STEM Or STEAM? "Not Your Average Speakers'' Weigh In At MOSI-Tampa

Think about the jobs of tomorrow and what today's youth will need as adults to land those jobs and compete in the global marketplace.

Science? Technology? Engineering? Math?

What about the arts, philosophy, history, reading, writing and humanities?

STEM or STEAM? Or STEM and STEAM? Or does a study concentration in either matter? What should the private sector and the public -- aka your tax dollars -- do to ensure that we and our kids are prepared for the future? What is the best way to do that? Or are there multiple ways? What’s working in Tampa Bay as role models for others?

Those are among the questions 83 Degrees Media's "Not Your Average Speakers'' will engage in a community conversation about shaping what's next in education and the workforce.

The "Not Your Average Speakers'' series invites our readers -- thought leaders, influencers, innovators, techies, designers, arts aficionados, academics, creatives and traditional business types -- to engage in conversations designed to advance the community dialogue on important issues.

We'll be at MOSI Tampa from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

Look Who's Talking

Deborah Neff -- director of operations at Tampa Bay WAvE in downtown Tampa. A former contract administrator at Ramcon Inc. and project manager at Verizon Wireless, Neff now helps call the shots at the one of the hottest startup incubators in Florida.  Tampa Bay WAvE, a nonprofit that helps "entrepreneurs turn ideas into growing tech ventures,'' started as a meetup group in 2008. It moved into the Rivergate Tower in 2012 thanks to a federal grant earned in conjunction with community partners such as the University of South Florida, and now counts more than 80 startups as members.

Larry Thompson -- president of Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. Thompson has long argued that discussions about STEM, particularly when it comes to funding for higher education, should be turned into STEAM to include the arts. Studying arts expands your brain to enable deeper thinking about all things. And arts, as much as anything, add to the quality of life and what makes people choose the city where they want to live. So economic development and public policy decisions driven solely by STEM fail to capitalize on the full energy created by STEAM.

Terry Boehm -- president of the Pinellas Education Foundation for almost 12 years. On his watch, the Foundation has successfully engaged a coalition of business and community leaders in Pinellas County to work together to improve the quality of public education through public education reform, creating programs to improve student and teacher performance and raising funds for scholarships, grants and teacher recognition. According to the Foundation's website, "some of the most successful Foundation programs are the Doorways Scholarship Program, Enterprise Village and Finance Park, Teach for Excellence Classroom Grants, and the Frances Stavros Career Education Scholarships.''

Wit Ostrenko -- president of the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa. A scientist in aquatic ecology and coastal zone management, Ostrenko has been at the helm of MOSI Tampa for 26 years. The museum offers more than 400 exhibits and events for adults and children, such as Monsters of the Sea, Idea Zone, Mission Moon Base, Einstein on Wine and Passport To Science. Recent blockbuster exhibits included Mummies of the World and Bodies.

Larry Langebrake -- Director of SRI International’s regional laboratory in St. Petersburg, Larry previously led the Center for Ocean Technology at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science and worked in the aerospace industry. He holds an MS degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida and has completed marine science Ph.D. course studies..

Look Who's Keeping It Real

The discussion will be moderated by Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper, an experienced writer, editor, dad and volunteer in the community, who is also a member of Leadership Tampa.

The idea is to talk solutions. To provoke thought. To spur community engagement. To get people out of their silos and into the same room. To make connections. To find opportunities to collaborate.

"Among our goals is to create a forum in which thought leaders and community members can meetup -- often for the first time, engage in conversation, share ideas, discover new opportunities for collaboration and find energy for working together,'' says Diane Egner, publisher and managing editor of 83 Degrees Media.

This particular event is underwritten by MOSI Tampa and Tucker Hall, a Tampa-based public relations and public affairs firm that provides strategic counsel to senior-level managers in the U.S. and Latin America.

To attend and weigh in with your thoughts, simply RSVP by clicking here. And then show up, of course. (Good manners matter too!)

A Little History (SHTEAM, Anyone?)

83 Degrees Media launched the "Not Your Average Speakers'' series in October 2011 with a panel discussion about "What's Working In [Tampa Bay] Cities.'' Since then, local topics have included "Champions for Change,'' "Community Building,'' "Placemaking,'' "Talent Squeeze,'' "Valuing Diversity'' and "Putting P3s To Work,'' "Innovation'' and "Tampa's Curious Quest To Be Cool.''
Videos of past events are posted on the 83 Degrees Media channel on YouTube.

Past events have been held at a variety of cool places, including The Vault in the Franklin Exchange, Hillsborough Community College-Ybor City campus, CAMLS, Jaeb Theater, Stageworks Theatre, Freefall Theatre, The Roosevelt 2.0, Walker Brands and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. To suggest a venue to host a future event, email 83 Degrees.

83 Degrees Media covers growth, investment and social innovation in the Tampa Bay region by featuring stories about Talent, Innovation, Global Diversity and Environment -- a new narrative for a new economy. "Not Your Average Speakers'' features creative, innovative and influential people in and around Tampa Bay who are doing their part to move the region forward.

Tweet about 83 Degrees and the NYAS events on Twitter by using #83DegreesNYAS @83degreesmedia. Also, if you’re feeling generous, like us on Facebook. We just might like you back!

Diane Egner is publisher and managing editor of 83 Degrees Media. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.

Read more articles by Diane Egner.

Diane Egner is the publisher and managing editor at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida. 
Signup for Email Alerts