Christos Zahopoulos, who leads Northeastern’s effort to boost math– and science-​​based edu­ca­tion in the public schools, now has a larger task ahead of him.

Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­ernor Deval Patrick recently appointed Zahopoulos, an asso­ciate pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, to the newly formed Governor’s Sci­ence, Tech­nology, Engi­neering and Math (STEM) Advi­sory Council.

Zahopoulos, the exec­u­tive director of Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion, will cochair the council’s sub­com­mittee on statewide cur­riculum stan­dards for sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math.

I am looking for­ward to making as sig­nif­i­cant a con­tri­bu­tion as pos­sible,” Zahopoulos said of his new role. “This is both an honor for myself and for Northeastern.”

Northeastern’s STEM center serves as a con­necting link between the university’s sci­ence, engi­neering and math pro­grams and the edu­ca­tion pro­gram, and seeks to play a key role in improving STEM edu­ca­tion in the Com­mon­wealth of Mass­a­chu­setts and beyond.

In his new posi­tion, Zahopoulos will work with mem­bers of Mass­a­chu­setts’ seven regional STEM Net­works to make rec­om­men­da­tions to the gov­ernor, cab­inet mem­bers and leg­is­la­tors on how best to tailor cur­riculum stan­dards to better serve students.

Zahopoulos favors more spe­cific grade-​​by-​​grade state cur­riculum stan­dards. Under a poten­tially new system, eighth-​​graders in Newton, for example, would learn the same con­cepts as their peers in Boston, Brain­tree and Brighton.

This strategy would safe­guard against stu­dents who move from school dis­trict to dis­trict learning the same con­cepts over and over, or leaving gaps,” Zahopoulos said. “It would allow stu­dents who are mobile to have some continuity.”

Patrick founded the council in October against a back­drop of sobering facts regarding math and sci­ence edu­ca­tion in Mass­a­chu­setts schools. Over the next decade, more than 80 per­cent of new jobs will require knowl­edge of the math and sci­ences, according to the Charter of the Governor’s STEM Advi­sory Council. But data from the Col­lege Board indi­cates that only 23 per­cent of all stu­dents taking the 2008 SAT exam in Mass­a­chu­setts expressed interest in pur­suing a col­lege degree in sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering, or mathematics.

And while interest in these fields con­tinues to rise on a national level, the number of Mass­a­chu­setts col­lege stu­dents studying sci­ence and math has been on a steady decline since 1993.

One of the main goals of the council is to increase the number of stu­dents inter­ested in pur­suing these fields—and staying in Mass­a­chu­setts to do so,” Zahopoulos said.