Jeffrey Wadsworth has been President and CEO of Battelle since January 2009. He has worked at Stanford University, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
In 2002, he joined Battelle and served as a member of the White House Transition Planning Office for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also has served as director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s largest multipurpose science laboratory. Wadsworth studied metallurgy at Sheffield University in England, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. He was also awarded a Doctor of Metallurgy and the highest recognition conferred by the university, an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. In 2012, Wadsworth, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, was elected to its Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, with over 22,000 employees at more than 60 locations globally. A 501(c)(3) charitable trust, Battelle was founded on industrialist Gordon Battelle’s vision that business and scientific interests can go hand-in-hand as forces for positive change. Today, Battelle manages the world’s leading national laboratories and maintains a robust and diverse contract research portfolio. Battelle’s mission includes a strong charitable commitment to community development and education. That’s why we support staff volunteer efforts; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs; and philanthropic projects in the communities we serve.
Any support that Battelle offers is meant to provide opportunity for students of every background. The STEM schools we support are inclusive, no test scores are needed for admission. Most of them use a mastery system, where students must show complete command of a subject before moving to the next level. We believe this is a key way of helping students persist. Show them, with their own work, that they can perform and excel in STEM. We also encourage schools and our own employees to serve as role models to students. This paired approach, better teaching and community involvement, is our strategy.
As a research & development company, we have a keen interest in preparing the next generation workforce. STEM doesn’t mean preparing students to work only in a laboratory or technical role. Every success we have at Battelle takes a team of scientists lawyers, administrators and marketers. For us, STEM must be about preparing all students. That means college and career, but not a specific list of fields.
I don’t think there is any one silver bullet, but we have found at Battelle that a focus on scale is incredibly important. We know there are hundreds and even thousands of high-quality STEM programs and projects occurring across the country. If they reach only a handful of students, they won’t have the broad-based impact we need to create lasting change. We work to identify scalable STEM opportunities, initiatives that are already working across regions or states, and we invest in them. My advice is to be deliberate and thoughtful at the outset. It may take more time initially but the result will be well-worth it.
If I had to pick just one thing it would have to be the place where Battelle’s STEM education work began, Metro Early College High School. Metro calls itself a small school with a big footprint and it has more than lived up to its billing. It’s an Ohio public STEM school where students of every background receive an education that allows them to excel. Metro has a 100% graduation rate and 100% college admission. Every year the school hosts hundreds of visitors looking to replicate or learn from the Metro model – that is truly a mark of just how well Metro executes its wonderful mission.
Moreover, the school is growing. Just last year we expanded the school by opening the Metro Institute of Technology under a new partnership with Franklin University and EDUCAUSE. This new school provides a second high school in the Metro network, reaching even more students.
Our greatest successes in STEM are the result of public-private partnerships. Metro Early College High School began as a partnership between Battelle, The Ohio State University, and local school districts. Thanks to this model, Metro has continued to grow.
That partnership, Metro’s board, and the leadership of Meka Pace, set the stage for Metro Institute of Technology. But opening the new school meant seeking new partners. So we grew the fold to include Franklin University and EDUCAUSE.