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Jerianne Taylor: Nurturing STEM passion from classroom to university

Published February 9, 2024

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In the world of education, Jerianne Taylor’s journey stands as a testament to dedication, innovation, and advocacy. As a longtime Pitsco educator, we spent some time with Jerianne and delved into the narrative of her career – a journey that began as a high school student in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and evolved into a distinguished role dedicated to the creation of the next generation of CTE educators at Appalachian State University.

It was exposure to a drafting program in high school that initially sparked a passion for architecture and career education in Jerianne’s life. Recognizing that she could explore her interest in design during the summers, Jerianne decided to get her teaching certificate and follow along in the footsteps of her mother. Fresh out of college, Jerianne joined Spartanburg District 5, where she had the opportunity to imagine, design, and integrate a full Pitsco lab at D. R. Hill Middle School. As she shared with us, “Modular Labs were really big at that time, and I got to lay out a beautiful facility that had elements of Pitsco’s solutions in it but also some video production and other things, and it became a showcase lab, which was really amazing.”

While at D.R. Hill, Jerianne was also asked to partner with the high school and facilitate the growth of the Technology Student Association (TSA) chapters. It was at D. R. Hill where Jerianne served as a TSA advisor in addition to her teaching responsibilities. She and the high school teacher, Dr. Rick Kalk worked together to facilitate the growth of the Technology Student Association (TSA) chapters in the district. During this time, she had numerous students serve as state officers for the South Carolina TSA. She took students to nationals and placed in the top 10 for the competitions they participated in. As Jerianne shared, “We were like rock stars when it came to the competition side of it,” participating in rockets, bridges, and dragster design all using Pitsco materials. “You know, we never got tired of the dragster design because it’s so much of the problem-solving and the engineering design skills that we look at in technology and engineering education in STEM education. There is just so much you can do with it.”

As Jerianne moved on from D. R. Hill and into High Point Central High School, she remained an unwavering CTE advocate and ensured TSA’s prominence in every school she was associated with, emphasizing its role in fostering growth among her students. She was also integral in the creation of 20 units of instruction for TSA competitive events through TECH-know, a National Science Foundation Instructional Materials Grant.

And then, “life got fun.” After achieving her doctorate at NC State, Jerianne was hired at Appalachian State in the Department of Technology. Jerianne’s commitment to quality education is evident as well in the unique approach of integrating diverse CTE disciplines. She played a pivotal role in establishing a CTE teacher preparation program housed in the Reich College of Education. The program became a hub where students now learn to blend teaching methodologies, appreciate varied content, and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning.

Jerianne’s endorsement of Pitsco as an exemplary educational vendor speaks volumes about the company’s role in providing hands-on, engaging solutions. According to her, “Pitsco is the standard that all other vendors should aspire to.”

In essence, Jerianne Taylor’s journey from a student dreaming of architecture to a CTE advocate at Appalachian State exemplifies the transformative power of education. Her commitment to TSA, integration of Pitsco resources, and her role in shaping Appalachian State’s CTE program underscore her passion for cultivating young minds. As we embrace her story, we’re reminded of the profound impact educators can have on shaping a future filled with innovation, curiosity, and a love for learning.

Read all articles in our full publication, Hands-On Heroes: CTE Stories of Innovation and Impact.

“I am proud to be working with Pitsco and absolutely love the support we’ve gotten from you all over the last year.”

– Joe Slifka, TAG member, technology teacher, LaBrae Local Schools, Leavittsburg, Ohio

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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