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FYI, You Can Watch Astronauts Read Popular Kids Books From Space

Story time has never looked so cool.

By Taylor Pittman

04/13/2018 03:41pm ET | Updated April 17, 2018



Click the QR Code below to access our 2019 ECSTEM Program of Events!



Introducing our Keynote Speaker:

Lisa Regalla, PhD is the Deputy Director for the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. She leads a variety of STEM initiatives such as the Fab Lab and mobile engineering lab, while leveraging the Center for Childhood Creativity’s research base to support the creative development of children, particularly in under-resourced communities.  As the former Deputy Director of Maker Ed, Lisa developed partnerships with educators, organizations, and researchers to build and support a growing network, committed to broadening participation in making as a form of creative learning. Prior to Maker Ed, Lisa worked at Twin Cities Public Television developing STEM content that was presented on television, in person, in print, and on the web as part of the Emmy-Award winning series, SciGirls and DragonflyTV: Nano. As the manager of several national outreach programs throughout her career, she has conducted extensive professional development workshops in gender equity and facilitating creative STEM learning environments. In 2011, she received a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on SciGirls and the Rising Star Award from the Women Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society for her work to promote gender equity in STEM. Lisa received both a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Theater from Lehigh University before earning her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Florida.


Panel of Experts:

My name is Christine Richard and I have been actively involved in the field of Early Childhood Education for nearly 30 years. I earned my BA in ECE and an MA in Educational Psychology from California State Northridge and I am currently adjunct faculty at Santa Monica College teaching Curriculum Development. I have been part of the California Mentor Program for over 10 years, a Technical Assistant for First 5 Monterey County for over 7 years, national and international presenter for over 20 years. At the Growing Place during my 27 years of employment I have worn several hats such as classroom teacher, afternoon coordinator and Atelierista. I am passionate about human development and how educational systems support this process for teachers, children and parents.


My name is Deborah Robinson, and I am employed with Drew Child Development Corporation, a non-profit agency located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of Los Angeles. I am the lead Pre-K teacher at the Harriette Shields Child Development Center, and I have 24 children in my classroom. I received my Associate of Arts degree in Child Development from Compton Community College, my Bachelor of Arts degree in Human and Child Development from Cal State Long Beach, and my Master of Arts degree in Liberal studies with an emphasis in Human and Child Development from Cal State Long Beach.
I have obtained sixty hours of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math training from Susan Wood and her team at The Children's Center at Caltech to incorporate STEM with the California Preschool Learning Foundations and Frameworks. I have also participated in the Desired Results Developmental Profile 2015 field study. I have worked in Early Education for over thirty five years and I enjoy immensely facilitating the social-emotional, language and literacy, cognitive, and physical development of all children.


Pua Aquino is the Preschool Teacher/Native Hawaiian Curriculum Specialist for Partners in Development Foundation's Ka Pa'alana Homeless Family Education Program.  She has over 14 years of early childhood experience - 4 years teaching at a Hawaiian Immersion preschool where she developed a love for teaching young children about Hawaiian culture and 10 years teaching and developing curriculum for homeless families with young children. In 2015 she authored a children's book titled "My Kalo Has Lau, Big and Green" that teaches children about the Hawaiian tradition of making poi from kalo, reinforces the Hawaiian language and explores STEM concepts. Pua was born and raised in Wai'anae, O'ahu and currently lives in Ma'ili with her two children.


Monica Dolan is the STEM Curriculum Coordinator at the Children’s Center at Caltech.  She has a Master’s Degree from Pacific Oaks College.  Monica has worked as a teacher in early childhood for fifteen years and works with local colleges presenting workshops on how to implement STEM activities and environments within a classroom.  At the Children’s Center she works as a liaison between the administration and the teaching staff to ensure the curriculum plans are consistent with the center’s conceptual STEM based approach.  She also works closely with the teachers to document the children’s work and review the data in order to suggest possibilities of direction that the teachers and children can venture together.  She maintains and runs the outdoor STEM lab, making sure that materials and activities are relevant, organized and interesting to the children, daily.  Monica also looks forward to teaching, alongside Susan Wood, the STEAM course at Pacific Oaks College this spring.


Our Moderator:

Tiffany Alva is the Director of Early Learning with First 5 Orange County and is responsible for the implementation of school readiness, early literacy and math programs with a special focus on using the Early Development Index (EDI), a validated population-based measure of early childhood development and school readiness, data to foster better outcomes for young children. Prior to joining First 5, Orange County, Tiffany's experience over the past 20 years included serving as a classroom instructor, overseeing classroom teachers and  providing developmentally appropriate activities for children. After 6 years in the classroom Tiffany chose to work in an administrative role as a director for a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles County. Tiffany's passion lead her to Orange County where she worked for THINK Together as the Senior Director of Early Learning, where she acquired extensive knowledge and expertise in program development and management. She co-chaired the annual Early Childhood Science Technology Engineering and Math (ECSTEM) Conference for four years and serves on leadership committees for both the national and state associations for the education of young children. Tiffany received a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of Phoenix.



ECSTEM is excited to offer tours of The Children's Center at Caltech!

  • Tours to The Children's Center at Caltech will be held both on Friday, February 22nd, and Saturday, February 23rd from 1:30 to 3:30pm. Registered tour attendees will receive a complete tour of the program and the Outdoor STEM Laboratory. The Children's Center at Caltech is known world wide for their constructivist curriculum as seen through the lens of STEM. See STEM concepts unfold in a classroom setting and be inspired for your own spaces! Separate fee ($30 per person) and registration required. Please select your options during the registration process. *Children will not be present for these tours.



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