John Urschel, offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and published mathematician, visited Glenridge Elementary School Monday to celebrate their second time as first place winners at the annual Title I iCommunity Technology Showcase. Urschel joined Discovery Education to put on an Interactive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Assembly for the students at Glenridge to […]
John Urschel, offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and published mathematician, visited Glenridge Elementary School Monday to celebrate their second time as first place winners at the annual Title I iCommunity Technology Showcase.
Urschel joined Discovery Education to put on an Interactive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Assembly for the students at Glenridge to celebrate their victory. The assembly included a speech from him, a science experiment presentation and a Day of Discovery with hands on experiments. He said he became part of the assembly through his agent and was happy to take part.
“They reached out to me through my agent and they mentioned this to me, and of course, you know, STEM education is something that is very, very dear to my heart and these are the sorts of things I can do,” he said. “I am coming, hopefully, to get to talk to children, maybe impart some mild wisdom at best, but do my best attempt at that, field questions and just interact with the children.”
Urschel graduated with for both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Penn State University. He studied applied mathematics, and specifically the field of numerical analysis. He was drafted in the 5th round of the2014 National Football League (NFL) Draft. This is his first time working with Discovery Education, but he said he has worked with other programs to talk about math and education.
“This is something that I say early and often and it’s that, kids look up to us as pro football players and I don’t always think its right or its fair. I don’t know if we’re always the best role models,” Urschel said. “There are so many people that are doing amazing things in this world and we’re playing a sport. Which, is you know, is fun and fantastic that I get paid to do such a thing, but we’re in this position where we are role models and we should take advantage of that and recognize that.”
Matt Monjan, the vice president of Discovery Education partnership team, said Discovery Education and Prince George’s County “have partnered together for over ten years,” but last year, Prince George’s County school district decided to use Discovery Education’s text book, which is a K-12 textbook replacement for science instruction. This event, however, was won by the school.
“This is the second year in a row that this particular school has won the STEM showcase and they won it through their robotics efforts and they also had a billboard, basically a trifold, demonstration of all the science instruction they’re doing here at the school,” Monjan said
Monjan said the event came out of talks with Title I administration to plan a prize for the first place school at the Title I iCommunity Technology Showcase.
“Mary Robinson from Title I reached out to me and said ‘hey would you be willing to support our efforts’ and we said ‘absolutely, what do you have in mind,’ and they said ‘well could you give us things for the students and maybe do an assembly’ and that’s kind of how the idea started,” he said.
Monjan said the goal of the assembly and Discovery Education is to fuel curiosity and create and sustain excitement for education.
“I remember when I was little elementary student and then the news meteorologist came to our library and told us what they did and I thought that was the coolest thing and I’m,now 43 years old and I still remember that day so take a meteorologist out and put a Baltimore Raven in somebody’s school and all the things that a student can think about, ‘hey that person does this and I can do that too,’ I think that’s pretty awesome,” he said.
Santiago Osorio, a student at Glenridge, had the opportunity the escort Urschel around the school. Osorio said he was excited to meet a professional football player and asked him to sign his lanyard.
“It was really inspirational,” Santiago said. “He’s a really cool guy. He loves math and I love math.”
Osorio said it was an honor to have Urshcal at his school and was excited to ask him about math and programming.
“We asked him if he could code and he said ‘yeah I code’ so that was pretty cool,” Osorio said.
During the assembly Urschel expressed his long standing love for math and told the students math and science are the language of the world. He asked them why it was hotter on the second floor than in the auditorium. Some kids joke it was a problem with the air conditioning, others knew the answer right away. “I hear someone say it,” he said. “It’s because hot air rises. And this, this is just science.”
Urschel also told the students his mom is his biggest role model and reminded the students he was once just like them.
“I was a lot like you guys,” he said. “I went to a school that looks a lot like this school and I had teachers, fantastic teachers that helped inspire me, that look a lot like the teachers here today and what I’m getting at is that all of you are in a great position with these fantastic role models, these people who are so inspired to help you grow, to help inspire you and that you are blessed to be here, and that for you, the sky’s the limit.”