K-12 Students Find Creativity Through Auto Recycling with JASON Learning’s Patrick Shea

June 24, 2015

 
John Shegerian: Welcome to Green is Good. This is the ISRI edition of Green is Good and we are here in beautiful downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Vancouver Convention Centre. Today our first guest is Patrick Shea. He is the Executive Vice President of JASON Learning, and we’ve got two wonderful young ladies with us, Georgina Cahill and Elizabeth Korn. Welcome to Green is Good, ladies. Patrick, before we get talking about JASON Learning, can you tell us a little bit about the Patrick Shea story and your journey leading up to joining JASON Learning? Patrick Shea: Sure. My journey with JASON started a long time ago now. I actually started with JASON as my first job out of college. I was hired as the Webmaster, but then because we were a smaller organization, I got involved in a lot of different things. Most of my time at JASON I have been a digital media producer, so I’ve gone out in the field and have worked with our scientists and engineers and have helped to share their stories through JASON’s curriculum and videos and website and digital games. John Shegerian: Got you. And can you give the premise of what is JASON Learning and then talk a little bit about why you are here today and the very important partnership between JASON Learning and ISRI. Patrick Shea: Sure. The mission of JASON is to educate kids in science and technology. We’re unique in that we do so in a very current way. We connect them with real scientists, real engineers. We expose them to current research. Really all cutting-edge stuff. And it’s different from a typical textbook in that textbooks – you start writing that textbook and 10 years later it actually hits the students’ desks. And by that point, especially in science where things move fast, it’s out of date. So JASON really wants to get kids excited and inspired by science and technology by connecting them with what is happening now. And that is part of the reason why we are partnered with ISRI. We look to government, we look to academia and we look to industry to tell those really interesting compelling stories about science to kids. ISRI has got a great story to tell in the recycling industry, so we work really closely with them on a number of different things. We have developed a recycling curriculum. John Shegerian: In conjunction with ISRI? Patrick Shea: In conjunction with ISRI. Exactly. John Shegerian: Right. Patrick Shea: And we’re working with ISRI’s members to roll that out in various cities across the country, and we really see a great opportunity there to educate kids about the amazing work that you do in the recycling industry. John Shegerian: And JASON goes under the premise of STEM. Can you explain to our audience again what STEM stands for and why that is so important in today’s day and age? Patrick Shea: Sure. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It’s all these things that relate together that make science possible. And it’s important because so much of what we take for granted in day-to-day life is driven by science and technology now and that is only going to increase in the future. In order to be a good citizen, an informed citizen, the students today need to learn science. They need to understand it really well, better than we ever have in the past as a population. John Shegerian: Right. So you had an automobile recycling contest and that is why these fine young ladies are here today. Can you describe what the automobile recycling contest was and how the judging happened> Patrick Shea: Sure. So every year for the last couple of years we have worked with ISRI to develop a contest, and this is a poster or video contest, and each year we have picked a different commodity to talk about that can be recycled. John Shegerian: Such as? Patrick Shea: Last year’s focus was on cell phones and the different ways we could recycle cell phones, and this year we focused on automobiles. John Shegerian: That’s wonderful. And so how does it work? Who can enter the contest and how do you judge the contest? Patrick Shea: So any student from kindergarten to grade 12 in the United States can enter the contest. We had hundreds of submissions. These two immediately stood out to us as being excellent. JASON’s staff kind of took a first pass at narrowing down from the hundreds to a select group of finalists that we then worked with ISRI staff and ISRI members to score those and come up with our winners. John Shegerian: And approximately how many entrants did you have? Patrick Shea: We had a couple hundred. John Shegerian: A couple hundred. Patrick Shea: Yeah. John Shegerian: And these are the two winners we have here today? Do you want to explain who they are and how they won and everything else? Patrick Shea: Sure thing. So Elizabeth was our video winner in the Grade 5 through 8 category. And Georgina was our video winner in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 category. She was also one of our Grand Prize winners. John Shegerian: Wow. So alright young ladies, now this is your time to shine. So explain a little bit what inspired you to enter the contest and what division did you enter again and what did you actually do? Georgina Cahill: Well, my school has a really big push towards economic and ecology issues, and this really branched from it and – sorry, what was the question? John Shegerian: And you’re Georgina, and you are in what grade? Georgina Cahill: I am in 11th Grade. John Shegerian: At what school? Georgina Cahill: At Convent of the Sacred Heart. John Shegerian: So what inspired you to enter this contest? How did you hear about it and what portion of the contest did you enter in? I see here it says you’re the video category. So how did you enter it and how did you create this video? Georgina Cahill: Well, I have a film program at my school, which I am lucky enough to be in and this was part of that. I was able to work with my film in that program and enter it into this contest and I entered in the video contest for Kindergarten through Grade 12 and was able to be here today. John Shegerian: Wonderful. And you, young lady, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Korn: Yes. John Shegerian: Welcome to Green Is Good. Elizabeth Korn: Thank you. John Shegerian: What portion of the contest did you enter and how did you learn about it? Elizabeth Korn: At my school in my class where I have a smaller class in a program called Project Challenge, and we all entered since we were working with JASON project. We went on the website and used the word “books” – because we were learning about climate change. John Shegerian: What school are you in and what grade are you in? Elizabeth Korn: I’m in seventh grade at Mattlin Middle School. John Shegerian: Where is that located? Elizabeth Korn: Plainview, New York. John Shegerian: Plainview, New York. So you learned about it at your school and you entered the contest. When did you enter? Elizabeth Korn: In January. John Shegerian: Of this year? Elizabeth Korn: This year, yeah. John Shegerian: And when did you find out that you were the Middle School winner in the video category? Elizabeth Korn: I think in March. John