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Mason hosts event to encourage students with dyslexia to pursue STEM fields

March 20, 2019   /   by John Hollis

George Mason University’s College of Science has partnered with two local advocacy groups for an event to empower students with dyslexia and turn them into future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) leaders.

Saturday’s  “Dyslexic Edge: 2019 Pathways to STEM Excellence” at Exploratory Hall on the Fairfax Campus, is a one-day gathering for parents, teachers and industry experts who want to build added confidence in K-12 students who have dyslexia. If successful, the event could lead to future summer camps for students with dyslexia, a teaching academy and more.

“Studies are showing more and more that people with dyslexia are uniquely gifted in areas of STEM. They are our future workforce,” said Krista Gauthier, the local activist who leads Sliding Doors LLC, one of the partners for the conference.  Decoding Dyslexia and Mason’s College of Science also partnered for the event.

Dyslexia is a neurological learning disorder often characterized by trouble with reading. Problems can often include difficulty in spelling words, reading quickly and writing words.

“We recognized this exciting partnership as a way to support Mason’s commitment to develop as a model well-being university where talented people of all backgrounds can thrive,” said Tracy Mason, assistant dean of strategic communications for the college. “It’s our mission to foster scientific curiosity and, with our focus on diversity and inclusion, efforts like this will ensure that our community, and the STEM pipeline Mason offers, is rich in ideas, talent and perspectives.”

The conference will include speakers, panels and exhibits with STEM activities, such as engineering challenges and live demonstrations. Organizers hope to demonstrate the best ways to educate children with dyslexia so they can reach their full potential.

“We aim to focus on the strengths of people with dyslexia,” Gauthier said.

Mason faculty and students can attend the morning sessions by registering at thedyslexicedge.org. Students can register with the code GMUSTUDENT and bring their Mason student ID to the event. Faculty can receive a discounted rate with the code GMUDISCOUNT.