Today, we’re talking to Wes Hall, Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. Wes and the network launched a new conference last year – the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit. They’re pulling ideas from other networks and showcasing the best of STEM in their state.

What’s exciting about the conference this year?
We’re excited to kickoff the second annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit this year with the theme of “Unleashing Curiosity through STEM” (a theme we borrowed from our friends at CSLnet that is going to be a lot of fun to explore).

Chat with Wes Hall about the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit

Chat with Wes Hall about the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit

Curiosity infuses everything we do with a sense of possibility and it’s just as important in STEM education as the concepts of “innovation” and “creativity”. This year’s Innovation Summit is sponsored by Google and will again feature engaging keynotes and interactive learning sessions presented by some of the top practitioners in our state – and of course technology giveaways that can help transform classrooms!

I understand you’ve got some big news to share today. What’s your latest announcement about the conference?
We’re excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Nirvan Mullick, an award winning filmmaker, speaker, and movement maker. Nirvan’s short film Caine’s Arcade became a viral phenomenon in 2012, receiving over 10 million views.

He then launched the Imagination Foundation that seeks to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids worldwide. The foundation has engaged over 400,000 kids in STEM learning and launched the first national campaign to bring STEM opportunities to Pre-K kids. I think his work is a great fit for the theme of “Unleashing Curiosity through STEM” and his passion will energize the Innovation Summit!

Why did TSIN start hosting this event?
TSIN started hosting this event because we recognized a need for an annual, statewide platform where education leaders and innovators could share what they have seen working in their classrooms for their students. The Innovation Summit takes place at the end of the school year in May in Nashville, giving educators a chance to enjoy a high-energy learning experience with their colleagues and begin thinking about ways in which they can transform their schools and classrooms for the school year to come. It really becomes a STEM celebration for our partners as they end the school year.

What’s makes for a great presentation?
A great presentation for the Innovation Summit demonstrates a tool, a teaching strategy, or learning experiences that have proven to be effective in raising student achievement or interests in STEM. We want the Innovation Summit to be engaging and energetic, so each learning session has to be interactive and designed to provide participants with strategies that they can immediately implement in their local settings.

How should people get involved?
The Innovation Summit will be held on May 17 and 18 in Nashville, TN and we welcome our STEMx colleagues to join us in presenting tools and strategies that are working to further STEM efforts across the country. We are accepting learning session proposals through February 17 (update: Wes adds STEMx members can submit through Feb. 19) and, if selected to present, we’ll waive the registration fee! Registration and Summit information may be accessed at

Sounds great, Wes. Good luck!

For our readers, if you’d like learn more about Wes or the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, be sure to check out their website: For an in-depth view on where this state fits in STEMx, check out our STEMx Superstars report.

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