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Jul. 15  —  Jul. 16, 2024

Science on the Grand 2024

Get ready for a GRAND conference this July!

Ignite your passion for teaching like never before! Science on the Grand isn’t just an event; it’s a celebration of you – the superheroes of education! We understand that teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. That’s why we’ve crafted one amazing STEAM conference, filled with practical, teacher-tested ideas that will fuel your teaching fire. Experience NGSS-aligned sessions focused on cutting-edge, inquiry-driven, and classroom-ready strategies. Science on the Grand 2024 will help you take your teaching to the next level!

This conference will give you the VIP treatment you deserve. You’ll have the chance to mix, mingle, and marvel with fellow educators who share your passion for science and teaching. Plus, with catered meals, free drinks, and fabulous prizes, you’ll be given the time and space you need to relax and focus on becoming even more awesome than you already are!

Join us for this GRAND experience, where you will:

  • Gather fresh insights: Acquire new ideas and perspectives to rejuvenate your teaching approach — and build a classroom where curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking thrive!
  • Reinvigorate your passion for teaching: Find inspiration and motivation through engaging sessions and networking with fellow educators.
  • Advance your skill set: Elevate your teaching with strategies and techniques tailored for today’s educational challenges.
  • Nurture personal and professional connections: Build lasting relationships with educators and experts, enriching your support network and collaborative opportunities.
  • Discover innovative resources: Uncover a plethora of tools and resources to enhance your classroom experience and student engagement.

You’ve dedicated your life to shaping futures, and now it’s our turn to shape an unforgettable experience for you. This is THE educational conference of the year, and you will not want to miss it! Register now for Science on the Grand 2024!

Early-bird pricing: only $100 per person until May 15th — bring a friend and share the experience! Plus, administrators can attend FREE!+

Great news! A limited number of scholarships are available thanks to the generous sponsorship of Susan Meell. If interested, please inquire at [email protected].

Registration includes:

  • Two days of inspiration, exploration, and practical take aways
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers
  • Free parking in the GRCC Parking Ramp within walking distance from Van Andel Institute
  • Breakfast, lunch, VIP treatment, and more!

Individual Tuition:

  • Early Bird: $100 per person until May 15, 2024
  • $200 per person from May 16-July 15, 2024

All prices per person. Registrations cannot be shared.

+With the paid registration of a staff member, an administrator from the same building/district may attend for FREE. Free administrator registrations are nontransferable. To receive the free administrator offer, administrators must register by phone with name of paid registrant. Call 616.234.5528.

Convince Your Administrator:

Need help convincing your administrator? Use this sample Administrator Request Letter that highlights all the great reasons you should attend Science on the Grand.

When & Where:

Monday, July 15 – Tuesday, July 16, 2024
7:00 AM–3:30 PM

Van Andel Institute Campus
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.234.5528

Parking in the GRCC lot will be validated.

Where to Stay:

Hyatt Place Grand Rapids/Downtown (0.4 miles)
Special rate: $174 per night if reserved by June 14th 
Make an online Reservation or call 1-800-233-1234 (reference Van Andel Institute room block)

Additional Nearby Hotels:

Homewood Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown (0.4 miles)
City Flats Hotel (0.5 miles)
Amway Grand Plaza (0.6 miles)
JW Marriott (0.6 miles)
Residence Inn by Marriott Grand Rapids Downtown (0.6 miles)
Hampton Inn & Suites Grand Rapids Downtown (0.7 miles)

5 reasons why you should attend Science on the Grand!

1. You will learn SOOOO MUCH.

Spark your curiosity with 32+ sessions dedicated to research-based and classroom-tested STEAM content strategies at every grade level. You’ll walk away with practical ideas you can share with your students this fall. There’s even opportunities to tour Van Andel Institute, take a STEAM walk in downtown Grand Rapids, or unwind with a therapeutic art activity.

2. Two days, two inspiring keynotes.

At Science on the Grand, you’ll start each day with our engaging keynotes who will explore what it means to spark curiosity in your classroom, and how to inspire students to be future problem solvers.

3. Network with like-minded educators.

You’ll become part of a community of educators who value STEAM education and authentic learning. The support, idea-sharing, and camaraderie you’ll find is sure to re-energize you and infuse new inspiration into your work.

4. Stay fueled all day long.

We’ll feed you a substantive breakfast, lunch, beverages, and snacks on both days so you’ll be well-fueled throughout the conference. On Monday afternoon, we’ll treat you to a cocktail reception with Van Andel Institute’s exclusive catering company.

5. Experience Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The conference is located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids’ medical mile, within walking distance of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Van Andel Arena, and a vast array of unique restaurants. Frederick Meijer Gardens and John Ball Zoo are also nearby.

Two days, two great keynotes!

Monday, July 15, 2024:

Trevor Muir
Teacher, Author, Speaker

Making Learning Epic: Using Purpose to Inspire
Purpose is a powerful motivator, for educators and their students. Using inspirational stories and researched-based strategies, Trevor shares how to use the power of story, brain science, and authentic learning to help teachers achieve true student engagement. Educators leave with proven practices to design authentic learning experiences, motivation to foster deeper student connections, and a compelling reminder of the impact they have on their students’ lives.

