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Northeast Oklahoma’s STEM Initiatives were highlighted on an international stage at the Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference, held virtually from Uppsala, Sweden. CIEDA Trustee and University of Oklahoma Professor of Professional Development, Dr. Keith Ballard, showcased the region’s success in preparing students for careers in the high-demand fields of engineering and computer science to educators from across the globe.
This prestigious event, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, focuses on educational innovations and research in engineering and computing education. The conference provides an opportunity for educators from various backgrounds, countries and experiences to network, share ideas and showcase peer-reviewed scholarly contributions in educational research and classroom practice.
“Ensuring students are prepared to transition from school to the workforce is a challenge businesses and educators face around the world,” said Ballard. “The open dialogue, review, and discussion of best practices which occur each year at the FIE Conference are crucial to ensuring Oklahoma remains on the forefront of talent development best practices, and spurs ideas for new and imaginative programming. It was my extreme honor and privilege to share the innovative programs Claremore and Northeast Oklahoma have developed to introduce STEM-based career opportunities and place students on the career pathways to fill the pipeline for these high-demand positions.”
FIE utilizes a two-stage review process that begins with a call-for-papers in June of the year preceding the conference. A short abstract is submitted during the first stage and is peer-reviewed for the conference's possible acceptance. The selected abstracts are then invited to submit full papers for blind peer review. The acceptance rate for abstract selection by the FIE conference in 2019 was 56 percent. Dr. Ballard was one of the few practitioner professors selected to present, meaning in addition to research of an issue, he also has acquired skills and expertise on the subject matter through hands-on experience.
"For the past six years, we have been honored to have Dr. Ballard's knowledge, expertise, and passion for education, guiding the development and implementation of CIEDA's talent development efforts,” said Meggie Froman-Knight, Interim Executive Director for the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority (CIEDA). "We are humbled Dr. Ballard chose to showcase CIEDA's partnerships with our public schools, and the proactive approach the organization is taking to introduce STEM careers and available job opportunities to students in Rogers County. His leadership has been vital to these efforts' success. We cannot thank Dr. Ballard enough for his service and wish to congratulate him on the prestigious honor of being selected to present at the FIE Conference."