Coupling science with creativity – S.C. Summit on STEM and Arts taking place in Spartanburg

Coupling science with creativity – S.C. Summit on STEM and Arts taking place in Spartanburg
South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May will speak on behalf of the arts community.

Approximately 400 educators, lawmakers, and business leaders from South Carolina are expected to attend the “S.C. Summit on STEM and the Arts In and Out of School” conference at Chapman Cultural Center Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 29 and 30. The attendees will explore the national hot topic of injecting more Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – and Arts — into the educational and after-school system.

The conference will focus on putting more emphasis on the hard sciences with a goal of better preparing students to enter the technology-based workforce that is quickly becoming the new norm. The opening remarks will be made by The Honorable Dot Harris, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy.

“We are especially glad to hold this annual meeting in Spartanburg and at Chapman Cultural Center,” Tom Peters, Ed.D., Executive Director of South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science at Clemson University, said. “STEM is a rapidly growing movement across the nation, and now the time has come to find out where the arts and creativity fit into the model. Where better than to explore this concept than at a fine arts and science institution such as Chapman Cultural Center?”

The South Carolina Afterschool Alliance and South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science have joined together again to bring a new opportunity for networking, dialogue, and information to thought and action leaders in STEM education. Government, business, faith and community leaders are invited to come together to learn about new programs, curricula, and strategies that can address some of the economic and social issues that confront the children and youth of South Carolina.

One of the most recent developments in STEM’s evolution is the addition of art into the academic mix. This new concept is being called STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Mathematics. “The strategy of linking in and out of school STEAM learning involves cross-sector collaboration,” Zelda Waymer, Executive Director of the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, said. “The partnerships we have created with the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science at Clemson University and Chapman will equip educators from different settings with innovative techniques and advance STEAM learning statewide.”

The event’s keynote speaker will be Chris Desoiza, Vice President of Research, at Milliken and Company. His topic will be Securing the Future Through Innovation. Speaking on behalf of the arts community will be Ken May, Executive Director, South Carolina Arts Commission and board member of the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance. “Between these two leaders, we should have exceptional information and insights into STEM, the arts, and after school,” Dr. Peters said.

“We couldn’t be prouder to host this statewide education conference at Chapman Cultural Center,” Jennifer Evins, President and CEO of Chapman, said. “We are strong supporters of STEM, and we want to make sure that the arts and creativity find their rightful places in the nation’s push to improve the educational system. There is no doubt that more hard sciences need to be taught in the schools. But science has to be coupled with creativity for it to be utilized to its fullest potential. It is when a mind is both scientific and creative that we get the most earth-shaking discoveries and advancements.”

On September 29, the pre-conference will include a S.C. Stakeholders session sponsored by the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Senator Tim Scott has been invited to open the meeting. Featured panelists include Harris; plus Tom Thompson and Molly Spearman, both candidates for SC Superintendent of Education.

During the convention, participants will tour several Upstate businesses, schools, and organizations to get firsthand experience at how STEAM is being utilized in and outside the regular school day.

Registration for the two-day program is $125. This fee includes the workplace tour, lunches, and reception. See the full schedule of sessions, information on group rate lodging, and register at or call (864) 656-1863.

Via: Chapman Cultural Center