Delran High School host Fab Lab grand opening ceremony

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Delran Township Board of Education and the Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance presented the grand opening of the Delran Innovation and Fabrication Lab.

Serenity Bishop The Sun: Pictured are Anna Payanzo Cotton, Dr. Linda Eno, Carolyn Mattern, Kya Jones and Kim Case during a panel discussion at the grand opening of the Delran High School Innovation and Fabrication Lab Thursday, Nov. 21. The panel answered questions on their individual journeys in STEM fields, how to prepare students for fields that currently don’t exist and why the Delran Fab Lab is beneficial to all students.

STEM for all is one of the main mottos at Delran High School.

Over the last year, STEM coordinators Mary Jo Hutchinson and Erica DeMichele have been working to provide an opportunity for all students of Delran to learn about science, technology, engineering and math.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Delran Township Board of Education and Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance presented the grand opening of the Delran Innovation and Fabrication Lab.

The event featured an introduction on the history of the Fab Lab and a flash talk from Superintendent Brian Brotschul, DeMichele and Hutchinson. Congressman Andy Kim delivered a keynote address and the Delran Board of Education was presented a proclamation from Senator Troy Singleton.

A panel discussion was also held with Executive Director of the Research and Development Council of New Jersey and Manager of the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network Kim Case, New Jersey Department of Education Assistant Commission of Education Linda Eno, Vice President of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning at Rowan College at Burlington County Anna Payanzo Cotton, Pharmacy Supervisor and Informatics Pharmacist at Grand View Health Carolyn Mattern and Delran High School STEM Ambassador Kya Jones.

“This evening marks an historic event that began with a vision of supporting rigorous learning environments in the area of STEM technology,” said Brotschul. “Our vision is called STEM for all. It seeks to increase exposure to college and careers to each one of our K to 12 students.

“We believe strongly in our responsibility to prepare students for careers that don’t exist yet,” Brotschul continued.

Prior to inviting the panel up to speak, Brotschul told a personal story about the journey his sister, Carolyn Mattern, took to get to where she is today. According to Brotschul, when Mattern graduated from high school, there was only a typewriter in her classroom. She went on to the University of Rhode Island, where she earned an advanced pharmacy degree.

As time evolved, Mattern garnered skills in technology and developed a parallel career path as an informatic pharmacist. In this position, she is responsible for overseeing all of the technology used in the pharmacy department.

As Brotschul reminded the audience, Mattern started from a high school with just a typewriter and is now in a position that didn’t exist when she was in high school. Her story hits on many of the reasons why Brotschul, DeMichele and Hutchinson believe the Fab Lab is so important.

“Our mission is to take all of the Carolyn Matters in Delran and provide the skills for them to be problem solvers, analytical thinkers, nimble and versatile contributors to the workforce of the future,” said Brotschul.