Longietti lauds selection of Schaller as ‘STEM ambassador’

HERMITAGE, March 13 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today that Lori Schaller has been named a 2020 Pennsylvania STEM ambassador – one of 28 experts tapped to positively shape the state’s education policy.

Longietti, who sponsored Schaller for the position, said he is looking forward to the progress she and the other experts will make in advancing education policy statewide in areas such as computer science, workforce development and STEM ecosystems – enriched learning environments that allow students to learn in diverse settings such as schools, museums and science centers. 

“Pennsylvania has a progressive record when it comes to policies promoting education in the ever-important science, technology, engineering and math fields,” Longietti said. “Advocates like Lori, who bring expertise and innovative ideas to the table, will keep the commonwealth moving forward in this area by developing policies to ensure STEM education remains a priority of our state education system.

“Those policies help ensure that new generations of students continue developing the skill sets they need for today’s high-tech jobs, and employers have access to a talented pool of workers they need to remain competitive.”

Laura Saccente, director of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network, agreed that Pennsylvania is considered a leader in STEM policy and said that experts like Schaller perform a critical role.

“We need to develop leaders across the state to advocate for bipartisan support in advancing STEM education policies to affect change,” Saccente said. “STEM ambassadors have been a vital part in shaping STEM education and workforce policies, such as PAsmart and the landscape of STEM learning ecosystems.”

The STEM ambassadors represent leaders and emerging leaders in corporate, PreK-12 and higher education, and afterschool programs from 18 counties. They have agreed to invest the next nine months in training and policy development to share expertise and content knowledge with influential stakeholders to help develop a stronger voice in shaping STEM education policy issues.

Schaller works as project director of 4Catalyst Initiative and STEAM Academies, United Way of Mercer County.