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. *

 


Bio Class visits URMC Life Sciences Learning Centers

March 14, 2016

The Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC) is a unique hands-on science inquiry center for students and community members.  It is located at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  They offer innovative and engaging programs to area secondary students.  We invited a local high school student to share her experience following a recent visit to the LSLC.

A few weeks ago, my biology class visited the University of Rochester’s Life Sciences Learning Centers. We only knew that we were doing a lab, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. Upon arriving, we donned our lab coats and sat down at our individual stations. We immediately started a lab that involved the development of an HIV vaccine. First, we studied the spread of the virus and how the immune system reacts to it. This involved exchanging fluids which could possibly contain the virus. We then tested our fluids to see who was “infected.” Our instructor then showed us how to set up gels to test the vaccines. We got to use a micropipette to place the solution in the gels, which proved to be a bit of a challenge. However, there were some future doctors and scientists who were definitely naturals. After this, we sent an electrical current through the gels. Our results helped us determine which vaccine would be the most effective.

BHS at URMC1

Brockport High School Bio Students visit the LSLC

At the end of the program, our class got a photo together.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the learning center. I liked getting to see what doctors and scientists do every day to help save lives and advance technology. I would definitely return to do another lab.

 

Bridget Moyer is a 9th Grade Student at Brockport High School.

Want to learn more about the Life Sciences Learning Center?

URMC To learn more about the LSLC, visit their website or check out their facebook page to learn more about their exciting work with area students.

STUDENTS:  Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org

 

 

 


2016 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff

January 28, 2016
frc-stronghold-blockA few weeks ago, January 9th, local FIRST Robotics teams gathered at Spencerport High School to watch this year’s challenge be announced.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization that is meant to inspire students to become interested in science, technology, math, engineering, and entrepreneurship through robotics. Within FIRST, there is the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), FIRST Lego League (FLL), and FIRST Lego League Jr (FLLJr). For FRC, every year in January, a new challenged is released to teams all over the world followed by a 6 week building period. After the build season is completed, teams compete in regionals across the globe. Qualifying teams move onto a championship with over 600 other teams in attendance.

This year’s challenge is FIRST STRONGHOLD. Teams will score points by crossing their opponent alliance defense, throwing “boulders” into openings in their opponent’s towers, and then hoisting their robot onto bars attached to the tower, all within 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Alliances are made of 3 teams and are rotated throughout the competition. The video below details all the difficulties in this year’s challenge:

The local regional will be taking place Thursday, March 24 – Saturday, March 26, 2016 at the Gordon Field House at RIT. 50 teams from across NY, Canada, and even one from Florida, will be competing locally this year. For more information on the Finger Lakes Regional, check out: http://www.upstatenyfirst.org/FIRST_Robotics_Competition_(logo)
If you want a preview of the robot action that will take place at the regional, Penfield High School’s team, Rolling Thunder, will be holding a scrimmage event on Sunday, February 21st,  from 10AM to 4PM at the school. For more details, check out https://www.facebook.com/events/1669066630033506/.

 For more information on FIRST: http://www.firstinspires.org/

Dan Schneiderman is an organizer, web developer, and maker. He is currently co-chair the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, a member of the Finger Lakes Regional STEM Hub, and is working on a few interactive light projects. Within the past year, he has helped schools with their Maker programs, volunteered at FIRST Robotics events, and hosted LED throwie experiences. He recently left his job to focus on expanding the maker movement within Rochester.

The End of an Era: Dr. Silverstone to Retire as Finger Lakes STEM Hub Director

December 21, 2015

The Empire State STEM Learning Network (Empire STEM) officially launched its regional arm, the Finger Lakes STEM Hub at a press conference held during Science Exploration Day at St. John Fisher College on May 11th, 2012.

Dr. Sara Silverstone was instrumental in the founding of the Finger Lakes Regional Hub, and has led the Hub since it’s inception.  Dr. Silverstone will retire from her position as Director on December 31, 2015.

Dr. Sara Silverstone, Finger Lakes STEM Hub Founding Director

Dr. Sara Silverstone, Finger Lakes STEM Hub Founding Director

Dr. Silverstone holds a BS in Philosophy from SUNY Cortland and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California at Davis. After 17 years of science teaching and research, Dr. Silverstone was appointed Director of the Rochester Area Colleges’ Center for Excellence in Math and Science in 2007, and in 2011 she began the process to connect this group, and our region, with Empire State STEM through the formation of a regional hub.

