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Stem Institute at Mississippi College Opens Doors


John Hunt

As a young boy growing up in China, he collected bird feathers, moths and postage stamps. As a student at a missionary boarding school in Asia, he got excited about learning.

Fast forward to 2015. Mississippi College education professor John Hunt remains on fire today about learning, discovering new things and teaching young people with innovative methods.

The son of missionaries is the perfect fit as education director at MC’s new STEM institute on the Clinton campus.

“If you are not having fun teaching, then your students are not having fun learning,” is the kernel of truth that serves as the college professor’s motto.

Hunt doesn’t just share his wisdom about teaching science to Mississippi College students. He’s all over the map at Mississippi schools with his fascinating science experiments and lectures reaching over 50,000 students in grades 3-8. More than 5,000 parents have seen him in action.

In October 2010, Hunt showed off his academic talents at the Science and Engineering Festival on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  He made weird sounds from aluminum rods and talked about everything from paper to plastics to curious onlookers. The event attracted over 500,000 people and was promoted by President Obama and the National Science Teachers Association.

These days, the MC professor remains on the hunt to attract teachers from classrooms around the Magnolia State to obtain the benefits of the university’s STEM Institute.

Some Mississippi teachers are expected to enroll in STEM classes on the Clinton campus starting in June. More educators are coming in the fall and next spring. Down the road, MC will offer a master’s degree in STEM education. And there’s much more to come.

STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math. Thanks to a grant from the Mississippi-based Hearin Foundation, the STEM Institute was born and remains a part of MC’s School of Education. A key piece of its mission is to create partnerships between the academic world at the Baptist-affiliated university, schools around the state and businesses.

The assignment is huge for the STEM Institute at Mississippi College and similar ventures on campuses around America.

“U.S. News & World Report” says the USA will have more than 1.2 million unfilled jobs in science, technology, engineering and math by 2018.

Those numbers don’t discourage people like Hunt or STEM Institute director of development Debbie Raddin. They see marvelous educational opportunities ahead.

“All children can get excited about learning through STEM, and project-based learning,” Hunt says.

It’s a goal the MC professor first achieved as the son of missionaries in China and made him become a lifelong learner, Raddin says.

The Mississippi College STEM Institute has already attracted the interest of people from nations around the world. Recent visitors to the MC campus who have met with Hunt and Raddin about the merits of the STEM Institute have come from countries like Liberia and Kyrgyzstan. MC leaders like President Lee Royce, Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Howard and Office of Global Education Director Mei-Chi Piletz are always delighted to welcome the distinguished parade of STEM Institute visitors.

Raddin, who grew up on a Mississippi farm and loved climbing trees as a youngster, believes there are big mountains for the STEM Institute to climb. It got started in the Fall of 2014, and the sky’s the limit.

Look for the MC STEM Institute to supply classes to homeschooled children, promote media and information literacy and equip people with 21st Century skills. In addition, the MC institute seeks to form bonds with similar initiatives nationwide and around the globe.

For more information, contact Debbie Raddin at 601-925-7396 or dbraddin@mc.edu

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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