July 11, 2018
by Rick Cooper
Lisa Blank, a professor of science education at the University of Montana, has been named as the new director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.
Blank, who will be based in Newport and start her job on Aug. 13, has a history of building partnerships between industries and organizations in the STEM fields and STEM educators in the academic pipeline from preschool to college. She began her career as an environmental scientist mitigating Superfund sites. She later taught middle- and high-school science and held academic positions at SUNY-Cortland and the University of Montana.
“The Oregon Coast STEM Hub brings together a diverse group of partners to provide student experiences and teacher opportunities the entire length of the Oregon coast,” said Shelby Walker, director of Oregon Sea Grant, which administers the hub. “As an experienced teacher and researcher in STEM education, Dr. Blank will enhance that partnership and work to expand and improve the opportunities for students and teachers to engage in STEM learning.”
Blank, who earned her doctorate in science education at Indiana University, collaborated on projects that provided computer science curriculum, industry internships and professional development for students and teachers across Montana in partnership with Montana State University, Montana-Tech and Salish-Kootenai College. Blank said she loves “making connections between people and ideas and systems” and is excited to serve in her new position as a “partner and resource in advancing STEM opportunities throughout coastal Oregon.”
As director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, Blank will handle its administration, strategic leadership, resource development, management of grant funds, evaluation and high-level public exposure. She will also support the work of a multidisciplinary leadership council, lead STEM Hub staff and engage diverse stakeholders from public and private sectors to achieve regional and statewide goals.
The Oregon Coast STEM Hub promotes integrated science, technology, engineering and math education and serves coastal teachers, students and communities. It is one of several regional STEM Hubs funded by the Oregon Department of Education. The hub is based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport and serves the entire Oregon coast. Oregon Sea Grant has been a foundational partner of the STEM Hub and recently assumed a role as the administrative home for the director.