Shegerian: Were you pretty excited that day? Elizabeth Korn: Yeah. John Shegerian: Yeah. What did you both learn – and I will let you both answer this – by entering this contest and participating and creating what you created to win? I’ll start with you. Elizabeth Korn: I never knew recycling was that big of a thing. That there were real organizations and industries that specialized in just recycling. John Shegerian: And now you know. Elizabeth Korn: Yeah. John Shegerian: And how about you, Georgina? Georgina Cahill: I really learned that there are so many opportunities for us to help in this issue. There are so many little things that everyone can do to really progress in this area. John Shegerian: What did your fellow students and other people think? What does your generation think about – this is Green Is Good, the name of this show – what do you guys think about sustainability and being green and recycling now? Has this changed your perspective? Obviously you said you learned a lot about it but what are your fellow students – are they into sustainability and green? What do you feel is going on in your own schools and in your own classes? Elizabeth Korn: I think that we know what it is important, but I think we should try harder to do everything that we can. John Shegerian: I like that. Try harder. Georgina Cahill: Well, my school always encourages us to help the environment and we have lots of organizations and clubs at my school that are working towards that, and I think that really inspired me in this project, too. John Shegerian: That’s great. Patrick, obviously, these two young ladies are standouts. But this is what JASON really is, the best representation of what JASON is all about. What is going on with JASON next? Where are your going to take JASON next? What other kind of projects are you working on with ISRI and with other organizations? Patrick Shea: Sure. We’re going to continue the contest approach with ISRI. Pretty much immediately after this conference we are going to get together with our colleagues over at ISRI and work on the design of the next contest which will roll out at the beginning of next school year. We are really excited about that. And in general, JASON, our mission is to get our materials into all of the schools across the country because we really believe in our model and we really believe in the quality of our science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. We talked before about it’s so important that kids have a great fundamental understanding of science. And even in a contest situation like this, I mean, how much did you guys learn about the science and technology that goes into the recycling industry that you didn’t know before? Georgina Cahill: A ton of stuff after researching about this project. John Shegerian: And your students – hundreds of entrants were from all across the country. For our listeners out there, first of all to learn more about all the great work ISRI does you can go to www.ISRI.org and to learn more about JASON you can go to www.JASON.org. Patrick, for next year’s entrants, for listeners out there, parents and also young people, how do they enter? How easy is it to enter next year’s contest and have you decide yet with ISRI what commodity you are going to focus on next year? Patrick Shea: We have not decided on the commodity yet or the contest design, but odds are it will be pretty similar to the approach that we’ve done this year. We like to combine art and science, and we feel like that is a really creative way to get these good positive messages out. John Shegerian: Got you. Young ladies, at your home – what are you doing in your home? What are your parents doing? And is it coming from your generation? Are you telling mom and dad to get solar or to recycle more, or are they doing it already or are they driving a hybrid car? What is going on in your homes? Georgina Cahill: Well, we always try to recycle plastic bottles and paper and everything, and also, for my projects like this one, I always try to use recycled objects in my projects and incorporate them. John Shegerian: Cool. Elizabeth Korn: Yeah, we recycle at home. John Shegerian: You recycle. Is there solar yet on your homes? Is mom or dad driving a hybrid car? Or is that coming next? Georgina Cahill: Hopefully, soon, I think. John Shegerian: OK. With regards to your goals, what do you young ladies foresee yourself – I know you are very young and I know there is a long way to go yet – what do you see yourselves doing? Is there anything in particular you are dreaming of becoming when you get a little older? Elizabeth Korn: I want to be an author when I grow up. John Shegerian: An author. That’s awesome. That’s really great. Are you a good writer now? Elizabeth Korn: I hope so. John Shegerian: You probably are. And how about you? Georgina Cahill: I would really like to go into the film industry one day and, hopefully, make films that incorporate both live action and animation like this project. John Shegerian: Well, your resume is going to shine now as the Grand Prize winner in the video category. Patrick, I’m going to ask you for some last words here. Any last thoughts in terms of JASON and how people who are watching this video or our audience out there who are listening to us on a radio can get involved, who hear about all the great work you are doing? Patrick Shea: Sure. So what I would say is JASON isn’t in and of itself a conservation organization. John Shegerian: OK. Patrick Shea: We are a science education organization. John Shegerian: Right. Patrick Shea: And we feel like the better you understand the science behind all of this the more passionate people get, because they have the facts and they understand the research and they understand the background, and we feel like that knowledge brings the power to want to conserve and to want to be green. So for those of you listening, if you have a school in your area or your district that you feel like you want to get them involved in this, in JASON in general, in the contest, go to the website. We have free trials to get online and access all of our digital curriculum, and you can learn more about who we are and what our approach is. John Shegerian: That’s wonderful. And again congratulations to you young ladies. This is really a great thing for both of you. Thank you both for joining us today. Elizabeth Korn: Thank you for having us. John Shegerian: And congratulations again. Georgina Cahill: Thank you so much for having us. John Shegerian: We are honored to have both of you with us today. Again, this is John Shegerian and we are at the ISRI edition of Green is Good in beautiful downtown Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre. We thank Patrick Shea today and these beautiful young ladies, the winners of the JASON Learning project – the one in the automobile recycling contest – and we ask our listeners and our viewers out there and our audience if you want to learn more about JASON, please go to www.JASON.org. And if you want to learn more about, of course, the wonderful organization called ISRI, which we are at their annual convention this year broadcasting live, you can go to www.ISRI.org. Thank you again and listen to Green is Good.