STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Jan Morrison (TIES)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on August 20, 2012
Jan Morrison’s unique expertise supports clients in crafting a STEM education vision and blueprint for innovative STEM school design that prepares all students for college and career pathways. In the past five years Morrison has: served national clients, including the OSTP, NASA, PBS Kids, DoL, NGA, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Clinton Global Initiative; worked with 18 states to launch innovative statewide STEM initiatives and networks; and delivered STEM education to numerous schools across the country. Morrison also advises corporations like General Electric, Intel and Chevron on their STEM education agendas.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
A nation is predicated on a robust future; the future depends on workforce innovation that will make life better for its people – gainful, strong and healthier. STEM has always been a part of this, we’re just now revisiting the how-to and looking at it a different way.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
Leaders need to be able to understand a good idea when they see it. They must enable talent from within their organization and must also understand the limitations of themselves and the organization they represent. Only then can they go after partnerships that complement and advance their thinking. They cannot ‘own it’ as that will only lead to tunnel vision; they must be a part of the movement! They must be comfortable with being disruptive and must manage and find the perfect balance of risk.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
We need to be more than just a role model; we need to take their hand. Girls must be able to count on themselves from the moment they come into this world and that comes from enjoying the challenges that are before them and loving every second of what they do. When they ask why, nurture the why. We shouldn’t look to them to be boys; they are not going to be male scientists and engineers, they are going to be female scientists and engineers. It’s not about a woman fitting into a man’s world, it’s about a woman creating a STEM world for women!
Who is your STEM role model and why?
Leon Lederman. He won a Nobel Prize in Physics. He had the guts early on to recognize that he needed to be directly involved in his students’ lives so that all the work he did and could bring to the world to advance mankind’s understanding of the universe wouldn’t fall on deaf ears. And he has an amazing sense of humor!
Kathy Sullivan. She was the first woman in space and fixed the Hubble Space Telescope. I know her quite well. She focused her life and devoted herself to STEM. Nobody has the enjoyment that she has around the work – it just oozes from her.
Of what one initiative you are most proud?
I’m most proud of the schools that I’ve been associated with creating. These schools have set the world on fire for those children. I’ve encountered the hardest of children, in the hardest of times, with the hardest subjects doing phenomenal work and finding a future that they would never have had. I can’t believe I’ve had the chance to be a part of the students’ lives. There isn’t anything more important than those children’s and families’ lives.