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Local Teachers Take 21st Century Skills Back to the Classroom Thanks to GW 'Teachers in Industry Project' (GWTIP)

GW Program Pairs Loudoun County Teachers with Big Businesses for Lessons in STEM Careers and Curriculum

July 07, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Internships aren’t just for college students anymore. The George Washington University Teachers in Industry Project (GWTIP), hosted by the University's Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va., will pair 16 Loudoun County Public School middle and high school teachers with seven local industry leaders to design renewable energy products for the construction industry, integrate the latest technologies into running a hospital and understand the science behind a good glass of wine. The three-week, full-time program seeks to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the classroom by applying the teachers’ new-found, 21st century knowledge and skills to students’ daily curriculum. The GWTIP program begins Monday, July 12 and ends Friday, July 30.

“We want to offer our teachers exposure to the most current workplace practices, tools, information and understanding of future workforce trends,” said Dr. Janet Schiavone, GWTIP mentor and faculty member within GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD). “STEM education is critical in developing a qualified workforce for the 21st century. With GWTIP, we hope to build a model to provide teachers with an understanding of how these skills and others will best equip their students to be competitive and succeed.”

GW’s program ties into President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” Campaign which urges an increase in STEM literacy so that all students can think critically in science, math, engineering and technology, and move American students from the middle of the pack to top in the next decade.

Following a two-day orientation at GW’s Virginia Campus with CEOs, managers and directors from the region’s leading businesses, REHAU North America, Telos Corporation, Fortessa, Inc. Prototype Productions Inc., Inova Loudoun Hospital, Dulles International Airport and Fabbioli Cellars will each host a team of middle school or high school teachers on-site. Additionally, teachers will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Verizon. Following their on-site experiences, the teachers will spend three days designing lesson plans influenced by their industry experiences.

“I was able to tie conceptual physics principles in the classroom to industry uses,” said Conrad Varblow, a physics teacher at Freedom High School in Loudoun County who participated in the pre-pilot GWTIP program last summer. “Most folks know what dentists do, but few ever see firsthand what engineers and scientists really do for a living. I had a student who wants to be a robotics engineer, so I was able to elaborate on what her roles, responsibilities and required skills set would be.”

Mr. Varblow spent a week with REHAU North America, a worldwide brand for polymer-based innovations and systems in the construction and automotive industry, gaining experience in product engineering, design, 3D modeling and robotics. Mr. Varblow will be participating again in this year’s GWTIP session as a mentor for teachers new to the program.

“Our goal is to train these teachers as best as we can, in the time that we have, in areas that are vital to our local and national economy,” said John Woods, CEO of TELOS Corporation, a provider of advance technology solutions for military, intelligence and civilian agencies. “If we can properly prepare these teachers, we can be confident that they will effectively prepare our emerging workforce talent – students. This is such a unique opportunity for TELOS and the other local businesses partnering with GW and Loudoun County Public Schools in this endeavor. It creates an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between big businesses and education for the greater purpose of securing our nation’s future as a global leader.”

In addition to local businesses providing on-site activities for GWTIP teachers, a total of more than $50,000 was donated to Loudoun County Public Schools and the GWTIP program through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Lockheed Martin to support the overall operation of the program.

Members of the media wishing to schedule a GWTIP site visit, request a schedule of activities or speak with a participating member of the GWTIP program, please contact Courtney Bowe at [email protected] or 202-994-5631.

The GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus, established in Loudoun County in 1991, is a robust center for innovative research, graduate education and regional corporate partnerships. As a University' science and technology campus, it hosts a dozen centers of excellence in critical areas such as energy science and technology, transportation safety and high performance computing. The GW Virginia Campus also combines its research excellence with more than 20 exceptional graduate degree and certificate programs in business, education, and engineering, and unique undergraduate programs in the health sciences. GW has been educating Virginians for more than 50 years, beginning in Hampton Roads in 1958 and expanding its service across the Commonwealth, notably in Arlington, Alexandria and Ashburn. For more information on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, visit



Courtney Bowe - 202-994-5631 - [email protected]
Michelle Sherrard - 202-994-1423 - [email protected]



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