Empire STEM is a statewide, community‐led collaborative advancing STEM education to prepare all students across New York State for success in school, work and life.  The Regional Hub is our local network of STEM leaders from higher education, K-12, business, government and community organizations working together to leverage resources, create best practices and build awareness for and about STEM education efforts in our area.  The Finger Lakes Hub covers a nine-county area:  Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates Counties (source: www.empirestem-fl.org).  As the Hub has grown and developed, Silverstone has guided the hub through development of many programs, including the STEM Program Recognition Award program and Summer Professional Development training courses.

We asked Dr. Silverstone to reflect over her time as Director and to answer a few questions for us.

Why is the Hub important?

The STEM Hub is the only group whose purpose is to connect all of the fantastic efforts to promote STEM education in our region. It is a catalyst for collaboration and as such, contributes to efforts of those in K-12 education, higher ed, business and industry, government and community organizations. By collaborating we can avoid redundancy, cross-pollinate and share best practices across sectors.

Why did you want to be involved?

I first caught the bug when I was teaching Biology at SUNY Brockport in the 1990s. A group of us, including Ken Schlecht and Jose Maliekal, reached out to teachers and students in the Rochester City School District. We applied for, and received, a grant to bring them out to our campus for a couple of weeks for a summer science institute. My motivation was to share some of the resources of the college with our neighbors in the city who have higher needs and lower resources than we have. I thought maybe we could help. I have always been concerned about helping children out of poverty and into college and career opportunities.  

Over the years, I have found that approaches such as problem-based learning and contextualized learning have the power to engage students in the learning process, and literally change lives. Quality STEM education has the potential make the world a better place both by lifting up those who receive it, as well as by developing creative problem-solvers who know how to collaborate and communicate. Nothing is more rewarding than working towards these goals with like-minded, passionate colleagues, such a the members of the STEM Hub Steering Committee.

What is your favorite program that the hub has developed, and why?

I suppose if I had to choose just one, it would be the STEM Video Contest, where students created videos with the theme “What is STEM?” I loved how it involved so many different kinds of people.  We had teams of students from grades 3-12 from throughout our region, creating videos.  We had their parents and teachers who coached them and came to our awards banquet to celebrate with them.  We had volunteer musicians from ARC who serenaded us, corporate sponsors who enabled us to put on a wonderful event and raise some funds for the Hub,  STEM Hub members who gave many hours of their time and talents, and local celebrity judges and emcees. It had so many elements: students doing STEM and educating the public, engagement of every one of our constituencies, fund-raising and great PR, recognition of talented and hard-working youth, and a very rewarding culminating event. We still have those 19 videos on our website.

What are you most proud of over the years you were involved with the STEM Hub?

I am proud of the Steering Committee. We have been going strong since the first meeting, in 2010. For five years we have consistently had a big turnout at our monthly meetings, with representation from K-12, higher ed, community organizations, business and government. We have all gotten along without drama, operated on a consensus basis, and consistently attracted talented and passionate volunteers who get things done. We have stayed true to our mission and vision, and continuously attract new people who bring in new energy and perspectives to the group, but without rancor or divisiveness. I just think this is a terrific group of people I am proud to be a part of.

What are your hopes for the future with a new Director at the helm?

One of the areas for potential growth is increasing the involvement of business and industry. We are now poised to strengthen our relationship with some big companies whose resources can really help us achieve our goals.  I am hopeful that new partnerships with industry can help us achieve some sustainable funding and enable us to begin another cycle of strategic planning for the next several years. When I began, STEM was not a term most people had ever heard of. Now that it is a buzzword and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, I see the Hub as being poised for growth. It is a great time for the new leader to take us to the next level.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Hub Launch Meeting.pptA search committee has been organized, and the process of appointing a new Director is well underway.  Stay tuned for a big announcement in January 2016 as we announce the new Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub.

In 2013, Dr. Silverstone founded Brockport Research Institute (BRI) to provide expertise in grant writing, evaluations, training, and project management to industry, government and private organizations.  After her retirement as Director, she will continue to expand the offerings at BRI while continuing her advocacy for networking and collaboration in the STEM fields.  She will remain an active participant in the Finger Lakes STEM Hub as we transition to new leadership.

 


WE@RIT: A Student’s Perspective

December 2, 2015

WE@RIT-logo2_0On November 9th, the Women In Engineering (WE@RIT) program, in conjunction with the Women in Computing (WiC) program, came together to host their inaugural WE@RIT/WiC Open House.  Geared to girls in grades 5-9, this was an experiential event with activities, demonstrations and displays that showcased the many different areas of engineering that are available to our future engineers.  We invited a local middle school student to share her experience at this event.  

A few weeks ago I attended a Women in Engineering and a Women in Computing open house at RIT. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to see so many varieties of engineering. There were Chemical, Computer, Mechanical and many more types of engineering. I didn’t realize there were so many girls, like me, who liked engineering. The place was packed.

