By Theresa Bradley

Dr. Kristy Murray, president of Summit Strategic Consulting, has taken on the role of STEM Advocate for Team Orlando. She will be working to enhance learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) within local school systems. STEM programs have been a passion that Murray has pursued in many capacities, including STEM Coordinator for the Board of the Central Florida National Defense Industry Association, member of the Central Florida STEM Council and student tour coordinator for I/ITSEC 2015.

Murray said: “STEM students are the future of the modeling and simulation industry. Helping schools lay a stronger foundation now ensures we’ll continue to see innovators and executers who can move the modeling and simulation industry forward.”

Initially, Murray will focus on engaging principals, since support by the administration is essential for any significant new school efforts. She hopes to bring principals to Research Park, where they can see firsthand the high-tech projects underway. This will give them a deeper understanding of how significant STEM is for the workplace now and in the future.

Murray also plans to increase Team Orlando’s outreach to teachers and demonstrate how technology in the classroom can bring subjects to life for their students and interest them in careers in the sciences and engineering.

“The school systems are focused on teaching our children today,” Murray said. “It is difficult for them to look ahead and spend time on something new. They don’t have the time to set up an infrastructure for a new initiative or seek out innovative changes. We are great advocates for STEM at Team Orlando, but there is a lot more that can be done.”
Murray believes Team Orlando’s strong historical support of STEM has paved the way for her to grow the organization’s relationships with educators even further.

“There are many from Team Orlando who have worked diligently to promote STEM in the schools,” Murray said. “Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Army Research Lab Simulation and Training Technology Center, PEO STRI, and Hank Okraski with National Center for Simulation, as well as many of our industry partners are key community leaders in STEM.”

Murray holds a doctorate degree in instructional technology and distance education, and most of her professional experience has been spent with training commands or organizations that acquire training systems. She was the director of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, part of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), before retiring from the federal government. Her primary focus at ADL was to integrate standards and emerging learning technologies into defense and government training and education programs. Murray led a global program that included two U.S. labs and eight international ADL partnership labs. She was the U. S. representative and co-chair to the NATO Individual Training & Development Task Group and the NATO ADL Science & Technology Group.

Her training experience also includes working with the Army, Navy and private industry in various leadership positions. It was at PEO STRI that she first became interested in learning technology and decided to pursue her doctorate degree.

Murray has a clear vision of success for herself in her new STEM advocacy role. She will have succeeded “when the local school systems and Team Orlando have a closer working relationship and understanding of each other.”

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