Maryland Chamber Foundation, George Mason University, and Amazon team up to provide 20 teachers computer science externships

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
March 18, 2021
Contact: Eleanor Goedeke
(301) 325-4777
egoedeke@mdchamber.org

Maryland Chamber Foundation, George Mason University, and Amazon team up to provide 20 teachers computer science externships

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Chamber Foundation and George Mason University have teamed up with Amazon to provide a unique teaching externship to 20 current and potential computer science teachers at public schools in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The program will provide the newly chosen teachers with an externship at Amazon during the summer of 2021 that will help teachers gain valuable computer science and career knowledge they can pass on to their students. The chosen teachers will also complete a six-week graduate-level companion course focused on project-based learning at George Mason University in the College of Education and Human Development.

The 20 teachers include:

In a virtual setting, the teachers will work with and learn from Amazon professionals in the computer science industry. Teachers will develop curriculum and classroom materials that integrate Amazon technologies to help their students learn about cutting edge tools and relevant careers. The teachers will also gain invaluable experiences and perspectives that they can share with their students—through field trips, enhanced lesson plans and exciting classroom activities.

The initiative is part of Amazon Future Engineer – Amazon’s childhood-to-career computer science education program. Amazon Future Engineer inspires and educates millions of students globally, including hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S. each year. Students explore computer science through school curriculum and project based learning using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. Amazon Future Engineer also awards 100 students each year with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon, and celebrates teachers with professional development and $25,000 Teacher of the Year Awards. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million commitment to STEM and computer science education. The program is available in the U.S., UK, Canada, and France.

“We know teachers have a powerful impact on the lives of their students and on our communities,” said Victor Reinoso, Global Head of Amazon Future Engineer. “We’re excited to support teachers with new experiences that they can bring back to the classroom, and we look forward to welcoming these 20 teachers to Amazon this summer.”

George Mason Secondary Education Assistant Professor Erdogan Kaya will teach a three-credit course entitled “Project-Based Learning in Computer Science.” In the class, teachers will develop a participants problem-based learning lesson plan. The plan will implement design thinking by focusing on emerging computer science concepts such as robotics, cybersecurity, or artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning algorithms, including voice and video recognition. The course, which will also include equity and inclusion modules, will be offered virtually. The teachers will meet three times on George Mason’s Fairfax campus, with optional lab hours also available.

“We believe this project will help expand the number of integrated and stand-alone computer science classes offered in schools and increase the participation of females and other underrepresented students in computer science courses,” Kaya said. “We also believe that introducing teachers to the latest computing trends and skills that are needed in computing fields will bring more relevance to computer science instructions in schools. These experiences and activities will lead to more computer science pathways for more students in Virginia.”

The Maryland Chamber Foundation is in its third year of offering teaching externships to Maryland educators. The foundation aims to bridge the gap between businesses and educators by pairing high school teachers with top Maryland businesses. Last summer, teacher externs worked at some of Maryland’s anchor businesses, including Baltimore Gas & Electric, KCI Technologies, Leidos, and Stanley Black & Decker. The Maryland Chamber Foundation provides Maryland externs with a stipend and the ability to earn up to four continuing professional development (CPD) credits from the Maryland State Department of Education.

“With the goal that all students are prepared for college and 21st century careers, teachers must stay up to date on the job market and current technology,” said Whitney Harmel, vice president of membership and development for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. “By bridging the gap between educators and businesses, teachers and students are empowered with this wealth of new information. We can create real pathways for our diverse population of Maryland students to follow towards lucrative careers in STEM.”

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About the Maryland Chamber Foundation

Established in 1987, the Maryland Chamber Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on the research and educational objectives of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. The Foundation supports research on issues important to businesses, including analyses of the Maryland economy and business climate. This research drives solutions in education, talent pipeline, and workforce development. With the goal of improving the connection between business, education, and all Marylanders, the Maryland Chamber Foundation focuses on building partnerships to leverage and enhance existing programs. Learn more at www.mdchamber.org/foundation.

About George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development

The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, inspires undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students to promote learning and development across the life span. Innovative, inclusive, and cutting-edge, the college and its 30 academic programs that spread across three schools (School of EducationSchool of Kinesiology, and School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management) prepare professionals who improve lives and make a difference for the community and for the world. The college is a nationally recognized leader in educator preparation, special education, counseling, and school leadership; prides itself in far-reaching expertise that includes sport management, human performance, athletic training, recreation management, and tourism and events management; and is home to nine centers engaged in groundbreaking research. Learn more at www.cehd.gmu.edu.

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