Registration Open for Summer PD: Careers and Relevance

May 26, 2017

2016 Industry Tours

This summer we are hosting another session of our Professional Development Summer Institute focusing on Careers and Relevance in the STEM fields.

The institute is open to all Teachers, Administrators, and Counselors in both public and private schools. The institute will be held July 31st to August 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 at the Siemens Training Center at 50 Methodist Hill Drive, Rochester

Please visit our event page for full details.


Exploration and Education: Announcing the 2017 STEM Program Awards!

February 14, 2017

The Finger Lakes STEM Hub is seeking to highlight exemplary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs and practices in K-12 classrooms through the 2017 STEM Program Awards. This event was piloted last year with great success, recognizing eighteen unique and creative STEM programs from schools across the Finger Lakes region!

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Sodus Middle / High School STEM Challenges Program. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Sodus Middle / High School STEM Challenges Program. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Nathaniel Rochester Community School Kindergarten, Rochester City School District. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Nathaniel Rochester Community School Kindergarten, Rochester City School District. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

As STEM educators collaborating through the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee, we are privileged to participate in a wide range of STEM programs with our partner schools, from events, like science fun night, to a school-wide initiative, such as a monthly STEM challenge. There are exciting and innovative STEM programs happening all around us! Through the STEM Program Awards, the exemplary STEM programs in our region can serve as examples and models to inspire others in the K-12 arena to give STEM a try!

Programs applying for the 2017 STEM Program Awards are asked to use the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric to self-assess their program’s level of achievement in nine different categories, highlighting what their program does best! This rubric was developed by a statewide team of STEM leaders from the NYS STEM Collaborative and the Empire State STEM Learning Network.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Wayland-Cohocton Timber Framing and Woodland Resources/ Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Wayland-Cohocton Timber Framing and Woodland Resources/ Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Churchville-Chili School District Garden of the Saints. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

2016 STEM Program Award Recipient, Churchville-Chili School District Garden of the Saints. Photo credit: Nadia Harvieux.

The STEM Program Awards will provide a forum to share the excellent initiatives and programs that are happening in the education community from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Programs will be honored during a recognition event at St. John Fisher College on Wednesday, May 3,, 2017 at 6 pm. Information about applying for the STEM Program Awards is available on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Applications are due by Friday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m.

Please spread the word to educators affiliated with school STEM programs to apply. Better yet, tell them why you think their STEM program is exemplary! Let’s make a positive impact on STEM teaching and learning by bringing these engaging programs to light!

2017 STEM Program Awards Details

Who can apply? Classrooms, schools, districts, and after-school programs that incorporate STEM education into their curriculum. Schools that participated last year are welcome to apply again this year, but with a different program.
How to apply? Complete the online application available on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Program self-evaluation is based on the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric. Highlight what your program does best!
Application Deadline: Online application submissions due Friday, March 31, 2017.

Program Deadline has been extended to Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Award Dinner: St. John Fisher College, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6 pm.
To share information about this event, see the 2017 STEM Program Awards flyer.

This event is proudly sponsored by:

brockport siemens-new-logo-600Nadia Harvieux is the Education Program Manager at the Finger Lakes Institute.  She is also an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and Co-chair of the STEM Program Recognition Committee.  

* This article was originally published in the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute.  Reprinted with permission. *


Recognition Event: Meet Our Award Recipients!

May 25, 2016

STEM award ribbonAs we wrap up our 2015-2016 STEM Recognition program, we’d like to share a little bit about the amazing programs that we got to know this year.

One of the goals of the Hub has been to highlight exceptional work that is already taking place throughout our area. It is our intention to have an impact on students by providing teachers and administrators with examples of great STEM activities that are happening around us. We want to INSPIRE others to engage students in meaningful STEM lessons throughout their years of school.

We used the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric as a guide to indicate the current status of programs as well as to provide them with a vision for future growth.

Over the next several weeks, the STEM Blog will feature  these programs, providing a closer look at these award-winning programs that are enriching STEM experiences for our students throughout the Finger Lakes Region.  We will feature a single school per blog post and include a brief description and some of the slides that they provided to us with their application.  In the meantime, please enjoy the photos from our Recognition Event at the STANYS Central Western Section Science Exploration Days at St. John Fisher College on Friday, May 13th.   There are too many to post, so please click here to view them via google.  We thank STANYS and all of our sponsors for their incredible support!

