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Jacobs Institute at USD Names ‘STEAM’ Authority Perla Myers as Executive Director


Perla Myers
STEAM education authority Dr. Perla Myers. Image from USD video

A mathematics professor known for her support of the multi-disciplinary teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — collectively known as STEAM — has been chosen to head the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego.

Dr. Perla Myers, who has been on the faculty since 1999, is behind the week-long STEAM Academy for middle and high school students, and Project Mathigami, which takes advantage of paper folding to explore mathematics. She is currently the principal investigator for three National Science Foundation-funded educational projects that are designed to increase diversity in the sciences.

“I’m excited for the opportunities this position brings to work with an amazing team and partner with colleagues and community organizations to advance equity, inclusive innovation and leadership in education,” said Myers.

The Jacobs Institute is a nonprofit, university-based research center focused on advancing innovation and equity in K-20 education by engaging in pioneering research and evaluation, developing innovative curriculum and technologies, and supporting professional learning grounded in the learning sciences. 

The institute hosts the ImPactful Teen Innovation Sandbox, a week-long camp experience for local middle and high school students to engage in social good innovation. The institute also was recently awarded a $1.18 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an immersive learning experience in Minecraft: Education Edition to help strengthen Hispanic elementary students’ spatial computational thinking skills . 

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Perla Meyers,” said Kimberly White-Smith, dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. “Her vision aligns with our goal to increase PK-12 and community access to educational activities, knowledge, skills, and culturally-grounded practices that support creativity, technology and innovation for minoritized students, students with disabilities, and economically oppressed communities.”

The Jacobs Institute is supported by the generosity of San Diego philanthropists Joan and Irwin Jacobs.



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