Why do I belong to the Finger Lakes STEM Hub?

May 15, 2012

Mary Thomas

Note:  This is fourth in a  series of posts by members of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and Board of Champions.

Because working together to improve student opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is our future! In terms of the big picture, I believe that our country needs students prepared in STEM disciplines in order to be successful in the decades ahead. As a Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Elementary Science Program educator, I know that our area abounds with STEM opportunities for teachers and students – but those opportunities are sometimes difficult to find for the folks who most need them.

In the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, we educators openly collaborate with movers and shakers from the real world of work. As a Hub, we will be able to provide a clearinghouse of information to help all types of educators take advantage of the vast Science, Technology, Engineering and Math resources of our area. We will make STEM opportunities easier to find for whoever needs them.

We have a voice as Hub members. We have a platform from which to let businesses know that our students and teachers want to see how you are using STEM disciplines. They want to know what types of skills you need and why you need them. Help our students see the applications of the school work that they do – it is so motivating for them.

I belong to the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee because the Hub represents cooperation between organizations and across boundaries. At BOCES, cooperating with others is our middle name (BOCES stands for Board of Cooperative Educational Services).  At the Elementary Science Program, we provide STEM resources (such as teachers’ guides and materials) for public and private schools throughout our state. I know first-hand that science instruction in elementary schools has been negatively impacted over the past 10 years. In some places, elementary science (and certainly technology/engineering) education happens only by reading articles – if at all. STEM Hub members know that elementary students are integral in the pipeline for STEM careers. Without a solid elementary foundation in STEM disciplines, students are not inspired, excited, or willing to go into STEM careers. They think that it is “too hard” and they are not smart enough. The pipeline for STEM careers begins here.

Mary Thomas is Assistant Director at the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Elementary Science Program. Mary is also the Science Teachers Association of New York State Director-At-Large for Elementary Science.

Mary Thomas is Assistant Director at the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Elementary Science Program, the Science Teachers Association of New York State Director-At-Large for Elementary Science and a member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee.