Research Triangle Park, N.C., July 31, 2015 — UL, a global safety science company, had the honor of hosting Rhonda Connor, third grade teacher at Underwood Elementary in Raleigh, for her internship as part of the Kenan Fellows Program. Established in 2000, the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiative from North Carolina State University fosters collaboration between K-12 educators and STEM professionals. Connor completed her internship on Friday, July 31, and will start the school year with new ideas for her classroom and plans to develop a spring quarter elective focused on safety science.
“The most important thing for my students is to feel safe — safe to ask questions, safe to brainstorm, safe to make and learn from mistakes,” said Connor. “This notion of safety and understanding of risk became even more apparent while I was at UL, and I have discovered many ways to take what I’ve learned from science and engineering experts and make it relevant to elementary school students.”
Selected as one of only 42 Kenan Fellows in 2015, the summer internship at UL is the centerpiece of Connor’s program. For the past five weeks, Connor was mentored by engineers in the Consumer Technologies group in Research Triangle Park, observing testing of devices such as wireless game controllers and telephone system equipment. She also spent time in the Personal Protective Equipment department to see devices such as life jackets and immersion suits being tested in water, and to see fire protective clothing being stretched, saturated and flame-tested. Drawing on her experience at UL, Connor will develop a nine-week elective focused on exploring the properties of water and fire which will be available to third, fourth and fifth grade students at Underwood Elementary in spring 2016.
“I had a wonderful time at the UL labs — it was like Inspector Gadget’s biggest dream,” said Connor. “Children too often see scientists as men in lab coats and microscopes. I want to show them that science takes various forms and promote it as a career choice.”
The Kenan Fellows Program provides relevant, professional learning and leadership development for exceptional teachers through innovative collaborations with research partners in industry, higher education and government. Following a five-week internship experience and two weeks of professional development, Kenan Fellows create original STEM lessons for students throughout the year to drive innovation in North Carolina public schools.
“The Kenan Fellows Program is a model K-12 STEM initiative that helps teachers and their students apply real world science and exploration to the classroom,” said Wyatt Brannan, director of North America Consumer Operations at UL. “We are delighted to partner with Kenan Fellows for the first year, and work with Rhonda to inspire the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.”
To learn more about UL’s education initiatives, visit the Safety Smart website.
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for more than 120 years. Its nearly 11,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit http://www.UL.com.