‘Freedom Writers’ author to keynote VAI’s Science on the Grand conference

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Erin Gruwell, the New York Times best-selling author of “The Freedom Writers Diary,” will keynote the first day of Van Andel Institute for Education’s annual Science on the Grand STEAM conference for teachers.

Dr. Matt Steensma will keynote the conference’s second day. Dr. Steensma is an associate professor in Van Andel Institute’s Center for Cancer and Cell Biology and a practicing oncologist with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Science on the Grand is a two-day conference for K-12 teachers designed to provide research-based, classroom-tested content that supports teachers’ classroom expectations — and them personally. The conference’s first day will center around developing a classroom culture that supports STEAM instruction, while day two will provide lessons that support inquiry-based STEAM content.

The 2020 event is scheduled for July 13-14. For more details and to register, click here.

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Keynote: Becoming a Catalyst for Change
Erin Gruwell helped 150 of her students—many of whom were written off by the education system—to use the power of education to write a book, graduate from high school and attend college. She challenged her students to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems of poverty, racism and violence. By encouraging tolerance, respect and cooperation, Gruwell teaches us all how we can become role models and “Catalysts for Change.” Erin founded the Freedom Writers Foundation, where she teaches educators around the world how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms.

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Dr. Matt Steensma

Keynote: Orthopaedics and Future Scientists
Join Dr. Matt Steensma — a Spectrum Health surgeon and scientific investigator in the Center for Skeletal Disease and Cancer Therapeutics at Van Andel Institute — as he shares scientific insight around the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic tumors of the musculoskeletal system. Learn about the unique sub-specialty of orthopaedic oncology and the work being done to improve the lives of patients with bone, muscle, fat and nerve tumors. In this program, Dr. Steensma will also bring a scientific perspective on how educators can influence and inspire the next generation of scientists. Educators will gain insight into what it’s actually like to think and act like a scientist.