An Educator Q&A with Chariho STEM specialist Susie Scanapieco

An Educator Q&A with Chariho STEM specialist Susie Scanapieco

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What made you want to be a teacher?

“I have always felt teaching was my God-given vocation; I humbly try to do my very best at it daily. My passion for math began when my father would test me with puzzles and riddles after dinner, still some of my fondest memories of him. My love of children came from my mother’s example. She is a natural born teacher; still my exemplar model educator. She explains that to teach well you must learn about your students first, give each one unconditional love and respect, then if then you are passionate about your content, they will learn.”

Please explain your involvement with Chariho’s new INCubator program.

“INCubatoredu is a very exciting entrepreneurial program that encompasses all 21st-century skills i.e. problem-solving and critical thinking, while also providing students with the soft skills so many employers are seeking, like public speaking. Talk about a real-world learning experience! The students in this program will be learning what many entrepreneurs pay big bucks to learn. Developing a business using the Lean Start-up Model and the Business Model Canvas — two internal parts of the program — while still in High School, will make our students highly marketable upon graduation. My involvement in the program will be as Facilitator. Local business partners will also be involved in the program as coaches and mentors. Investors will be invited to give valuable feedback to our students on Pitch Night!”

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

“Chariho has invested in valuable STEM initiatives, therefore as the STEM Specialist, it is rewarding to work with my colleagues and students to make those initiatives become long-lasting quality programs. For example, as one of the first school districts to have full implementation of the CS4RI (Computer Science for Rhode Island), I was proud of our team effort that made it a success for our district. The teachers were such positive early-adopters of what were (at the time) very unclear new expectations, the administrators who supported their efforts, and the students who eagerly learned how to program as early as 5 years old, quickly transforming from users of technology to creators of technology.”

What do you find most challenging about your work?

“One of the biggest challenges that faces the STEM world currently is that, according to the Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey (ACS), women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM workers. In stark contrast, more than 90 percent of nurses in the U.S. are female (also a STEM field), leading many to believe that females are inclined to careers with a clear human connection.  Therefore, my personal challenge is to remind our female population from a very early age that careers in computer programming or engineering far exceed writing video games and building bridges, but could also lead to all sorts of impactful innovations like developing apps that help children with autism or building prosthetics for those in need.”

More about Susie

Hometown: Westerly

Education: Bachelor of arts in mathematics, Manhattanville College; Master of education in secondary education, Mercy College.

Family: Married to my love, Marc; Mommy to my little love, Alessio

Fun Fact: Born in the Bronx, then lived in Hawthorne, New York — the reason I’m a Yankees and Jets fan!

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