Joann DiGennaro - Center for Excellence in Education
President & Co-Founder
Joann P. DiGennaro is the President of the Center for Excellence in Education. She established the Center with the late Admiral H.G. Rickover in 1983 to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to promote collaboration among future scientific and technological leaders in the global community. Ms. DiGennaro has negotiated educational science programs with 52 nations to date. Ms. DiGennaro received her BS Degree from Purdue University, her MS from the University of Maryland, and her Juris Doctorate Degree from George Mason University.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
The challenges of this decade and onward will be met by addressing the question: “What are they learning in U.S. Colleges and Universities?” Only by careful problem solving, the development of critical thinking and excellent verbal and written skills can our workforce tackle critical issues of environment, health, energy, national security and agriculture. Innovation and global leadership in STEM are dependent on rigorous curricula for K-16 students, including the recognition that profoundly talented students in math and science also must have their potential met.
Of what one initiative you are most proud?
The Research Science Institute, the USA Biology Olympiad and the Teacher Enrichment Program sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education are its most esteemed programs recognized nationally and internationally. The Center has never wavered from continuing to sponsor its programs cost free for all students competitively selected to attend which thereby levels the playing field for young scholars from diverse economic backgrounds. The RSI was extended to young scholars in Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2011. The Center is very proud that it is the first academic program in the Kingdom for high school students where females study alongside males to pursue STEM careers.
Which woman leader do you most admire, and why?
Angela Merkel of Germany and Lady Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom are my role models for their focused analyses of the needs and challenges of their respective nations, and for their unwavering strength and principles, regardless of political pressure. I believe that their leadership has been/was enriched from having analytic training in science and math.
What about STEM gives you passion?
My passion is to excite secondary school and university scholars along with teachers in STEM to foster creativity and to fall in love with scientific and technological exploration to answer exciting questions about the universe. Mastering science and technology is not about what is known, but whatis not known. There is nothing more thrilling in academics then to help others reach for the flight of fancy, to ask seemingly absurd questions, and then EUREKA….to better understand the riddles of the universe science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).