New Beginnings For Our First and Second Cohort

Our second cohort is now in full swing.  Many great things are being implemented in classrooms across Chicago.  While our new fellows are in the beginning phase, our veterans are also in a beginning phase-the beginning of a strong commitment to great leadership.  At the farewell banquet, Punya Mishra reflected on a quote by Winston Churchill, “Now, this is not the end.  It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  Our first cohort consisting of 25 extraordinary educators are now leading the way in STEM education throughout Chicago’s urban schools.

In July, Chrissy Garcia spoke at the farewell banquet on behalf of the 25 fellows from our first cohort.  She immediately acknowledged the amazing instructional team consisting of Akesha Horton, Punya Mishra, Candace Marcotte, and Kyle Shack.  Her words made it quite clear that the members of the 2014/2015 MSU-Wipro Urban STEM fellowship left behind a permanent mark in STEM education. Their impressive accomplishments were referenced in Chrissy’s speech. She reflected on their joint successes including wearable electronics, funding for 3-D printers, programming robots, Global Ozone projects, STEM gardens, Mathapalooza, and family STEM nights. An abundance of STEM-related projects and activities contributed to a very successful year for all of our fellows. She commended each fellow on their hard work and recognized the powerful impact they had in just a short amount of time.  She wrapped it up by reinforcing that their journey as STEM leaders has truly just begun. “We will continue to challenge our colleagues to critically examine their instructional practices and to explore, create, and share!”

Punya Mishra also spoke at the banquet.  In his banquet speech, he instantly thanked Wipro and Anurag Behar for their role in making this whole experience possible. Anurag is Vice Chancellor of Azim Premji University, Co-CEO of the Azim Premji Foundation and Chief Sustainability Officer at Wipro Ltd.  It was an honor to have him present at the banquet along with a team of other supporters from Wipro, Ltd. Punya Mishra also gloated on Michigan State’s relationship with Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  He stated, “MSU has had a long relationship with CPS-and this was an opportunity to build on that. This has been a true partnership and I would like to thank all of the people at CPS who have been involved with this project.”  Mishra expressed his sincere pride in the work that has been done by the truly prodigious team of instructors and participating fellows.  He said there were too many stories to share, but ended his speech with a simple, powerful statement to express his pleasure. He stated, “And personally, thank you for a wonderful year.  I don’t know how to say this, so I will just state it-you have made me very happy and proud.  You have made this year (and I have been doing this for a while) really special.  And for that, I thank you.”

It has been a little over a year since this adventure began. And what an exciting year it has been! We are still celebrating the successes of our first cohort, and look forward to the many that will come from our 2015/2016 fellowship.  Nearly 75 MSUrbanSTEM educators are making a difference all across Chicago. Great things are happening! Stay tuned!

Please click on the pictures below to read their entire speeches.