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Questar III Science Integration Teacher Hilary Reilly with Emma Walubi in the Welding workshop at CGEC in Hudson in November.

In November, Questar III’s Columbia-Greene Educational Center hosted a unique guest – Emma Walubi from Jinja, Uganda. Walubi is on the Ugandan Leadership Team of The Giving Circle – Africa, an organization for which Questar III Integrated Science Teacher Hilary Reilly chairs the U.S. Educational Team.

Through the organization, Reilly has partnered with several villages in Uganda to teach local educators about integrating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) into their curriculum.

Walubi’s visit showcased the hands-on nature of our career and technical education (CTE) programs, and how integrated academics offer students a deeper look at their chosen field. Students in Questar III’s CTE programs apply advanced concepts and theory in core academic areas in ways directly related to their field. This integrated approach to teaching ensures authentic, rigorous and relevant project-based learning. In turn, students are better prepared for both college and career.

Reilly says students in Uganda lack access to hands-on, experiential learning prior to college graduation. In fact, Walubi, a civil engineer by trade, only learned theory from books throughout his time at University. Not until after graduation did he gain hands-on experience apprenticing for the first time with an employer.

Reilly hopes that Walubi can share the success of CTE’s project-based learning model with others in Uganda, opening the door for students to succeed in whatever future they choose for themselves. She says students there need to experience career exploration to better prepare them for sustainable employment upon graduation.

“Our integrated academic model has been proven to work, we have the data to show that it works, so now we hope to see it transferred to another culture,” says Reilly.

Working with schools in Uganda, Reilly says, has helped her be more confident with her students and challenge them earlier in the school year.

“I wasn’t so afraid of trying to do something new as soon as CTE students arrived in September. I wasn’t waiting until I got to know them better. I said to myself ‘no, let’s challenge them right now’. It’s about setting high expectations for students to challenge them on day one.’”

Through partnerships like these, Questar III staff are changing lives, realizing dreams, and doing together what can’t be done alone not only in our three counties, but around the world!

Walubi lives in Jinja, Uganda, a town in Southeast Uganda.

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