STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Rebecca Lucore (Bayer)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on October 29, 2012
Rebecca Lucore- Executive Director, Bayer USA Foundation; Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Bayer Corporation
Rebecca L. Lucore has directed Bayer Corporation’s, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education partnerships and flagship program Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) since 2000. Ms. Lucore has worked with several school districts across the United States to assist them in implementing systemic science education reform and is an advocate for diversity and underrepresentation issues in STEM. She is Board President of Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching (ASSET STEM Inc.) in Pittsburgh and serves as an advisory committee member for the National Governors Association’s STEM Center and Chairs the Diversity and Underrepresentation Committee for Change the Equation.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
Senior leaders first need a firm understanding of just how important STEM is to our country’s success. They must also acknowledge that a lot of talent often times gets overlooked at best and discouraged at worst. Leaders need to understand just how critical it is to bring all of the nation’s talent to the STEM table and then support education programs that do just that. And lastly, it’s absolutely critical to provide inclusive learning environments for everyone.
What principles do you, as a leader, apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
STEM is all about the “3C’s” – curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. Most scientists and engineers don’t tackle a problem by knowing the answer at the outset. It’s about using the 3C’s, over and over again, if necessary, to arrive at the answer. I try to keep this in mind both professionally and personally. As the mother of three young boys, I give myself permission to not know all the answers to their questions, but rather say to them “let’s find out together.”
What about STEM gives you passion?
STEM professionals are on the front lines of innovation. They develop the new processes, products and technologies we use in everyday life -- whether it’s a new form of “green” energy, a new method of delivering clean water to people in the developing world, a new bridge that cuts our commuting time in half or a new medicine that prevents heart disease.
Of what one initiative are you most proud?
More than 17 years ago, Bayer spearheaded a hands-on, inquiry-based science education program to improve student learning inPittsburgh, at a time when new education initiatives tended to fail within two years. It’s the same time I started my career at Bayer and I’ve watched as this organization known as ASSET STEM Education grew from two school districts to hundreds of districts acrossPennsylvania. Seventeen years later, it’s still around and helping prepare tens of thousands of children to be better learners and for their role in the future workforce. And 17 years later, I have an eight-year-old benefiting from the program. Nothing made me prouder than the day he brought home his ASSET science notebook to share with me.
Which woman leader do you most admire, and why.
Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the Belfast-born physicist who, as a young graduate student in the field of radio astronomy atCambridgeUniversity, discovered pulsars in 1967. One of the major scientific discoveries of the 20th century, she was completely dismissed by her professor at the outset, but she persisted when she noticed a consistent blip in the data coming back from her telescope. Of course, her professor went on to win a Nobel Prize for her discovery. When Jocelyn was in high school, her parents had to fight to get her included in science courses. At that time, girls took home economics. But her parents prevailed, and she’s gone on to have a stellar career. For her awesome intellect, her sheer tenacity and overwhelming sense of joy and humor, you can’t help but admire Jocelyn Bell Burnell.