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Pfau Selected for On the Farm STEM Training
North Dakota Ag Connection - 04/12/2018

Fargo teacher Cairra Pfau was selected to attend the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture On the Farm STEM professional development training in Portland, Ore. The training is designed to bring science to life for participants with the help of American beef cattle ranchers, researchers, nutritionists and veterinarians.

Pfau recently completed two Food, Land and People (FLP) courses in North Dakota that offer continuing education classes to teachers. These classes promote the development and critical thinking skills so students can better understand the interrelationships between the environment, agriculture and people of the world.

"I am so pleased that one of our FLP class alumni has been chosen to participate in the national program," said NDFB Food, Land and People Coordinator Jill Vigesaa. "Cairra was an enthusiastic participant and eager to take on new challenges, which led her to be chosen."

The emphasis on STEM education provides the perfect connection to agriculture. Agriculture is fundamentally interdisciplinary and therefore an ideal application for students to learn STEM.

Vigesaa notes that farmers and the entire agriculture industry are constantly applying science, technology, engineering and math to navigate through the daily challenge of feeding the next generation.

"We need students who understand agriculture to provide the necessary STEM support as we grow," said Vigesaa. "For instance, drones can be a very valuable tool for agriculture. However, we need creative minds to develop apps that continue advancing this technology for today's farmer. These creative minds are in the hands of our valued teachers like Cairra."

Pfau is one of the Elementary Science Course Captains for the Fargo Public Schools.

"I am hoping to bring back STEM ideas to share with our district, colleagues and use in my classroom," said Pfau. "I am a lifelong learner and can't wait to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. I am fortunate that this professional development opportunity was given to me."

Nearly 350 applications were received for 40 spots in Fort Worth, 30 spots in Philadelphia, and 40 spots in Portland.

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