2016 Award Winners (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Brighton High School – Energy and Sustainability Course
  • Churchville Chili School District – Garden of the Saints
  • Eastridge High School – Project Lead the Way
  • Brockport Central School:  Fred W. Hill Elementary School STEM Program
  • Greece Arcadia High School – Titan Memorial Hospital
  • Greece Athena Middle School – 21st Century STEM Innovative Solutions Expo
  • Lima Primary School – STEAM Education Program
  • Seneca Falls:  Mynderse Academy ­ Robotics Club
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School ­ NRCS Monthly STEM Challenges
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS STEM School
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS 3rGrade STEM Class
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS Kindergarten Class
  • Rochester Institute of Technology ­ SMASH Experience for Girls
  • Siena Catholic Academy – Ms. Vona’s 6tGrade STEM Class
  • Sodus Middle/High School STEM Program – STEM Challenges Regional Event
  • St. Louis School – STEM Lab
  • Wayland­-Cohocton High School ­ STEAM Program (Timber Framing and Woodland Resources)
  • Wheatland-­Chili Central School District :  K12 STEM Education Program

Learn more about our recognition program by visiting our program page on the Finger Lake STEM Hub website.

New Summer PD: Careers and Relevance

April 29, 2016

Counselors! Teachers! Educators!

We have changed up the Summer Professional Development Institute offered by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub this year. More tours and hands-on field experiences, a bit less in-class time, less project-/problem-based learning emphasis (don’t worry! We will still cover the basics using tools from the Buck Institute for Education).

Career signCounselors, think about how you can tie real jobs and skills needed for those jobs to actual career paths students need to take The technical, two-year, hands-on certificate programs like Optical Systems Technology, Precision Machining in Optical Fabrication, or Solar Thermal Technology at Monroe Community College and Food Processing Technology at Genesee Community College to the traditional four-year programs like Optical Engineering at University of Rochester or Environmental Engineering at RIT or Biochemistry at Nazareth College. With industry tours, networking lunches with local professionals, and hands-on field explorations, you can see the local job market, hear the skills needed, and experience first-hand what is needed for students to succeed in the region. [Note: the above programs are local examples, not all will be touched upon in class!]

Teachers, you can see how the topics and skills you teach come to life in the real world, solving everyday local challenges all the way to working on international problems with tiny parts created right here in the region. You will become more familiar with career pathways, traditional and non-traditional, and hear from industry leaders what skills are important and just how our local region is taking the world by storm, creating all levels of jobs your students can easily fill.

So, sign up and come explore student engagement, project-/problem-based learning, 21st Century skills, career & college readiness, and network with local professionals to enhance your teaching and experiences for students.

Click here to see the full course description, and to access the registration link.

Betsy Ukeritis is the Inter-regional Environmental Educator at the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation.  She is also an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and the FL STEM Hub Summer PD Institute Committee

Student Blog Series: Tell us what you are doing in STEM!

March 9, 2016

We need you There are many exciting opportunities and activities that are happening across our region.  We would love to hear from the students that are participating in these activities, so that we can share your stories and highlight what students today are interested in.

Who wants to share their experience?

Who wants to share their experience?

STUDENTS: Have you participated in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) program that you really enjoyed?

  • What did you think about it?
  • Do you think other students would like to participate in this?
  • What has this experience meant to you?

We will walk you thought the writing process, giving as much (or as little) support as you need.  If you have an experience you would like to share, we would love to hear it! If you would like to see an example of a student blog, please see our WE@RIT:  A Student’s Perspective blog.

stock-photo-14048292-wantedTEACHERS:  Writing about field trip or class experiences also makes a great group project.  If your class would like to share what STEM programming they have been excited about, we’d love to hear from you. If you would like to see an example of a classroom submission, please see our Hour of Code:  5th grade edition blog.

If you’d like to share your experience, please contact our Web Administrator at

STEM Hub meets with Regents

February 17, 2016

8x8 inches (full size)

Members of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee met with Regents Andrew Brown and Wade Norwood in separate meetings over the past few weeks to talk about the upcoming science learning standards and other STEM issues. Dr. Joseph Marinelli, the new director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, described the group as a “catalyst for collaboration” in the greater Rochester region that brings K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and the many STEM-focused industries of the area to the table. “We bring together a diverse group of people,” Dr. Marinelli explained, “all focused on college and career readiness for students, and that has had a profound impact on STEM in the Finger Lakes region.” The opportunity to also include a broader state perspective from two Regents took the conversations to new heights.

