New Mentoring Program for Girls Launched

January 31, 2014

Million Women MentorsEarlier this month, Million Women Mentors (MWM), a ground-breaking collaborative effort designed to engage one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors, launched in  Washington, D.C.

It is well known that girls are underrepresented in the STEM fields.   This initiative aims to educate and empower girls and young women to actively pursue STEM education and careers.  Held in conjunction with National Mentoring Month, MWM has developed an extensive network of corporate sponsors and partner organizations that are dedicated to working with girls to increase their numbers in the STEM fields.

MWM is an initiative of STEMconnectorR.  According to Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnectorR and Co-Founder of Million Women Mentors, “We have the responsibility as a country to move the needle on girls and young women in STEM careers from 24 percent of our current workforce to 50percent.”

For more information or to pledge to be a mentor, please visit the MWM website.

First Meeting of the WNY STEM Hub

January 23, 2014

Question:   How do you grow a new STEM Hub to over 5 times its embryonic size in just 7 weeks?

Answer:   You have help from a Mentor Hub and use the exponential power of “paying it forward” with every new introduction.

The Western New York region of 5 counties, bounded by such landmarks as Niagara Falls, Lake Erie and Allegany State Park, recently became the last region to plug into the Empire State STEM Learning Network. We began our establishment with stewardship from the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (COE). The COE hosted our first meeting on November 21, 2013 with a Founders Steering Committee of approximately 20 members.

Since that Founding Meeting, we have: grown our Steering Committee to over 80 members, established a Board of Champions of over 20 members, charged five Ad Hoc Groups to initiate tasks essential to developing our infrastructure, initiated an online Moodle Learning Site, adopted working Mission/Vision Statements and began our Strategic Planning. On January 9, 2014, 56 of our new members participated in the first joint Steering Committee-Board of Champions Meeting to network and discuss our opportunities for future action.

On hand at that January meeting were Sara Silverstone, Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, and Phil Ortiz, Coordinator of the Empire State STEM Learning Network. Sara has been an invaluable Mentor in supporting our first steps by providing guidance and allowing the WNY Hub to use resources, such as the Finger Lakes Hub Mission/Vision which became a model for our work in WNY. The successes of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub will continue to serve as examples and an inspiration for WNY. Phil’s support of our evolving Hub in WNY has been another catalyst for our growth by encouraging the Mentor Hub relationship, linking us to other Hubs in New York State and assuring the ongoing interest of SUNY.

WNY STEM Hub Photo  credit:  Cattaraugus/Allegany BOCES

WNY STEM Hub’s Initial Meeting
Photo credit: Cattaraugus/Allegany BOCES

With a membership of over 100 and growing, we feel that our opportunities are endless and anything may be possible. The possibility for “collective impact” for STEM learning in WNY is strong. We believe that interest in STEM and in our Hub’s work will continue to grow. We challenge our members to remember that networked organizations thrive when each new introduction is “paid forward” by introducing others to STEM learning and to the Hub.

We want to thank Sara Silverstone and the Finger Lakes STEM Hub for guiding us in our work. The WNY STEM Hub looks forward to collaborating and growing together with our Mentor Hub to the East of us!

Guest Blog written by:  Michelle Kavanaugh, Ed.D., Facilitator

WNY STEM Hub of the Empire State STEM Learning Network

What’s new in 2014?

January 16, 2014

Lots of exciting things happening in 2014!

Strategic Plan:  Last September, we blogged about the Strategic Plan for 2014 that the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee developed.   We’ve begun work on our 3 S.M.A.R.T goals and have put together  Action Teams that are already hard at work.

Keeping everyone connected:  STEM Hub Director Sara Silverstone has hired a new part-time Assistant, Tammy Bonisteel.  Tammy will be managing the STEM Hub website and blog.  Our goal for 2014 is to feature more topics, along with guest posts from different areas relating to STEM.  If you are interested in being interviewed, or in contributing a guest blog post, please contact Tammy at

Tammy will also be maintaining the Community Calendar, so if you have an upcoming STEM event or activity you want to share, please send full details on your event to her for posting.