2015 ECSTEM Conference Hosts Panel Of Experts In Early Education

Join Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, J.D. and Others in Early Childhood Development for Lively Discussion on Thursday, February 5

Costa Mesa, Calif., Jan. 2015 – The second annual ECSTEM Conference kicks off on Thursday, February 5 with a panel discussion between leaders and experts in the field of early education at the Hilton Orange County Hotel in Costa Mesa.

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, J.D. of the 68th Assembly District in Orange County, will give the Opening Address. Wagner is committed to his community and is actively involved in several nonprofits and charities. In the Assembly, Wagner was appointed to serve on the two key fiscal committees, Appropriations and Budget, where he sits on the Sub-Committee 4 that addresses state administration.

Following Wagner’s opening remarks, Christina Altmayer, MA, Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County will facilitate the discussion between experts on opportunities and challenges of STEM education for our youngest learners.

The panel of experts includes:

  • Greg Duncan, Ph.D. – Professor, University of California, Irvine

Greg Duncan is Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. Duncan’s research focuses on the impacts of family and neighborhood conditions, and school-readiness skills on children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Duncan was President of the Society for Research on Child Development between 2009 and 2011 and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Lillian Katz, Ph.D. – Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lillian Katz has been Professor at the University of Illinois, specializing in early childhood education for more than 40 years. She is a member of the Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois.  She is author of numerous articles, papers, chapters and books related to early childhood development, parenting and teaching. Dr. Katz was President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has lectured in 56 countries.

  • Carrie Lynne Draper, MEd – Executive STEM Director, Readiness Learning Associates

Carrie earned her MEd at Marymount University and did STEM PhD work at the University of Toledo, OH, where she taught pre-school teachers and coordinated national STEM programs. Prior, she championed STEM education programming as a legislative staff member for the US House of Representatives, WDC. She taught for more than twenty years ranging from Pre-K through Grade 8, receiving numerous national awards and honors.  Carrie works with formal and informal education partners providing STEM assessment, evaluation and training in order to better serve under represented student populations in STEM.

  • Ellen Khokha, MA – Founder and former Executive Director, The Growing Place

Ellen Khokha is the founder and former Executive Director of The Growing Place, a pair of non-profit child development centers. For nearly twenty years, she led her school in a study of ideas from the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. She is co-founder of the Westside Collaborative and the Reggio Revisited seminar series.  Currently, she teaches for UCLA Extension and Santa Monica College, where she is the coordinator for the California ECE Mentor Teacher and Director Program.

  • Linda Christopher, MA – Executive Director, OC Stem Initiative

Linda is a native of Orange County but has spent much of her career in the Sacramento area as a classroom teacher, principal, county administrator and most recently as the Executive Director for NextEd, a non-profit organization serving the Capital Region. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and English from Concordia University, a Master of Arts Degree in Education Administration from California State University Sacramento, and is currently completing her Doctorate at Drexel University, focusing on Education Leadership and Policy.

  • Tamika Lang, MA – Western Region Global Corporate Citizenship Manager, The Boeing Company

As the Western Region Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC) Manager for The Boeing Company, Tamika leads the philanthropic and corporate citizenship activities in California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Prior to this role, Tamika was the Community Investor and Education Subject Matter Expert for GCC in California where she developed and implemented PreK-12 education and workforce pipeline strategies and supported multiple Boeing sites and businesses throughout the state. Tamika received her Master of Public Policy at the University of Southern California as a Housing and Urban Development Community Development Fellow. During this time she worked with the public and private sector in community and economic development. Tamika completed her undergraduate work at Loyola Marymount University.

The special Thursday evening event begins at 5:00 p.m. and commences with a reception at 7:00 p.m. To register to attend the panel discussion and/or conference, visit www.ecstem.org/registration.