Regent Norwood

Regent Norwood

Both Regent Brown and Regent Norwood described STEM issues as some of the most critical for the educational future of New York State. “We are entering a period of incredible uncertainty,” Regent Norwood warned in reference to new members of the Board of Regents, continuing disruption around APPR issues, and the upcoming changes to science standards. Speaking further about the standards, Regent Norwood also cautioned that “the Next Generation Science Standards have been very tricky for New York State. In some ways they represent what people are scared about in a state wide adoption of a national approach.” The real concern here is that the national standards might be watered down compared to where New York can and is going. “It is wise to move slowly,” Regent Norwood said, “to engage with the field to make sure that as we adopt our vision of Next Gen [Science Standards] we aren’t going backwards in any areas.”

Regent Brown

Regent Brown

The need to move forward also resonated in Regent Brown’s remarks. “There are many reports of STEM field jobs that cannot be filled. Can’t be filled now, and we are adding more jobs.” Regent Brown was cautiously optimistic for a rollout of the new state science standards in the next few months. “It seems like the science world has been looking at science standards in New York forever,” he said, “and that is a blessing and a curse.” Regent Brown was pleased with the incredible opportunities for involvement from the field through surveys and planning groups, but noted that the time had come for action. “We are getting final feedback, and once this survey completes there will be a report back to the Board of Regents. Then the hope is to move forward swiftly.” His optimism comes from a lack of pushback from the field regarding the current draft standards – a situation he credits to the long term involvement of stakeholders.

When the conversations turned to science teachers, both of the Regents noted the need for new pathways for certification that would allow STEM professionals to fill empty teaching positions. “I love science, I read about science, I follow science, but I can’t teach science,” Regent Brown stated. “We need teachers certified in the areas they teach.” At the same time, Regent Brown also called for “better ways of linking what is going on in the classroom with the real world.” He praised the efforts of the STEM Hub around industry visits noting that “bringing teachers out into the real world is a constant reminder of what students need.” Regent Norwood echoed this, calling for a renewed focus on the multiple pathways to graduation and the importance of career readiness as well as college readiness. “Focusing on school to career,” he said, “is not relegating people to lower class lives but rather opens the door for young people to have an entering wage in a career without incurring massive debt from a four year degree that isn’t being used.”

The underlying issue is that of student readiness as they enter a global society and prepare to compete in a global economy. “Readiness is quite frankly of more concern to me than graduation rates,” Regent Brown noted, “We could have 90%, even 100% graduation rate but if students are not ready for what comes next it is a meaningless piece of paper.” Regent Norwood called for Boards of Education to pledge support for STEM and STEAM and not to give in to the pressure to compete around test scores. “The song running through my head keeps my mind occupied and not the idle playground of the devil as my mother would say,” Regent Norwood said. “By sixth grade,” he challenged, “all students must understand the scientific method of inquiry and the world around them.” This includes, he went on to explain, more outdoor experiences to counter the “nature deficit disorder” he sees in many children as well as a continued need for exposure to arts and music.

In terms of outcomes, both conversations left the STEM Hub with new action items to work towards. Regent Brown encouraged the STEM Hub to continue “making connections between the education world.” This includes, he noted, “formalized connections between schools and businesses with teams of committed volunteers who understand education needs and know community resources to bridge the gap and bring services to where they are needed.” Regent Norwood welcomed greater involvement from STEM professionals in crafting the instructional materials for the new science standards. “The Social Studies Framework shows that moving to a more compelling curriculum with a more rigorous approach works against the bubble sheet regime,” Regent Norwood claimed. “Going for rigor,” he cautioned, “means going for rigor not only on the part of the students but also the adults that fund and run the education system.” Regent Norwood strongly supported the idea of the STEM Hub being involved in a collaborative effort between education and industry in the Rochester region to build new instructional materials using open source content and resources from providers like

Christopher Harris is the Director of the School Library System of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and a Fellow for Youth and Technology Policy Issues with the American Library Association.  He is an active participant on the STEM Hub Steering Committee.


New Year, New Director for Finger Lakes STEM Hub

January 22, 2016


The Finger Lakes STEM hub is pleased to announce the appointment of our new Director: Joe Marinelli

Joe takes over the reins from Sara Silverstone, who was the Founding Director of our Hub. Joe has been an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub’s Steering Committee since his retirement in 2012,  after 18 years as Superintendent of Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES. Prior to joining the Steering Committee, Joe served on our Board of Champions.

