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PAST Celebrates The Future Of Education


Congressman Stivers, Keynote Speaker

Congressman Stivers, Keynote Speaker


More than two hundred guests joined PAST staff in celebrating the Grand Opening of our new facility, the Learning Lab spaces and our emerging partnerships on April 21, 2016.

Guests toured our labs, spoke with Metro students and teachers, and met our staff and heard from key leaders in industry, government and education.

In her opening remarks, PAST’s CEO & President, Dr. Annalies Corbin welcomed our guests including:

  1. Congressman, Steve Stivers

  2. State Senator, Charleta Tavares

  3. State Representative, David LeLand

  4. Columbus City Councilman, Michael Stinziano

Dr. Corbin shared that Phase I renovations included the conversion of 17,000 square feet from cold storage warehouse into collaborative glass-box Learning Labs. The labs are host to Metro Early College High School’s BODIES, GROWTH, ENERGY, DESIGN, and DIGITAL programs. These Labs collaboratively demonstrate innovative teaching and learning based on real world application of current workforce needs.

The guests learned that for a number of years PAST has craved the creation of a state of the art Education R&D prototyping facility – a place where schools, post secondary institutions, community organizations and industry can partner to create meaningful experiences for students that resonate with local workforce development opportunities.

With the completion of Phase I, PAST and our partners have created just that facility.  Dr. Corbin recognized the support of five key partners including: Metro Early College High School, The Wells Foundation, WSA Studio, The Arlington Bank, and Premier Commercial Construction. She thanked the staff of PAST for there tireless commitment to PAST and all the hard work required to launch the new facility and the programs for students.

The first guest speaker, State Senator Charleta Tavares, talked about the importance of STEM education and the power of the work that PAST is doing.  She is very supportive of the innovative programs PAST offers and is excited about the opportunity for PAST to share these programs throughout the state.

Keynote speaker for the evening was  Congressman Steve Stivers, who focused on the importance of the kind of innovative learning opportunities the PAST Learning Labs offer to students. He commended PAST for truly engaging students in STEM focused education, saying STEM education is critical for our future.  He believes PAST is helping students prepare for 21st century careers, an important part of workforce development here in Ohio and across the country.

Congressman Stivers introduced two Metro Early College High School students, Jolene Tran and Teja Parasa recalled the “old days,” pre-renovation, when students met in cramped spaces and coffee shops to work on projects. Now they work together in the Learning Labs – a space that allows them to freely collaborate and explore learning opportunities they had never experienced before.

Rich Rosen, PAST Board of Trustees Vice-Chair, encouraged guests to continue to engage with PAST Innovation Lab by sharing this experience with friends and colleagues. There are many ways to stay connected: volunteer opportunities, partnerships with business and industry and donation of goods, services and money.

After the program guests were able to tour the facility and see first-hand the kinds of learning students are experiencing. Metro students and teachers were on-hand in each of the Learning Labs to show guests the exciting, diverse learning that goes on in their classes. In the Bodies Lab, a student was practicing stitches – the medical kind. Another student showed the guitars students are building as part of their studies in the Digital Lab. Metrobot students and advisors discussed their robot and guests saw the robotics practice field that is part of the PAST facility. Demonstrations were happening throughout the space.

With no exceptions, guests were overwhelmed with the work being done by students and teachers. And they left PAST Innovation Lab excited by the prospect of sharing PAST’s story with others.

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