National Instruments Recognizes PLTW CEO for Impact

Q&A with Vince Bertram on Innovations in STEM Award

President and CEO of Project Lead The Way Vince Bertram recently received the Innovations in STEM Award from National Instruments (NI) at NIWeek 2018, where thousands of engineers, scientists, and industry professionals gathered to learn how to increase productivity and reach the “Future Faster.”

Karen Rapp, Chief Financial Officer for NI, presented the award to Vince at the NI Engineering Awards Ceremony in front of a crowd of leading scientists from around the world.

“We’re celebrating the heroes of engineering, but we all know there is more work to be done and more brilliant innovation to be achieved, and at NI, we believe we must foster the next generation of engineering talent to help drive that future of innovation,” Rapp said. “At NI, we have a long history of supporting engineering and science education initiatives, and every year we honor an individual who has made a significant impact on the world of STEM education. For over a decade, we’ve had the opportunity to support the mission of Project Lead The Way, and I’m honored to present Dr. Vince Bertram with this award for his lifelong service to K-12 education.” 

Since Bertram joined the organization in 2011, PLTW has grown to serve millions of students in all 50 states, has trained thousands of teachers, and has received numerous national awards and recognitions. Read on for excerpts from our conversation with Bertram, who sat down with us to talk about what this award means:

PLTW: What does receiving this award mean to you?

Bertram: It’s an honor to be recognized by our great partner, National Instruments, which is a company that has empowered engineers and scientists for more than 40 years to solve some of our most pressing challenges. This award is a reflection of the transformation happening in Project Lead The Way classrooms across the U.S. We are proud to partner with some of our nation’s best teachers to deliver an inspiring and engaging learning experience for students so they have the skills to pursue whatever career path they choose.

PLTW: An important part of the award is the idea of equipping students for successful careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). How is PLTW doing that?

Bertram: Too often, we look at STEM as an acronym. When that happens, we miss the mark. STEM is not a set of discrete subjects, but rather an integrated approach to teaching and learning. In PLTW, students see how math and science are tools to solve problems while also developing skills that are transportable across industries, such as the ability to collaborate, communicate, and think critically.

PLTW: How urgent is this work to keep growing the impact of Project Lead The Way?

Bertram: Project Lead The Way continues to grow rapidly, and we will remain relentless in our pursuit to be in every school district in America. Every student deserves this type of experience. This is an economic and national security issue, and for students, it is essential for their economic prosperity. For many students, it is their path out of poverty.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.