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Amanda Smith

Executive Director

Executive Leadership Team

My goal is for every child across our region to realize they have limitless possibilities.

Amanda is the Director of K-12 Engagement at Penn State University and formerly the STEM Outreach Liaison for Penn State Center for Science and the Schools. She served as a PA STEM Ambassador in 2018-2019 as to which the start of a central PA ecosystem was ignited with several other partners. As the Director of K-12 Engagement, she focuses on building strategies and pathways to support the needs and vision of K-12 and community; primarily focused in the following areas: civic engagement, career readiness, social justice, STEM, and wellness. She has built a public database, Navigate Education in Pennsylvania, to help stakeholders search education entities through a variety of criteria, which heavily supports partnership development with Penn State and research grant collaborations. She also serves as the Penn State representative for 100kin10, a national organization involving higher education, industry, foundations and other stakeholders to address the grand challenges in STEM from preK-12 education through the STEM workforce. With other STEM Learning Ecosystem leaders across Pennsylvania, she was an integral part of the team to develop the PA STEM Education Policy memo to the U.S. Department of Education under the Biden Administration.

Prior to her role at Penn State, she spent 8 years in Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia teaching honors and AP biology, and an Independent Science Research course, where she also received the 2007 Teacher of the Year award from the Tourette Syndrome Association. Amanda has many outreach professional experiences that have impacted her work as a teacher, such as participating in the Zero Gravity Flight program sponsored by Northrop Grumman and leading a K-12 group on an ecological trip to Costa Rica.

Amanda received a B.S. in Biology and Science Education at Penn State University in 2005. During her teaching career, she earned an MEd in Education Leadership with a K-12 administration certification from George Mason University in 2009. She is currently working on her PhD with a focus on STEM education policy to practice in the K-12 education system serving students from underserved and underrepresented populations. 

All schools can access Penn State opportunities, field trip information, resources, requests and more through the K-12 Engagement Office.

At a Glance: The Executive Director will serve to oversee all major projects and programs within the ecosystem and alignment with the shared vision. The director will also be responsible for building relationships with donors, charitable trusts, corporations and foundations to support the ecosystem infrastructure and programs. The director will work with the fiscal agent and provide an annual report to stakeholders and funders. She will also support the growth of the executive team and members engaged in project teams.