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Ecosystem Spotlight: MetroWest STEM Education Network Joins SLECoP



The new Ecosystem and its leaders have energy, goals, and seek guidance.

By training, Irene Porro is a physicist with a PhD in Space Science and Technology.

By practice, she is a conductor – bringing together people with different expertise to work for a shared goal of promoting equity and diversity in STEM fields.

And by philosophy, she is committed to social justice.

It’s no surprise that Irene, the coordinator of the MetroWest STEM Education Network in Framingham, Mass., also balances additional roles and responsibilities.

She serves as the director of the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning at Framingham State University.

Her approach to her work aligns with the overall goals of the MetroWest STEM Education Network, a newly inducted member to the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice.

“I strongly believe no individual and no individual organization can do it all, and that it is through partnerships and collaborations that we can achieve the best results, no matter the field we work in,” she said.

“Because of my professional and personal experiences, I often found myself working at the interface of science and engineering, science and the arts or science and theology. And I am often the person that tries to bridge fields of knowledge, even when I am not necessary an expert in some of the fields involved.”

Porro said that MetroWest STEM Education Network was eager to join the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice to learn from others and improve.

The MetroWest STEM Education Network has existed for many years, but reached a critical juncture a year ago where leaders decided that they wanted to be a more cohesive organization better able to support STEM efforts of individual members while also leading a few larger initiatives.

Porro is seeking guidance from other ecosystem communities in a few targeted areas:

  • How to effectively coordinate the work of multiple independent organizations
  • How to access current data and information about best practices in STEM education in in-school as well as out-of-school spaces

Personally, she said she is excited to be a part of the movement and join with like-minded people who are striving to find “solutions to complex problems and make a difference in their communities.”

Porro recognizes that MetroWest STEM Education Network has challenges, including getting stakeholders to participate with comparable levels of commitment. But she said she and most of her other stakeholders have an abundance of energy and an unwavering commitment to their work.

“We are an energetic bunch,” she said.

To connect with Irene and offer advice, please feel free to reach out to her at Irene Porro iporro@framingham.edu.