Joe Marinelli, Ph.D

Joe Marinelli, Ph.D

As a member of the Steering Committee, he played a significant leadership role in  the development of our Strategic Plan, and in our efforts to reach out to our regional BOCES districts and our NYS Regents. In addition to his new role with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, Joe continues to serve as the Vice President for Exploring with the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

We asked Dr. Marinelli to tell us a little bit about himself and the future of the STEM Hub as he sees it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a native New Yorker, but spent many years in Florida. I graduated from the University of Florida with BS in psychology and Masters in counseling. My Ph.D is in Ed Admin from University of Wisconsin-Madison. After serving as  a rural high school counselor and administrator, and attending UW, I was awarded a fellowship to learn about the federal education political arena at the headquarters of the Council for Exceptional Children in DC. That led to a job as Washington Lobbyist for Florida’s Commissioner of Education.  I was Associate Superintendent in Orange Co.(Orlando) FL and Superintendent in Livonia, MI, a Detroit suburb. In Orlando I handled state and federal governmental relations, strategic planning, grants development and management and the district’s foundation. Because of my interest and experiences in lobbying on behalf of education and in particular, educational opportunity for all students, I became active in state and national associations, eventually serving as president of both the Florida Association of School Administrators and National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators.  During my tenure as District Superintendent of the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, I served as president of the Association of Educational Service Agencies. I am married to the former Becky Slavis, a journalist at the Orlando Sentinel. We enjoy traveling, visiting family and friends, and collecting art glass.

How/when did you become involved with the STEM Hub?

My interest in STEM precedes involvement in the STEM Hub. As far back as 2005 our BOCES began to pay attention to what futurists were saying about workforce and economic development and the growing need to create interest in and prepare individuals for jobs in STEM careers. As a new strategic plan priority and early adopter of STEM, we created enrichment programs in STEM, career tech programs in renewable energy and engineering technology, home energy audit technician training, online accelerated STEM courses and expanded professional development offerings. When the Hub was created the BOCES superintendents were invited to be members of its Board of Champions. I have been involved in the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America for a number of years,  but since retiring from BOCES in 2012 I have served as its VP for the Exploring Program.  It is a career education and mentoring program whereby businesses, associations and government agencies sponsor units at their locations so youth get hands on knowledge of careers offered by those sponsors. Growing units in STEM and locating units accessible to youth are priorities. I have represented that program while on the Hub’s Steering Committee.

Why did you want to become the new Director?

I felt that my commitment, experiences, active involvement on the Hub’s Steering Committee and available time would allow me to build on our successes with Sara Silverstone as our director, and advance our STEM agenda. Serving as a judge for the youth STEM advertising awards, member of the professional development conference and strategic planning committees, initiator of annual meetings with members of the Board of Regents and potential additional partnerships with the BOCES have all contributed to my interest in the position.

What future projects or events are you most looking forward to?

We should keep in mind our mission, vision, core values and commitments as we consider future projects and events. To paraphrase, we are a catalyst for collaboration among business, education, community organizations, individuals and government entities. We leverage diverse resources to advance the interdisciplinary teaching and learning of STEM disciplines for sustained economic vitality in our nine county region. We are committed to college and career readiness among students and pathways to achieve them. We create, sustain and enrich partnerships, and assure access to and awareness of STEM opportunities. We are a catalyst, enabler and accelerant in the region. Currently, there are three priority areas, professional learning, community awareness and involvement, and student impact.

In light of the above,  it is important to note that, while we sometimes carry out projects directly as we currently do in those three priority areas, we also create conditions whereby organizations can come together and partner or support each other’s endeavors. My thoughts for consideration are the following:

1. The Hub’s need for sustainability which requires us to examine how we are organized and seek the resources to carry out our mission, be it by memberships and/or grants.
2. Related to the project above is for us to capitalize on the value we can offer to all of our 3 constituencies, k-12, higher education and business and industry, and consider offering services currently unavailable to them.
3. An area in our strategic plan which needs to be addressed is the provision and accessibility of hands on career education, including pathways to careers, and mentoring opportunities in STEM for young people. This has been expressed in survey results by local school district personnel.
4. We should broaden our professional development services and give k-12 instructors opportunities to engage with STEM  businesses and higher education training programs to better understand the skills needed to be employed in those fields.
5. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is an important body whose economic and workforce development priorities in STEM should be monitored so that we can be a player in supporting those initiatives.
6. I envision a STEM Hub website that is the “go to” clearinghouse in our Hub region for current information about STEM organizations, reliable resources, sound references, events, recognized quality programs, etc. This is currently a work in progress.
7. It has been several years since we reviewed our strategic plan. It is time to consider examining and updating it as appropriate.

As we go forward I know that other suggestions will surface for us to consider as well.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

For those of you who have not attended our Steering Committee’s monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month at the RMSC,  let me invite you join us to hear at each meeting what’s happening in each organization represented at the table, network and collaborate with other advocates, lend your advice and counsel, add to the energy and diversity of resources represented and actively support the activities we carry out directly.

The STEM Hub congratulates Dr Marinelli on his appointment and looks forward to a successful 2016 and beyond!