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West Virginia Business Educator Shares ESTEAM Pitch Contest Series Experience

EntreEd and six regional partners worked together to bring the ESTEAM Pitch Series to local middle- and high-school students in Appalachia. The pitch series provided students the opportunity to ignite their entrepreneurial mindset and engage in meaningful entrepreneurship experiences within their local community. Sarah Dennison, a business teacher at Braxton County High School in Flatwoods, WV shared her personal experience with the ESTEAM Pitch Series and what the opportunity meant for her students.

Q: How would you describe what it was like to participate in the ESTEAM contest?

A: “This contest was an awesome experience for my students. They learned things and did things they didn’t think were possible. I had my students complete the Learn2Launch curriculum and that helped them a great deal with their presentations. The people we worked with from EntreEd and Pierpont College were amazing! Overall, it was an awesome experience!”

Q: What did students learn from the experience?

A: “They became better problem solvers after the Learn2Launch lesson on the 5Why Method of Problem Solving. They also learned about TAM-SAM-SOM and how they needed to narrow their marketing down to the right audience because they just thought they could develop a product or service and everyone in the world would automatically want it. They learned that starting and keeping a business going is hard, dedicated work and not just something you can do overnight.”

Q: Why is ESTEAM important for students to learn?

A: “This is the future and unless you are willing to keep learning about new and innovative procedures in Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, you will be left behind. It’s not enough to decide you want to become a business owner and put your sign up outside your door or work for someone else in one of these fields and not keep up with what is going on in the world. You will be left behind.”

Q: What are your plans to implement the prize funds in your classroom?

A: “In WV in our CTE programs, we are required to have a SWP (Simulated Workplace) and my classroom’s workplace is called Eagle Press. We can make and sell any kind of printed products including banners. We also have a vinyl cutter and a heat press to print on t-shirts and various other things and we have a 3-D printer. I plan to use the money to buy some T-shirts and maybe a new and better banner printer.”

EntreEd is grateful for everyone involved in the ESTEAM Pitch Contest Series that helped make it a success. Recordings of the live pitch events are available to watch on YouTube. Stay tuned for announcements about a regional pitch competition this fall, and subscribe to EntreEd’s newsletter for updates. The ESTEAM Pitch Series was created as an initiative of The National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education’s (EntreEd) Fostering Self ESTEAM in Appalachia’s Emerging Workforce project, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The project helps middle and high school programs in a seven-state region infuse Entrepreneurship into academic classrooms with a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) initiatives. To learn more about the project and the ESTEAM Pitch Series, contact Amber Ravenscroft, ESTEAM Project Director, at aravenscroft@edvgroup.org .

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