Our very own Katie Capp was selected to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teaching Institute in Washington D.C. While there she was able to learn a lot, connect with other teacher, and she even got to meet with our Montana Representative. Here's a summery of her incredible experience. 

Library of Congress

In the Winter I wrote an essay explaining the importance of interdisciplinary STEM education, received a letter of recommendation from my science department head, and responded to secondary essay questions on the importance of growing a network of STEM teachers across the United States and was selected from over 300 applicants! I was one of twenty-five applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute for the week of June 20–24, 2016. 

During the five-day program, participants worked with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available at the Library of Congress.

This was a special session for educators who teach about science, technology or engineering. Activities drew upon the Library's treasures related to these areas, with an emphasis on the nature of science, scientific and engineering practices, interdependence of science, technology and engineering, the historical context of discovery and invention, and more.

Hands down the most exciting department of the Library of Congress, for me, was the preservation lab. At the preservation lab, top-notch scientists work using state of the art techniques to analyze and preserve original items of history ranging from music cylinders, tapes, discs, maps, letters, and documents. 

Meeting Tester, Zinke, and Daines

Every Wednesday, Senators Tester and Daines and Congressman Zinke host Montana Coffee. This is where any Montana residents can come and have coffee and chat with them for over an hour. During this time I spoke with Tester, Daines, and Zinke about the importance of STEM education, professional development opportunities for teachers, and the growth of the Gallatin Valley. 

Later that afternoon, I personally met with Senator Steve Daines at his office to further discuss these topics. Because Daines is a chemical engineer he is very passionate about increasing STEM education and STEM opportunities. He also stressed how there needs to be a growing force of energetic teachers. Together Daines and I created a slogan of "Make Chemistry Cool Again." I let Daines know that he is missed at Sunrise Rotary every Friday. Daines said he greatly misses all the fun of the Sunrise Rotary and it is the top thing he misses now that he is a senator. 

DuPont Circle Rotary Meeting

I visited the DuPont Circle Rotary Club, a 4-year old club and learned about their ongoing services projects. The club does a version of Sargent of Arms and uses this money for a yearly service project. This year their project is funding pedestrian bridges in rural Africa so children can cross rivers to go to school during the rainy season, where without these bridges children are forced to cross the rivers and some do die. It was great to see such a young club take on great ambitious projects to help spread the pillar of Rotary, "Service Above Self."