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inspirED, a podcast from PLTW

Stories from industry leaders, PLTW teachers, students, alumni, and more. Search for “inspirED Project Lead The Way” on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen.

Education Equity Series: What is Education Equity?

In this first episode of our special series of inspirED dedicated to education equity, a group of education professionals explore how education equity manifests in classrooms across the U.S., and how those experiences impact students inside and outside the classroom.

Our guests share their personal experiences with education equity and discuss ways you can actively work towards creating equity every day in every part of your classrooms, schools, homes, and communities.

Check out the transcript from episode one here.

Education Equity Series: Importance of Using Self-efficacy Strategies to Develop Inclusive Learning Environments

Every day educators see students quit something before they even start because they fear failure. It’s easy to assume this is a self-confidence issue but it’s more than that – this is a self-efficacy issue. Self-efficacy is the overall belief in our ability to succeed in a specific situation. 
 
An important part of developing inclusive learning environments is encouraging students to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy so they know that with the right mindset, you can succeed regardless of who you are, where you come from, or where you’re going.

Meet Our Guests

Check out the transcript for episode two here.

Education Equity Series: Supporting the Mental Health and Well-Being of LGBTQ+ Youth

National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11, and we’re celebrating by releasing the first part of a two-part special edition of inspirED podcast as part of our Education Equity series. This episode is all about inclusivity as it relates to mental health and wellbeing with LGBTQ+ youth.

In this episode, our panel of education and mental health professionals, and LGBTQ+ allies will discuss what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, how words and phrases can have a negative impact on students’ mental health and well-being, and how you can work towards becoming an ally to support your LGBTQ+ students regardless of where learning takes place.

Warning: This episode contains discussion of mental illness, self-harm, and suicide, and may not be suitable for all audiences. Nothing contained in the podcast should be interpreted as medical or mental health treatment or advice. Please follow your medical provider's advice and direction. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Listener discretion is advised. 

Meet Our Guests 

Check out the transcript for episode three here

Nick Ragone: An Employer’s Perspective on Preparing for High-Demand Careers

Healthcare is the fastest-growing industry in the United States, with more than 2.4 million new professionals needed by 2026. We sat down with an executive from one of the country's largest healthcare systems for an inside look.

Eagle Manufacturing: A Student-run Manufacturing Business Fit for the Real World

When he looked around his classroom and saw unused manufacturing equipment, PLTW instructor Chris Townsend had an idea. Why not put it to use year-round through a student-run manufacturing business? Two years later, Eagle Manufacturing is helping high school students develop real-world skills and cut their teeth in real-world jobs, right in their high school. Instructor Chris Townsend and student manager Caleb Doss break talk about its beginnings, successes, and challenges.

Eunice Heath: Developing the Workforce to Solve the World’s Challenges

Eunice Health is one of our country’s top STEM professionals, working for one of the world’s largest STEM companies, and she sees firsthand just how important it is for all of today’s students to be developing STEM knowledge and skills to help meet the challenges our growing world population. From increasing diversity to teaching ethics, our classrooms today are truly the front lines for solving the world’s future challenges.

What to expect from InspirED.

Jennifer Erbacher introduces PLTW's new communication vehicle.


Markie Wagner: Opening Students’ Eyes to Opportunity

Students can’t be what they can’t see – they need experiences and mentors to open their eyes to the world of opportunities before them.

Steve Stokey: Creating PreK-Career Pipelines

What would happen if businesses and companies treated recruiting and hiring talent the way colleges and universities recruit athletes?

Abby Harrison: Mentoring to Mars

A PLTW alumna and aspiring astronaut shares how perseverance, failure, and focus are key to achieving your goals.

Eryca Card: It's Elementary

In less than five years, she’s helped grow a district-wide STEM program that includes everyone from the community’s homeschool students to the local CEO and the state’s governor. 

Ruby Rios: Paving the Way for Girls in CS

Lack of diversity in STEM programs creates a vicious cycle. Just ask Ruby Rios. She's on a mission to fix the problem for the girls who follow in her footsteps.

Aaron Smith: A District's Path to Student Success

From a district with a struggling identity to now a national model for student success. Hear the struggles, the successes, and how you can create similar changes in your district.

Paula Rodriguez Duran: An American Dream

In a new country and new high school at age 17, Paula discovered an interest in art and technology that helped her discover her career passion and create a life she only dreamed of before coming to the United States. Hear her message for other students, teachers, and counselors.

John Urschel: Math Matters

He left the NFL to pursue his PhD in applied mathematics. But he didn't always love math. Hear how John Urschel wants to help all students see how math matters.

Bill Van Loo: Learning for Life

What does it mean to be a lifelong learner? Listen as PLTW Master Teacher Bill Van Loo shares the keys to always learning, modeling it in your classroom, and using it to inspire students to be lifelong learners too.

Suzanne Martin: Leveling Up

InTulsa, Oklahoma, PLTW Launch Master Teacher Suzanne Martin is leveling the playing field by “leveling up”, raising students up to new heights through relevant, hands-on learning. In her story filled with success, failure, and authenticity, she’s found the program does the same for educators too.

Emily Hendrickson & Trinity Stallins: Unlocking Top Talent

Lockheed Martin is proving why recruiting students while they're in high school is the key to unlocking top talent and shaping students' future career paths.

Grant Cox: VEX Robotics and the Power of Real-world Application

Through VEX Robotics students are applying their learning to solve real-world problems and developing skills they'll use for the rest of their lives. Learn how to you can bring this to life for your students this summer.

Summer Refresh: Creating PreK-Career Pipelines

What would happen if businesses and companies treated recruiting and hiring talent the way colleges and universities recruit athletes?

Summer Refresh: Creating Opportunities for Girls in Computer Science

Lack of diversity in computer science creates a vicious cycle. Just ask Ruby Rios. She's on a mission to fix the problem for the girls who follow in her footsteps.

Summer Refresh: Raising Students to New Heights Through Hands-on Learning

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, PLTW Launch Master Teacher Suzanne Martin is raising students up to new heights through relevant, hands-on learning. Learn how you can raise the bar for all your students.

Summer Refresh: Transforming a District Through Career Pathways

Is your district struggling with student performance and engagement? Hear one district's story of struggles, successes, and how you can create similar changes in your district.

Ken Eisner: Preparing for In-demand CS Careers

Talent skilled in app development, cloud computing, and data has never been in higher demand, yet companies are struggling to quickly fill their open jobs. That's why students in school today need to prepare to take advantage of these jobs tomorrow. 

Letizia Moro: Taking Ownership of Your Learning

Career and Technical Education programs today are not the programs of the 1980s and 90s. Discover the benefits for all students and how your district can raise the bar on programs that prepare students for career success, while taking advantage of available funding.

Kate Kreamer: Building High-Quality CTE Programs

Career and Technical Education programs today are not the programs of the 1980s and 90s. Discover the benefits for all students and how your district can raise the bar on programs that prepare students for career success, while taking advantage of available funding.

Jaime Ratliff: A Rural District’s Path to Success

Rural school districts often have their own set of unique challenges that can make starting or sustaining a STEM program difficult. Jaime Ratliff shares her district's keys to success.

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