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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

STEM Scholar Petros Katsioloudis to Participate in Fulbright-Sponsored Czech Republic Outreach Event

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Petros Katsioloudis, associate professor and co-chair of the Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies of Old Dominion Univesity's Darden College of Education, is among a dozen American scholars selected to sit on a STEM Experts Panel for an April conference in the Czech Republic, sponsored by the Fulbright Commission.

The April 19 to 22 event in Prague is aimed at supporting study abroad partnerships and developing collaborations among researchers an ocean apart.

"It is a really great opportunity to collaborate and learn from my STEM colleagues, both in the American delegation and from our hosts," Katsioloudis said.

The U.S. State Department's study abroad branch is also sponsoring the event, which is aimed at promoting study abroad opportunities between the two countries and forging better relationships in STEM education.

The U.S. delegation includes researchers from MIT, Georgia Tech, Purdue University, the University of Michigan and other leading STEM universities.

They are wrestling with the same dilemmas as researchers at other universities worldwide - how can students be attracted to, and then succeed in, challenging programs in science, technology, engineering and math.

"It's important to inform others, especially international students, of the opportunities that exist within STEM disciplines," Katsioloudis said.

Old Dominion has a strong STEM track record, producing the second-most graduates in these disciplines of any college or university in Virginia. But challenges remain.

"Our goal is to talk about STEM as a whole, and focus on each individual discipline as being an important part of STEM education," Katsioloudis said. "This workshop will try to define the status of STEM today - what are the challenges and where do we need to go in STEM instruction."

The event includes two days of workshop sessions featuring panel discussions on best practices for STEM education, followed by two days of campus visits to the eight colleges and universities hosting the event.

The workshops will include training on curriculum development for study abroad programs in STEM fields and discussion on the differences between Czech and U.S. universities, credit transfer between the countries, accreditation of STEM programs, use of internships, and ties between universities and companies to provide useful experiences for students.

The workshop will also discuss strategies for overcoming gender bias, a persistent challenge in STEM.

Over the past eight years at Old Dominion, Katsioloudis has led groundbreaking research in STEM education, helping enhance a national STEM-educated workforce by teaching courses in industrial technology, as well as engineering and technology education.

Katsioloudis has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and presented more than 50 conference papers. He also has led research projects receiving grants totaling more than $6.7 million.