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STEMGen Integrate Launched at AUA

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On December 9, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the launch of the “STEMGen Integrate” initiative. The guests included Republic of Armenia (RA) Former Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport (MօESCS) Zhanna Andreasyan, the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy Jen McAndrew, Acting Director of the “National Center for Development and Innovation in Education” foundation Artashes Torosyan, and AUA Interim President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, each of whom delivered opening remarks elaborating on the mission of the initiative, its current focus, and objectives. 

Established in 2019, the STEMGen program designs teaching and learning resources that are compatible with top-notch pedagogic approaches and intended to transform the teaching and learning methods for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. Since its inception, 1,800 lesson plans were developed by about 100 teachers and tested by more than 300 teachers and 3000 students in both face-to-face and online classes across all the regions of Armenia. With the launch of its fourth year, STEMGen aims to integrate the resource creation processes, tools, systems, and assessment into the educational components followed by state institutions. 

This year, the program will concentrate on developing new educational materials, lesson plans, observation questionnaires, and student learning assessments. It will also pay attention to creating appropriate means for teachers to conduct mock lessons to pique student interest in pursuing a career in STEM-related fields. The program also projects to apply the new approach for creating testing/exam materials in the coming year.

STEMGen aims to develop Armenian education in sectors that have always been regarded as foundational for the country’s security and prosperity. Speaking at the event, Dr. Der Kiureghian delineated the important mission STEMGen aims to achieve, underscoring the crucial support and continuing partnership with the U.S. Embassy and RA Government that makes the implementation of the program effective and impactful. He also recognized the Dean of Akian College of Science and Engineering at AUA, Dr. Aram Hajian, and STEMGen Program Director and Program Chair for Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management Arthur Khalatyan for their efforts in advancing this goal. According to Dr. Der Kiureghian, there was a notable increase in the number of participating teachers during the two-year pandemic when the program ran remotely. 

Jen McAndrewIn her turn, U.S. Embassy representative McAndrew remarked, “The U.S. Embassy is proud to support the “STEMGen Integrate” Initiative, the continuation of the STEM Education for Armenian Youth Project as part of our broad efforts to support Armenian’s growth. Investments in science and education have a long-term impact, and helping to inspire teachers and build the future scientific and engineering leaders of Armenia is a critical component of this undertaking.” Zhanna Andreasyan

In establishing learning standards for the program, the role of the RA MօESCS has been significant. The materials have been incorporated into the teacher training program and the list of educational materials aligned with the new State Curriculum and STEM subject learning standards. Former Deputy Minister Andreasyan, who has put much effort in successful implementation of the program objectives in schools, emphasized the major role of each participant. She noted that along with the ongoing application of STEM learning standards in schools, the upcoming year will primarily focus on the assessment of student learning, proposing new avenues for the success of the project.

Artashes TorosyanSpeaking of the project’s success and significance, Torosyan noted that more teachers have been inspired by the idea of creating professional lesson plans for schools. “We find the word ‘generation’ (referring to the branded title of the program STEMGen(eration), or GitSerund in Armenian) in many titles and we always think it doesn’t refer to us; but the word ‘generation’ is for our generation too, as we ourselves have the strength and willpower to educate the generations together,” he remarked.

Upon completing the third year of teacher certification, the STEMGen program confidently moves forward expanding its influence and training more teachers to meet the new learning standards acquired in the program and lead their students in the fields of STEM subjects.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.