College of Science & Engineering

Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education


a photo of Irwin Slesnick

The late Dr. Slesnick retired in 1996 after a 33-year career on Western's College of Sciences and Technology biology faculty. During his 33 years in the biology department, he profoundly impacted thousands of students and future science teachers. His vision and tireless advocacy for improving science education played a critical role in gaining approval for constructing the Science Education Building and influenced its unique design. Slesnick was instrumental in the establishment of the current SMATE program housed in the building that continues the work he started. The annual Irwin L. Slesnick STEM Education Symposium is a tribute to his memory.

Recent Slesnick Symposium:

Friday, April 26, 2019 

This year’s theme Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM encouraged participants to examine how they can contribute to broader participation and interest in STEM.  

Students, faculty, and educators from the surrounding community are invited to participate in events that will take place throughout the afternoon and evening.

About Our Speakers:

Image of Dr. Jonte' Taylor

Dr. Jonte’ Taylor, (JT) is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).  Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on the intersections of school/classroom climates and how they affect students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education-related outcomes.  Specifically, he has focused on the broad question of: “What are the theories, supports, and practices needed to optimize learning opportunities and maximize STEAM-related outcomes for SWD”?  As a former classroom teacher, JT has worked with a variety of individuals and students including adults with severe cognitive disabilities and students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and emotional/behavioral disorders.  He has also had the opportunity to teach in multiple settings from group homes to lockdown facilities and inclusive and self-contained classrooms.  Dr. Taylor is currently on the Special Needs Advisory Committee for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and is the current president of the Science Education for Students with Disabilities, an associated group of NSTA.  In his time at Penn State, Dr. Taylor has co-taught or consulted in STEM education courses, co-written to book chapters related to science instruction for students with disabilities, and published numerous research and practitioner articles to support students and teachers in STEAM instruction.

Image of Dr. Beronda MontgomeryBeronda Montgomery is MSU Foundation Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University. Montgomery conducts research on the means by which plants and cyanobacteria are able to monitor and adjust to changes in their external environments. The ability of these largely immobile organisms to adapt to dynamic environments increases their survival and maximizes productivity. Dr. Montgomery also conducts scholarship and training initiatives on effective research mentoring, research management and academic leadership, including issues related to mentoring diverse students and junior scientists, as well as faculty development. Dr. Montgomery received an NSF CAREER Award, is an 2017-2019 American Society of Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2018.

Schedule of Activities:

12:00-1:00 Lunch and Learn (open to all participants) (in the Learning Resource Commons, LRC, SL 220)

1:00-2:45 K12 Workshop: How to Make Science for Most, Science for All: Supporting Science Instruction with Evidence-Based Practices (Dr. Jonte’ C. Taylor) (LRC)

1:00-2:45 Higher Ed Workshop:  Charting a Path Towards Personal Success: Mentoring Roadmaps and Network (Dr. Beronda Montgomery) (SL 230)

3:00-4:00 Interactive Session: Identity, Culture, Assumptions, and Norms (I CAN…) (LRC)

4:00-5:00 Plenary Session #1 – Teacher Innovation and Leadership Experiences (TILE): Notes from a Rogue Teacher – Dr. Jonte’ C. Taylor, (SL 130)

5:00-5:30 Reception and Refreshments (LRC)

5:30-6:30 Plenary Session #2— Re-envisioning Mentoring as Learning: Promoting Growth, Reciprocity and Success— Dr. Beronda Montgomery (SL 130)

PDF icon Symposium Flyer 2019.pdf

link to Support SMATE page