LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos recently participated in the first meeting of the state’s new MiSTEM Advisory Council this month in Lansing. Proos was appointed to serve on the 15-person panel as one of two senators and two House members.
“I have long supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, because these rigorous areas of study are vital to the future of our state and nation,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “It is an honor to serve on this council, which is dedicated to improving STEM education in our state and promoting innovation and collaboration in STEM so that we can best prepare students for careers in these critical fields.”
The council is tasked with making recommendations to the governor and the Legislature by March 1 on a statewide strategy for delivering STEM education-related opportunities to students and an objective criteria for determining preferred STEM programs.
“Michigan’s economy is growing and creating jobs, yet thousands of these jobs remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills,” Proos said. “I look forward to working with the council and state leaders to create a comprehensive STEM education plan that can help prepare all Michigan children for success and also meet the skilled workforce needs of a growing economy.”
In 2015, Proos co-sponsored Senate Bill 491 to make it easier for professionals with expertise in certain fields to become effective classroom teachers, and he sponsored Senate Bill 169 as part of three-bill package to allow students to receive a STEM certification on their high school diplomas.
Proos was also successful in enacting Public Act 288 of 2014, which encourages schools to establish applied learning programs that award credit toward a college degree or an industry-recognized professional certificate.
“The council is the next step in an ongoing effort to ensure all Michigan students are given the opportunity to be successful, obtain a well-paying job and achieve the American Dream.”
The other 11 members on the council are Ralph Charles Dershimer of Ann Arbor, Harrison Ford of Flint, Lee Graham of Fenton, Jim Heath of Richland, Kenneth Kelzer of Royal Oak, Gerald “Jay” Kulbertis of Gladstone, William Joshua Nichols of Pleasant Lake, Kathleen Owsley of Plymouth, Satish Udpa of Okemos, Christian Velasquez of Midland, and Carolyn Wierda of Bay City.
Dershimer is an assistant clinical professor in educational studies at the University of Michigan. He is currently the project manager for the University of Michigan Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Fellowship Program and serves as the director of higher education for the Michigan Science Teachers Association Board of Directors.
Ford is a Kettering University Senior II student and is a mentor for Team 322 Flint FIRE in FIRST Robotics.
Graham is the training coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 324 and is chairman of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee. He is licensed in mine safety and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard.
Heath is president of the instruments division of Stryker Corporation.
Kelzer is vice president of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems of General Motors.
Kulbertis is superintendent of Gladstone Area Schools.
Nichols is a fourth- through seventh-grade STEM teacher at Heritage Elementary School in Stockbridge with over 18 years of experience in the field.
Owsley is executive director of Robert Bosch LLC – Bosch Community Fund.
Udpa is executive vice president for administrative services at Michigan State University and president of the Michigan State University Foundation.
Velasquez is director of marketing at Americas of Dow Corning Corporation.
Wierda is the executive director of STEM@SVSU and co-director of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program at Saginaw Valley State University.
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.