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Obama Foundation Summit Series: Meet Paul Green and the Appalachian Technology Institute


October 24, 2017

Paul Green, a leader from Eastern Kentucky who helps students achieve greater opportunity through STEM education, will be one of the hundreds of civic leaders that will join us at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago later this fall. Read Paul's story, and then sign up to get updates about the Summit and meet more of the inspiring attendees.

Something I’ve learned in life is that you never quite know what’s around the next curve in the road. Take a few weeks ago, for instance:

I’d just gotten home from work when my phone buzzed with a new message.

There, I found an email inviting me to participate in the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. I called my wife over — I couldn’t quite believe it. I’m just so deeply honored and humbled to have this opportunity to join hundreds of leaders from around the world to share ideas and explore solutions to our common problems.

But you won’t have to be there in person to benefit from all of that. Folks all around the country will be able to follow along and share their own solutions and challenges. Want to join? Sign up here and you’ll get a reminder to tune in on the day of the Summit.

Here’s a big part of why I’m so thrilled to be heading to Chicago next week:

When my son was in high school, he wanted to learn how to code. The problem was, there weren’t any coding teachers to teach him in our area of rural Appalachia.

I decided to figure out how to offer more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities in our region. I reached out to a few post-secondary institutions with courses in these fields. I reached out to private industry — folks who had businesses doing this sort of work in our community. Suddenly, we had a new curriculum on our hands. And it just began to grow.

We called it the “Appalachian Technology Initiative” — a blended instructional model that brings high-level educational opportunities to ALL students in our traditionally isolated region. Today, we’ve got about 555 students enrolled in our computer science program, and 212 enrolled in an aerospace, aviation, and engineering program. We’re working on new middle school and elementary school initiatives, too.

We’re making some great progress, but like I said — our area of Kentucky is pretty remote. So I’m eager for the opportunity to talk to people from around the country (and the world!) who are doing similar work in the places where they live. I want to pick their brains, hear what’s working for them, and bring those ideas back to Eastern Kentucky.

It’s all very exciting for this former history teacher from Appalachia. I can’t wait to see what I learn.

You should sign up to make sure you’re a part of it — so you can bring what you learn back to your own community, too.

With gratitude,

Paul Green

Eastern Kentucky