Thank you to everyone who attended STEM Forward’s 15th Annual sySTEMnow Conference on Nov. 7, 2018. More than 250 educators, school administrators, business executives and students attended this year’s event. View the slideshow below.


7:30 - 8:30 a.m.         Registration
8:30 - 8:45 a.m.         Welcome
8:45 - 9:15 a.m.         Keynote Presentation: Erin White of STEMconnector will present “The State of STEM in America Today.” Click here to view Erin’s presentation.
9:15 - 9:30 a.m.         Break
9:15 - 11:30 a.m.       Generation STEM — See exciting demonstrations by STEM students.
9:30 - 10:20 a.m.       Breakout Sessions — Round 1
                                Ask, Make, Innovate: The Power of Maker Spaces
                                The Implications of Industry 4.0 on Workforce
                                Making Mathematicians
                                Agile Methodologies in High School
10:30 -11:20 a.m.      Breakout Sessions — Round 2
                                Girls in STEM
                                STEM & Storytelling
                                Jumpstarting STEM Careers
                                Digital Disruption in an Era of Artificial Intelligence Requires New Skills
11:30 -12:05 p.m.       Lunch
12:05 - 12:30 p.m.     2018 Excellence in STEM Awards
12:30 -1:15 p.m.        Keynote Presentation: Kelli Wells, Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation. Kelli will share some of the latest national findings on STEM talent and education. Click here to view Kelli’s presentation.
1:15 - 1:25 p.m.          Break
1:25 - 2:15 p.m.          Breakout Sessions — Round 3
                                 Education Fuels Milwaukee Tech Hub
                                 Encouraging Under-represented Students in STEM & Entrepreneurship
                                 Math, Art & Code
2:15 - 3:30 p.m.     Reception with Refreshments

Meet the 2018 STEMMY Award Winners!


Find out who received an Excellence in STEM Award this year! Honorees were awarded at STEM Forward's sySTEMnow Conference on Nov. 8, 2018.

2018 Keynote Speakers

Breakfast Keynote: Erin White of STEMconnector

Erin White

Erin White

Erin White is Senior Director, Product Development & Research at STEMconnector, where she leads efforts to produce actionable insights for members and the field through the research and analysis. White brings a breadth of experience working in the social sector, with an emphasis on translating ideas to action and creating innovative partnerships between business, government, nonprofits, and foundations to tackle complex social problems.

Prior to joining STEMconnector, she served as Senior Director at America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest network of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. While there, she was lead researcher and author of Our Work: A Framework for Accelerating Progress for Young People in America, which outlines the practices and policies that will help create the conditions for young people to succeed and contribute in education, the workforce, and their communities.

White also previously led projects at FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm. She worked alongside communities to plan, implement, and evaluate their cross-sector, “collective impact” initiatives focusing on education, health, and community development. White’s first role in public service was as Senior Advisor to the Secretary at U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she led the Faith-Based and Community Initiative. She developed policy to expand and enhance partnerships with nonprofit organizations across $19B in domestic food and nutrition assistance, international food aid, and rural development programs.

White has authored numerous pieces on community collaboration, policy, and other topics, and has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and Collective Impact Forum (a partnership with the Aspen Institute). Passionate about teaching and learning alongside community leaders, White is a faculty member for the Rider-Pool Foundation Collective Impact Fellowship.

White holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University and an M.Sc. in Public Policy and Administration, with honors, from the London School of Economics.

2018 Keynote Speaker: Kelli List Wells, Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation

Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells

Kelli List Wells is the Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation. Her portfolio focuses on building education, skills and training initiatives to prepare the next generation for the demands of the workforce and the changing labor economy both nationally and globally. 

Wells joined GE in 1995 as an Investment Broker with GE Asset Management. In 1996, she was appointed to Quality where she became a Black Belt in Six Sigma. After her role in Quality, she managed International Marketing for GE’s Retail Services Division. In 2001, she joined the corporate citizenship team at GE Capital, where she held responsibilities around global programs. In 2004, she was appointed to her current role at the GE Foundation. Prior to joining GE, Wells spent five years as a licensed financial advisor, holding her Series 7 and Series 63 Investment licenses.

Wells is also a member of various non-profit organizations. She serves on the board of directors for the Bridgeport Public Education Foundation. She served on the executive board of GE’s Volunteer organization in Stamford; President of the Fairfield County Contributions Group; the distribution committee of United Way; the board of the Parent Leadership Training Institute; the board of the Connecticut Academy of Education; and member of the Stamford Mayor’s council for School Readiness. She led the Stamford Achieves initiative in Stamford, CT, which brought the community together to look at and address the Achievement Gap. 

Wells studied International Relations and Japanese at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and continued her education at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan.  

What is “sySTEMnow”?

  • sySTEM is an acronym for Strengthening our Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

  • Now! means now!

Since 2004, the annual sySTEMnow conference has become a cornerstone of STEM-related awareness in our region:

  • Raising awareness of STEM-related issues.

  • Exchanging best practices from existing STEM programs.

  • Developing, promoting and implementing education-workforce partnerships.

  • Providing networking opportunities for STEM stakeholders.


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