The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) held their 2019 annual conference at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, MO from April 11th – 14th. This year marked the 75th anniversary of the NSTA, and more than 8600 conference attendees and 1700 exhibitors helped NSTA celebrate this milestone at the annual conference. Astronaut Scott Kelly delivered the keynote address, discussing his year-in-space mission and the long-term effects of life in space, as well as the importance of supporting science education.
The ASPB Education Committee was among the many exhibitors at NSTA, with this year’s Education & Outreach booth organized by Education Committee member Valerie Haywood and Winnie Nham, ASPB Education Coordinator. As usual, several of our local ASPB members generously donated their time and various plant materials for display in the outreach booth. Our volunteers came from diverse backgrounds including industry researchers at Bayer (previously Monsanto), graduate students and faculty from University of Missouri, postdoctoral scholar from Washington University, and faculty from the University of Illinois. Volunteers shared their expertise and enthusiasm for plant biology with booth visitors, helping the ASPB promote the use of plants in science education. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, we were able to interact with hundreds of conference attendees, distributing ASPB resources and ideas for incorporating plants into the classroom and the community.
In additional to our outreach efforts, volunteering at ASPB-sponsored events such as NSTA has the added bonus of fostering ASPB member interactions and potential collaborations, as well as providing members with the opportunity to learn more about our society. These valuable opportunities help strengthen our society, helping us retain and possibly attract new members. We would like to offer a special thanks to our ASPB member volunteers: Beverly Agtuca (U of Missouri), Sarah Hind (U of Illinois), Ivan Radin (Wash U), Phillip Taylor (Bayer), Miguel Vega-Sanchez (Bayer) and Bethany Zolman (U of Missouri).