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

One of the many hands-on stations at this event

There were a lot of activities that I admired and one of them was the electrical engineering:  robotics. There was a robot that was programed to do tricks like cartwheels and handstands. I was also very interested in a computer program. On the computer you make a robot that battles other robots. This was one of my personal favorites.

My sister also accompanied me and her favorite activity was a big surprise. It was mechanical engineering and materials in science. Really what it was, was playing in goo!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Hands-on gooey fun!

Programmable Robots!

Programmable Robots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I had a great time. There were a lot of activities that kept me engaged. It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do it again if they have another open house.

Alexandra Covert is a 7th grade student at the Oliver Middle School in Brockport, NY.

Are you a local student interested in writing about your experiences in local STEM activities?  We invite you to join us for our student guest blog series! Contact our Web Administrator at tammybon@EmpireSTEM-FL.org

 

 


Initial STEM Coach Goal Met

December 1, 2015

Earlier this month we featured the RES STEM Initiative and their call for volunteers to get more STEM coaches into area classrooms.  If you didn’t see the original blog post, you can read it here:  STEM Education is Important – and You Can Help!

RSV

The RES STEM Initiative has exceeded the 2015/16 school year starting goal to have 30 volunteer Coaches available to support STEM teachers in Upstate New York.  We filled the conference room the evening of Thursday November 5th, with STEM Coach candidates, Teachers, and School Administrators interested in building the connections that put technical people into classrooms.  Engineers, technicians, entrepreneurs, machinists or anyone with a STEM Related Background, will now begin to support hands-on STEM Delivery.  (The year-end goal is more than twice that number.)

November meeting was well attended

November meeting was well attended

The “magic” is that these people have the real-world application experience to make whatever STEM Topic their teacher/partner is pursuing, tangible, usable, and therefore worth remembering!  These Technical people not only bring concepts, but in particular, they bring the Hardware that supports STEM instruction, to the classroom.  We are offering volunteer STEM Coaches to all Rochester area school districts.  Six STEM Coaches are already working at Honeoye Falls-Lima Primary School.

Taking a closer look with Survey equipment

Taking a closer look with Survey equipment

If you have a Science Technology Engineering or Mathematics background, and are retired (or available during school hours), please consider joining this effort.

The RES is also providing Literacy Tutoring at the Dr. Walter Cooper Academy.  This is a Third-Grade volunteer initiative that also needs your support.

There is a BSA Explorer Troop run by the Rochester Engineering Society, where Teens get an eleven-week exposure to Area Engineering/Manufacturing Firms, and extensive Career-Path guidance from practicing Engineers.  We featured this Explorer Troop earlier this year on our blog.  Check out the blog post here.

For further information, please use the Contacts below:

STEM Coaching:  Jon Kriegel –  jkriegel@rochester.rr.com  or cell: 585 281-5216

Literacy Tutoring:  Lee Loomis – leeloomis46@gmail.com

RES Explorer Post 801 Staff or Tour Options:  Richard Repka – rrepka10@gmail.com

Jon Kriegel is a Director and Past President of the Rochester Engineering Society.  Jon began mentoring and volunteering as part of Eastman Kodak’s 21st Century Learning Challenge, and continues to volunteer today through his work as the Volunteer Coordinator at the RES.


STEM Hub Director speaks at conference addressing gender disparity in STEM

November 18, 2015
Sara_Silverstone

Dr. Sara Silverstone Director, Finger Lakes STEM Hub

Dr. Sara Silverstone, Finger Lakes STEM Hub Director, spoke at the American Association of University Women’s Oct. 24th conference “From Mud Pies to Dinosaur Bones: Encouraging Girls’ Interest in STEM”.

Dr. Silverstone gave an overview of the current research on women and STEM.  She presented highlights of two AAUW reviews of published research on Women in STEM: “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”, published in 2010 and  “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing”, published in 2015.

Research shows that stereotypes and biases often lead employers—both men and women—to select male candidates, regardless of qualifications. One study found that the biggest difference between women who leave the field of engineering and those who don’t is the culture of their workplace. College experience also plays a major role in whether females enter and are successful in engineering programs. Several engineering schools, including Harvey Mudd College and RIT, have made major changes in the culture of their institutions leading to a dramatic increase in the number of femle engineering graduates. Another factor that can contribute to the success or failure of women in STEM is whether they have a growth or  fixed mindset, as described in the work of  Dr. Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University.

Read more about the conference in the Cornell Chronicle.

AAUW logoTo learn more about the American Association of University Women (AAUW), please visit the association’s website.

 

 

Dr. Sara Silverstone is the Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, and the CEO and Founder of Brockport Research Institute (BRI).