Judd Pittman is Special Consultant to the Secretary of Education for STEM, Pennsylvania Department of Education.
I took a meandering pathway. B.S. Juniata College in Ecology, M.S. Virginia Tech in Forest Ecology, M.ED. Eastern University in Multi-Cultural Education. Eight years as a public school science teacher in Harrisburg City School District, three years as an Educational Consultant with the last two of those years working with the Secretary of Education.
What drew you to work in the STEM education field?
I grew up along the Juniata River in Pennsylvania where I spent a ton of my childhood outside. I love spending time on the water or in the woods. Nature has always fascinated me and been my place for reflection and renewal.
What do you think can be accomplished within the framework of the Ecosystems that can’t be done (or is more difficult) without it?
Quote by John Muir: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” This quote exemplifies the importance of STEM Ecosystems and the ecosystem approach in general. It reminds us that a healthy system is interconnected and abundant with diversity. The STEM Ecosystems recalibrate all of us back to this reality by providing a safe space for all stakeholders (in school, out of school, post-secondary, workforce, guardian, student, teacher administrator, Boys and Girls Club, business, policy maker) to come to the table, break through the barriers and ignite conversations and the sharing of information that may help to reimagine learning into a connected and integrated endeavor.
What’s the most fun and/or rewarding part of your job?
Getting an opportunity to see students and teachers in classrooms across the commonwealth excited about learning and coming to work. In any classroom I get to visit students are always super engaged and teachers are so enthusiastic about STEM experiences.
Who was a role model for you when you were younger?
My favorite teacher, Mr. David Patton, third grade. He was so thoughtful and focused on building life lasting relationships with his students. He sent all of us a letter we wrote to ourselves upon high school graduation and then a second letter we wrote to ourselves upon college / post-secondary graduation. He still sends me a birthday card to this day. Education is built on community and relationships. Thank you, Mr. Patton.
Judd was selected to be a member of LEAD STEM, a unique leadership development experience tailored for STEM Learning Ecosystem leaders and emerging leaders focused on developing talent to create a new generation of individuals who have vested interests in advancing STEM and its core principles throughout the US. Congratulations, Judd!
Read more about Judd’s work with STEM Ecosystems and the Pennsylvania Department of Education here.