LU College of Engineering hosts annual Teacher STEM Seminar

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the College of Engineering hosted their annual “Teacher STEM Seminar” which gives local K-12 educators a chance to receive the latest content and applications to drive future engineers and scientists.  

“Each year BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals kicks off its community relations initiatives sponsoring a STEM workshop at Lamar University’s College of Engineering to engage our engineers and area teachers to discuss topics most relevant to industry,” said Shelly Vitanza, manager of Community and Government Affairs at BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals, LLC. “The workshop exemplifies focus and helps us connect with local teachers as well as with Lamar University’s College of Engineering leadership, to share with them the skills currently needed in industry and to learn how we can further partner throughout the year on any STEM initiatives the schools have or hope to have. We’re grateful to Lamar University’s College of Engineering for planning and organizing this annual event that is beneficial to educators and industry partners.”

Three engineering faculty members –– Tracy Benson, James Henry and Matma Singh –– offered presentations about leadership, data and environmental education. The trio aimed to teach on emerging technologies in STEM and how educators can best utilize these tools in preparing their students for the future.

“What an exciting day,” chair of chemical and biomolecular engineer, Tracy Benson exclaimed. “The cross pollination between K-12 teachers, leading industry experts and university faculty can only lead to an enriched STEM education for the students of Southeast Texas. Our goal is to increase the opportunity for STEM education, leading to more STEM careers within our community.”Teacher STEM Seminar 2023 (2)

Panels by industry leader BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals, LLC., and a panel with LU students Ryan Shugart and Christine Osborne was offered to engage educators on ideas and experiences as a way to discuss and support collaborations with local schools.

“The seminar keeps me abreast with recent advancements in the field of STEM-like technology and data analysis that I may share not only to my students, but also to my colleagues,” said Emerzen Echvez, mathematics department head at Memorial 9th Grade Academy. “Furthermore, it gives me the opportunity to interact with other professionals who not only help me advocate about STEM, but also help me encourage my students to pursue STEM careers as they become real-life examples in their profession of the importance of mathematics in STEM careers.”

The “Teacher STEM Seminar” is held each year, free of charge, with the hopes of encouraging not only future generations, but all. The LU College of Engineering is committed to being a driving force in the future of STEM and looks forward to seeing what lies ahead.

 For more information on the Teacher STEM Seminar and other COE community events, please visit