequence of social media on our privacy, friendships, and access to accurate information? How will artificial intelligence impact our lives and our understanding of what it means to be human? We need people with the ingenuity and technical know-how to answer these questions and many more for the next century and beyond.

STEM is powerful because it is universal. Mathematics, Javascript, the laws of physics – these languages and principles transcend borders, religions, genders, and other qualities that we use to define ourselves. If you know these skills, you can collaborate with anyone to solve an issue. In fact, having diverse people involved increases the chances you will find a new solution. By fusing your unique perspectives on a particular problem, you are likely to see solutions that no one individual could have discovered on his or her own. Just recently, a Turkish scientist Prof. Dr. Metin Sitti made the news for his invention of nano-robots that can deliver medicines more capably to the site of disease. He completed his PhD in Japan, did research at University of California-Berkley, and taught for 16 years at Carnegie Mellon University. Today he is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, and I’m sure his collaboration with Japanese, American, German and other international researchers was a key factor in his success.

Unfortunately, the demand for STEM experts still far outpaces the supply. Many students’ only exposure to STEM fields are in the classroom—poring over textbooks, memorizing equations, or at best, staring into beakers in dreary laboratories. These experiences aren’t likely to spark the passion and drive necessary to dedicate one’s life to solving the world’s greatest challenges through STEM. That’s why this STEM & Makers Fest and Expo is important. By engaging with STEM in an interactive, hands-on way, kids will feel inspired and empowered at what they can achieve.

Hacettepe University and their partners show great vision in bringing hands-on experiences with STEM to students in Malatya and their families. We at the U.S. Embassy are pleased to support them. Teşekkürler.


Yazar Hakkında:

Dr. Metin Şardağ
Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi, İlköğretim Bölümü, Fen Bilgisi Öğretmenliği ABD | Bireylere bilimin merakı ve heyecanının yaşatılabilmesi, 21. yy becerilerin kazandırılabilmesi,  PISA sonuçlarının değerlendirilmesi ve argümantasyon üzerine çalışmalar yürütmektedir
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