Name: Peggy (Peg) Steffen
Place of Employment: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, MD
Job Title: Education Coordinator
Education: BS Zoology, Iowa State University
MS, Curriculum and Instruction, Drake University
Peg is an award-winning master teacher with classroom teaching experiences that span 25 years in grades 8-12, in biology, physics, astronomy/geology, and environmental science. She has supported the education efforts of NASA and NOAA and started NASA Explorer Schools, one of the top 50 awards for the 2006 Innovations in American Government Awards given by the Ash Institute of Democratic Governance at Harvard University. Presently, she works to create programs and online products that promote environmental and climate literacy (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/), and online serious games in the WaterLife series (http://games.noaa.gov).
What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered during your career in STEM?
Sometimes juggling a science teaching career and having a family provided challenges in time management. It was important to have supporting family and friends.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about having a career in STEM?
STEM careers provide opportunities for creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. Some of the biggest problems that face our society will involve solutions from science, engineering, and mathematics and we need committed people with the skills to tackle and solve them.
If you could give one piece of advice to a girl who is considering doing a Silver or Gold Award based on STEM or pursuing a career in STEM, what would that be?
There are so many rewarding careers in STEM that exist now and more that will be created in the future. I hope that young women will look closely at STEM careers. These are the places where they can make a real difference in people's lives and find their own fulfillment.
Did you have STEM mentors?
Yes, starting with my parents, middle and high school teachers, and helpful professors in college. Finally, as I started a teaching career, a local science consultant helped me understand better my role as an instructors.
If you were a Girl Scout, what is your favorite Girl Scout memory?
I have so many wonderful memories of my time as a Girl Scout starting with Brownies and finishing as a Senior. Every summer, I took advantage of resident camps, canoe trips, and classes that gave me skills and confidence. These experiences were also important to build personal relationships and leadership attributes that I am still using in my position today.
If you were a Girl Scout, did Girl Scouting have an impact on your decision to pursue a career in STEM?
The experiences that I had as a Girl Scout fed my interests with science and wildlife. These certainly contributed to my career decisions to enter college with a zoology major and then to become certified to teach biology and other sciences.