Lately at the Readiness Institute: campus workshops, Summer Program prep, community engagement, and more

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2023? As we enter the summer season at the Readiness Institute, we are excited to share all of the connections and activities that have helped prepare future generations for opportunities and challenges in their schools and communities. Here’s a closer look.

Community Workshops

Students sit at a round table during the Greater Allegheny workshopWhat does the future of artificial intelligence (AI) look like? That’s the question our team posed to high school students during a community workshop this spring at Penn State Beaver. Thanks to funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, we’ve had the opportunity to continue hosting the workshops for high schoolers at several of the regional Penn State campuses, including Penn State Beaver, Penn State Greater Allegheny, and Penn State Fayette. Our team works with students to cover topics like AI, community readiness, and entrepreneurship and how they can use these tools to be successful in their personal and professional pathways. Leaders at the campuses then provide tours and a deeper look into college life — including some fun activities like LED light painting at Greater Allegheny!

STEM Summit

stem summitIn April, more than 300 students and educators from around Southwestern Pennsylvania joined the Readiness Institute, Pittsburgh Technology Council, and Fortyx80 for the 2023 STEM Summit. They had a great opportunity to hear about STEM–related careers and meet with more than 20 businesses, including AYA Instruments, POGOH, Aurora, Microsoft, Gecko Robotics, Google, and more. The day started at the Energy Innovation Center with presentations about Industry 4.0 from Dr. Kevin Snider (chancellor of Penn State New Kensington) and Kelvin King (chairman and CEO of Alpha Drones USA), followed by breakout sessions. It ended with several site visits to workplaces around the region. Read more about the day on our blog.

Learner Design Process

pps workshopEarlier this year, the Readiness Institute and Future Ready Schools launched the Future Ready Learner Design Process toolkit for school leaders. It encourages all school leaders to share their experiences and have a voice in the decision-making process and includes four interactive activities to answer the question, “What are the essential skills, knowledge, characteristics, and dispositions that learners need to possess in order to be future ready?” Last year, our team and Future Ready Schools facilitated a workshop that piloted the design process with Pittsburgh Public Schools CTE division. The resource is free and available now!

Readiness Institute Summer Program

students at lionIt’s still a few weeks until summer, but our team has been busy preparing since January! Hundreds of passionate and unique students in Allegheny County applied for the Readiness Institute 2023 Summer Program, and the team selected 45 individuals to participate. They’ll kick off the program on Monday, June 26, at the Energy Innovation Center, then spend the next six weeks exploring community and future readiness. The Readiness Institute is also piloting the Summer Program in Central Pennsylvania this summer with 24 students from school districts in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset counties.

Earlier this year, the Readiness Institute team also added a new member! Fred Quinn III joined as alumni network coordinator, working with learners who have completed the Summer Program. He has started to catch up with alumni of the 2021 program — you can read more about what they’re up to on our blog.

In the Community

Community Engagement Award

Angela Mike and Justin Aglio stand at a podiumThe Readiness Institute team was recently honored with the Community Engagement Award from Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) during the Career and Technical Education (CTE) commencement ceremony. Angela Mike, executive director of the CTE division of PPS, presented the award to Justin Aglio and highlighted the valued partnership between the school and the Readiness Institute. Read more about the award on Penn State News.

Pittsburgh Promise Gala

Fred, Emma, and Justin dressed up for the gala.Who doesn’t love the opportunity to dress up and celebrate a legacy? The Readiness Institute team attended the Pittsburgh Promise Gala in April to celebrate the work of the organization in inspiring and empowering PPS students and to honor the late Franco Harris. The first five Franco and Dana Harris Scholars of the Pittsburgh Promise were also announced at the event.

Schools That Can

Participants at the Schools That Can event sit around tables in a conference roomLeaders in the local education community joined our team along with Schools That Can in March to chat about the question “what will universities look like in 5 years?” It was a great discussion led by Dr. Tom Ralston!

Moonshot Poster Contest

hope moonshot posterThe student winners of the Moonshot Poster Contest were announced in early April. The contest was hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Moonshot Museum, Astrobotic, and the Readiness Institute at Penn State and invited PA students in grades 3–12 to combine art and science to celebrate the launch of Astobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander this year. Check out the winners and their posters.

We’re just getting started! Stay tuned to hear more about our 2023 Summer Program and all the other great things we have planned for the rest of the year.