TCNJ engineering students and alumni are often selected to participate in conferences, committees, and conventions around the country. Julia Harth, a technology education teacher and TCNJ graduate, earned the opportunity to participate in a workshop in engineering education in Washington DC. The workshop was sponsored by The National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Harth was selected to add her insights on the intersection of the educational and engineering industries and “the many different pathways taken to by PreK-12 engineering educators”. Harth states that, the committee she presented to was “interested in hearing from educators with a wide range of both backgrounds and engineering experiences, including the obstacles and opportunities they experienced.” What makes Harth’s story both unique and valuable is her expertise in Special Education and STEM.
Harth’s dedication to the topic at hand is obvious. Her initial calling to education began through volunteer work with special needs individuals. Harth states, “ I wanted to work with students I felt I could really impact. I hoped to make learning more meaningful for these students. And although my position as a Technology, Engineering, & Design (T.E.D.) teacher isn’t what I initially imagined for myself, I find my goal hasn’t changed. I’m still trying to make learning more meaningful or even just memorable for my students.” For Harth, STEM education is a valuable part of every child’s education as it allows the teacher “ to engage students in real-world problem solving”. During her stay in Washington DC, Harth had the opportunity to learn about issues facing STEM learning in the American education system, an experience that is valuable to her as an educator.
Currently, Hath teaches Technology, Engineering, and Design at H.B. Whitehome Middle School in Verona, NJ. As an educator there, she established a club called Maker Club which is focused on developing the skills and talents of students interested in STEM.