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Oklahoma State University

‘Success Starts with STEM’

Friday, November 6, 2015

Mary Hatcher (left) hugs her former student Nina Davuluri, who grew up to be Miss America. Hatcher taught Davuluri in the third grade in Byng, Okla.

The OSU College of Education welcomed reigning Miss America Nina Davuluri to Stillwater in February as part of 2014 Research Week. 

Davuluri served as spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education’s National STEM Coalition with plans to pursue medical school following her stint as Miss America, which ended in September. Davuluri’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) background made her an excellent fit to present at OSU, complementing a range of significant STEM education research and activity happening in the College of Education. 

Davuluri took part in a “Success Starts with STEM” panel of professionals representing various STEM areas. College of Education Dean Pamela “Sissi” Carroll moderated the panel, which included 2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Elaine Hutchison, an advanced math instructor at Fairview High School; Dr. Mark Uhlman, OSU chief flight instructor; Dr. Jennifer Volberding, assistant professor and athletic training program director for OSU; and Dr. Wes Fryer, STEM teacher at Independence Elementary in Yukon and a digital learning consultant.   

The panelists shared how STEM shaped their respective journeys, encouraging the audience to think about STEM beyond traditional labels and illustrating how STEM skills fit in art, science, music and more. 

The College of Education also worked with Stillwater Public Schools to invite the 600-plus third-grade students in the district to hear Davuluri speak. She discussed celebrating diversity and the importance of education and living a healthy lifestyle. Davuluri also fielded questions from the classes. 

Davuluri’s visit to Oklahoma was a homecoming of sorts. She lived in Ada, Okla., between the ages of 4 and 10 and had not returned to the state in years. The program included a surprise visit from her third-grade teacher at Homer Elementary in Byng, Mary Hatcher. 

Watch It on OStateTV

Miss America Nina Davuluri’s presentation to Stillwater third-graders: 

STEM Starts with Success Panel

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