Dennis Kubasko

January 1, 2016

It’s hard to pinpoint what led Dennis Kubasko to become an educator. Perhaps it is his passion for science, mathematics and technology, or his inherent need to serve, or the influence of his father, who was a high school math teacher. Most likely, it is a combination of all three.

In his role as director of the Center for Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CESTEM), Kubasko uses of all of those influences to design meaningful outreach and engagement programs for regional partners of UNCW’s Watson College of Education.

“I am deeply passionate about CESTEM’s mission, because in many ways, it allows me to link my personal goals with the university outreach and engagement needs of the College of Education and UNCW,” Kubasko said.

CESTEM provides professional development and educational opportunities in an effort to improve the quality of pre-college science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to share our work with the community,” he said. “Whether it’s coordinating a K-12 STEM conference for teachers in the College of Education or directing K-12 student competitions like Science Olympiad in Trask Coliseum, I want the general public to know that these events promote the talent we have in our region.”

Kubasko’s work goes beyond southeastern North Carolina. For the past eight years, he has served as the international field experience coordinator for Watson College’s study abroad program in Belize. He and Watson College professor Susan Catapano collaborated with the country’s Ministry of Education to improve Belize’s education system.

Serving in that capacity was one of the most influential opportunities that he could provide for UNCW’s undergraduate and graduate students, Kubasko fondly recalled.

“I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to have created meaningful collaborative relationships over the eight past years of international experiences,” he said. With the recent birth of his daughter, Claire, Kubasko relinquished the international field experience coordinator role to spend more time with his family, but he continues as CESTEM’s director.

“Each working relationship provides me with greater insight and encouragement to reflect upon on my practice as a teacher-educator and the purpose that it serves,” he said. “I’ll argue that diverse experiences allow us to rewire our brains and think differently about our profession.”

-- Venita Jenkins