July 17, 2017

STEM Studio, D.C. Edition

The Tiger Woods Foundation met Alesha Russey in March 2016 when she attended our first STEM Studio seminar in Washington, D.C. Since then, she has participated in a number of offerings and reached out to us regarding possibly offering a more intensive training for her school and others in the D.C. area. Likewise, she offered her school site to host and has been one of our biggest champions in informing educators of our work in professional development. She shares her takeaway of TGR EDU: Create’s STEM Studio.

The STEM Studio in Washington, D.C. was a prime opportunity to birth the “i” of “The Tiger” through innovation, ingenuity, inquiry and inspirational involvement by the participants. The purpose of this pilot project was to encourage educators to build their STEM knowledge and professional aptitude while applying the Next Generation Science Standards so that teachers can build solid bridges between pedagogical practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in science and engineering with clear comprehension and fidelity.

The purpose of Tiger Woods’ vision and this foundation’s sapience to address the needs of underserved student populations merged with the vision of Myrtilla Miner, the founder of the Washington STEM Studio site, is to empower and educate minority girls and women, the underserved students. Miner Elementary School is located in Washington, D.C.’s historic Capitol Hill Neighborhood. This historic school community is positioned in the largest and most densely populated residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C. which made the two-day pilot program more attractive, along with its public and private transportation accessibility and great parking, which are STEM Studio attendance factors in the nation’s capital.


This two-day pilot program was directly aligned with the Tiger Woods Foundation’s aim: to give students or 21st Century learners the tools for lifelong achievement in the classroom and beyond so that they can ultimately become global competitors. It is believed that the STEM educators can confidently invest more in their students because the participants used this opportunity to first invest in themselves. In theory, when STEM investment is made in teachers, then more students can potentially be reached and impacted.

David Tong and Gyla Bell were the key contributors in ensuring that the Tiger Woods Foundation’s vision for the TGR EDU: CREATE professional development offerings had a greater teacher impact through their expansion from the west coast to the east coast. It is fulfilling to know that over 40 educators are amongst the thousands of educators that were positively impacted with this great STEM education offering.

TGR EDU: Create_GroupShot_OC2017

This premier two-day STEM Studio took place at the end of the school term at Myrtilla Miner Elementary School. This event was strategically offered during the time when most area teachers had concluded their school year but the educators were still mentally tuned into their educational routine and norms. So, this successful trial project was a way for educators to have a “STEMful” and meaningful school year finale of their choice while being energized for upcoming school with relevant tools that align directly with the participants’ own professional needs.

David and Gyla were committed to fulfilling this important training after the inquiry was made to establish STEM professional development partnerships at Miner Elementary School so that teachers can be better prepared at this particular school site to transform it into a STEM school. The amazing pair made efforts to partner in person and their ability to extend themselves beyond a schedule or a pre-existing agenda suggests they are educational visionaries as well.

The preliminary planning for the two-day pilot program officially began in February 2017. Both Gyla and David along with their team handled the logistics from California while permitting the marketing and recruitment efforts, along with the facility usage and operations, to happen locally in Washington, D.C. by myself. This was a great cross-country collaboration.


I believe that continued STEM Studios and professional development opportunities, especially in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, will encourage educators to become more “STEMful” while ultimately transforming the lives of their students with titillating teaching tools. For me, the assembling of diverse minds for this inaugural STEM Studio cohort was refreshing because one could readily observe how individuals approached various STEM tasks by integrating their own experiences, knowledge and skill set for the sake of understanding.

Tell me, and I will forget.

Show me, and I may remember.

Involve me, and I will understand.

-Confucius, 450 B.C.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.