About Trevor Muir
Trevor Muir is a passionate educator, speaker, and author who believes in the transformative power of education. He has gained international recognition for his innovative teaching methods and inspiring content, which empower teachers and students to unleash their full potential.

For more information on Trevor Muir, go to trevormuir.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2024:

Dr. Sara Nowinski, Ph.D.
Scientist, Assistant Professor

EmPOWERing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Studying the Cell’s Powerhouse to Drive Metabolic Therapies
We all learned it in high school science class: “Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.” But what does that mean? And why did we have to memorize it? VAI’s Dr. Sara Nowinski studies how mitochondria provide our bodies with the energy necessary for life, and how mitochondrial function goes awry in disease. Dr. Nowinski will also explain how early classroom experiences sparked her passion for research, and outline her “wishlist” learning objectives for K-12 science students.

About Sara Nowinski, Ph.D.
Dr. Sara Nowinski is an expert in mitochondrial biology and metabolism. She earned her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Texas at Austin, where she investigated the role of mitochondrial respiration and cancer metabolism. In 2014, she accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Jared P. Rutter at University of Utah School of Medicine. While there, she developed and led a project that explored mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis (mtFAS) and metabolism. Her research revealed groundbreaking new insights into the significance of the mtFAS system, and reignited interest in studying this critical pathway. In 2021, she joined Van Andel Institute’s Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming as an assistant professor.

For more information on Dr. Sara Nowinski, go to the Nowinski Laboratory.

Two days — 30+ practical sessions!

Full session information is coming soon! We’re working really hard to create a session line-up that will inspire you to create classrooms where curiosity, creativity. and critical thinking thrive. Our sessions are designed to give you practical takeaways you can use in your classroom right away.

Meet these experts and innovators in STEAM education!

Keep checking back as we continue to finalize our presenter line-up.

Michael studied Integrated Science for Secondary Education at Grand Valley State University and serves as a Learning VAI Education. Michael has a great fascination with thinking about the future of learning. Michael loves to explore new technologies and their potential applications to the classroom and brings a unique perspective to inspire teachers to experiment with technologies.

Cory Kavanagh’s passion for education and helping others learn is obvious in his role as Learning Specialist at VAI Education. Cory has worked in laboratory settings for over 13 years, lending his knowledge and skill to a variety of scientific organizations. As a key member of the Student Programs team, Cory strives to deliver engaging STEM content for students of all ages.

Kim Harding has 19 years of experience working with students in the disaster relief sector, as well as 11 years of experience teaching grades 2-5. During her time as an educator, Kim was a building science lead and STEM coordinator for her school. Kim is thrilled to be working with VAI Education as a Learning Specialist to support educators in delivering inquiry-based lessons that nurture students’ curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking.

Jamie MacPherson has 13 years of experience teaching developmental kindergarten, kindergarten, and fourth grade. During her time as an educator, Jamie worked closely with VAI as her school transformed their science program to better meet the needs of 21st century learners. Inspired by the way inquiry-based instruction positivly impacted her students, Jamie was eager join VAI Education as a Learning Specialist and become a part of their mission to foster curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in classrooms everywhere.

awn McCotter has spent over 20 years in education, most of which were dedicated to teaching high school science. She is a passionate educator who believes that creating meaningful and authentic learning experiences is key to unlocking student engagement and success. As Curriculum and Instruction Senior Manager at VAI Education, Dawn supports a team of educators in the delivery of engaging inquiry-based student programs and relevant professional development opportunities and support for teachers across the country.

Jon Oosterman spent six years teaching middle school science while also serving as the head coach of Science Olympiad. In addition to teaching, he helped his school transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a way to create a broader and more comprehensive understanding of STEM. As a VAI Education Learning Specialist, Jon endeavors to create learning experiences that are fun, dynamic, and memorable for all students.

Randy Schregardus is a veteran educator with 34 years of experience teaching across multiple grade levels and subjects. An early adopter of inquiry-based education methods, Randy was instrumental in introducing science teaching reform where he assisted and trained teachers in the latest learning technologies. As an Instructional Operations Manager for VAI Education, Randy works to foster a culture of success both within and beyond the classroom.

Ben Talsma has spread a love of learning to students of all ages over the course of 15 fabulous years in education. In addition to teaching, he has built a STEAM program to cultivate a new generation of innovators, while also supporting a plethora of afterschool activities. Ben is thrilled to be working with VAI Education as a Learning Specialist to help teachers around the world improve the lives of their students.

Terra Tarango is an accomplished executive in the education industry with more than 20 years of experience in educational publishing and services. Prior to joining VAI Education, Terra served as president of SDE, one of the largest providers of professional development for pre-K through 12th grade educators in the U.S. Before that, she developed award-winning print and digital curriculum with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the largest educational publisher in the nation. She is an expert in instructional climate and culture and has devoted her career to increasing curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in the classroom.

Event Details

Register Today

Venue: Van Andel Institute 333 Bostwick Ave. NE Grand Rapids