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PR students help promote science and mathematics on National Teacher Appreciation Day

Posted May 5, 2015

The Carolina Agency, the student-run PR firm of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, collaborated with other students and faculty throughout the university  and the local area to create a video released on National Teacher Appreciation Day, May 5, highlighting the importance of science and mathematics.

STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) teachers received a boost to their "cool" factor with the release of the Beyonce-approved  "All the STEM Teachers" parody of her hit song "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)."

The Carolina Agency served as creative consultants, onscreen talent, and behind-the-scenes production assistants for the video. They also assisted with publicity and social media marketing.

"The STEM music video project yielded The Carolina Agency students great opportunities to contribute throughout the process. The team members participated eagerly and were exposed to real world production demands including licensing, choreography, direction, set design, etc.," said Jeff Ranta, faculty adviser to TCA. "This is a benefit because many future opportunities in the communications field require knowledge of video production and this project provided exceptional exposure to many of those elements." 

The musical dance video features lyrics and choreography rewritten to focus on the importance of STEM teaching in the U.S., spotlighting the career choice as one that is fun, high-energy, and innovative. The producers hope it will "go viral" and generate more dialogue about one of the most critical and rewarding career paths open to today’s generation of young people. Currently, the nation is experiencing a shortage of science and mathematics teachers in middle and high schools. The shortfall has been the subject of much attention from educators and lawmakers alike.

"Our number one goal with this video was to shine a bright and positive light on teaching careers," said Ed Dickey, professor and associate department chair of Instruction and Teacher Education at USC.  "Playing off the hit Beyonce song will help us connect with a younger generation. By communicating with our audience through this video, we hope to augment traditional communications about the value of STEM teaching as a career path. Plus it is a lot of fun."

Led by Jean Triskett-Martin (SJMC '06), owner of Injeanious Media, the video was filmed using students and faculty from USC's dance program, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Education, as well as students and biology teacher Chanda Jefferson (the singer) from C.A. Johnson High School.

The University of Kentucky collaborated with USC in helping to fund the extensive production.  Because STEM teacher shortfalls are national in scope, the eventual plan for the video is to make it available to all Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership member schools to aid in recruiting STEM teacher candidates to their respective programs.                                                                                                                

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