Jill Zande

Jill Zande

Transforming education: What does it take to effectively engage and prepare students for careers in STEM?

This is not your parents’ (or grandparents’) classroom! Rather than sitting dutifully at their desks taking notes while their all-knowing teacher stands lecturing, students are up and moving, thinking creatively, collaborating in groups, and seeking out the knowledge and skills they need to solve problems and complete tasks. Their teacher is not the expert (nor expected to be) but rather a facilitator of learning and an enabler, opening doors (literally and figuratively) then getting out of the way.

The world has changed and continues to change. From the Internet of Things to the gig economy to AI and robotics, how do we prepare students for a constantly and rapidly evolving global workplace?

It can be hard to transform traditional classrooms into the example above. But we can do hard things, especially with the help of some very creative educational programs that challenge students to find solutions, develop innovations, think like entrepreneurs, take on leadership roles, and interact with diverse personalities, colors, and cultures, just like they will have to do in the real working world.

SPOILER ALERT! One of these programs will be transforming Northeast Tennessee in 2019.
JILL ZANDE is the associate director, co-principal investigator, and competition coordinator for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center in Monterey, California. She works with industries to ensure that educational programs are aligned with workforce needs and facilitate partnerships among educators, students, employers, and working professionals.

In addition, she is president and executive director of MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting the MATE ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicles) competition and its other programs that inspire and challenge students to learn and creatively apply science, technology, art, engineering, and math (STEAM) to solving real-world problems in a way that strengthens critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

She is a member of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), having served the MTS board as vice president of education and research for six years. She currently serves as the Underwater Intervention (UI) Technical Program Committee Marine Education Track chair and is a member of the MTS ROV and education committees.

She has a bachelor’s degree in biology (with a minor in marine science) from Penn State University and a master’s degree in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University (LSU). Prior to joining the MATE Center, Zande worked as a research associate at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama.