STEM Hub Director speaks at conference addressing gender disparity in STEM

November 18, 2015
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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).


Urgent Need for Volunteers – please share!

October 19, 2015

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Earlier this fall we wrote about why STEM Education was important, and how you could help.  See the full article here.

Rochester Engineering Society’s Volunteer Coordinator Jon Kriegel has many opportunities in our classrooms that are looking for volunteers, and his focus this fall is identifying new volunteers and getting them matched up with area projects.

An informational meeting for anyone interested in volunteering will be held on November 5th at 7:00 PM at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

This meeting is open to the public, and anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to attend.

If you are able to attend, please register so that we can make sure we have enough space and materials:  Click here to register.

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Who should attend?

  • Retired Engineers
  • Engineers who work B or C shift
  • Volunteers whose employer supports community involvement during the day
  • Anyone with a STEM background that has time during the school day

What kind of Volunteer Opportunities are available?

Please share this meeting announcement.  The more potential volunteers we can connect with, the better!

For more information on this program, please call RES Volunteer Coordinator Jon Kriegel at (585) 281-5216.


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STEM Education is Important – and You Can Help!

September 17, 2015

How do you arm a STEM Teacher with real-world application examples?

Put an Engineer in the classroom!

The Rochester area has a long history of outreach success. As the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields continue to grow, this outreach is even more important.

Princii RES

Bringing Engineering principles right into the classroom.

The Rochester Engineering Society (RES) is inviting Engineers across our region to support a myriad of STEM initiatives by volunteering their time in the classroom starting this fall.

Why do we want to put Engineers in the classroom?

• To help the Teachers stay current with our ever-changing technology.
• To share real life examples with students, exploring topics in a meaningful way that the students will remember.
• To support the teacher with the delivery of engineering and technology concepts, while also providing the supportive hardware necessary to make these concepts tangible.

Please consider advancing STEM education in upstate NY by visiting classrooms and sharing your personal experiences and successes. We seek Engineers to work on topics chosen by either the classroom teacher or by you. Many opportunities are available, and you can work at a school of your choosing, or elect to be placed where there is the highest need for volunteers.

Together we can make a difference in how students see STEM-related career options, and help our teachers stay technically current.

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Demonstrating cocepts through real life experience with the human gyrosphere

Who can volunteer?

Ideally, we are looking for volunteers available during the day. Retired Engineers, or those that have a flexible work environment that lets them visit schools during the traditional school day are in the highest demand. All you need is a background in Engineering or another STEM field, and a willingness to spark an interest in STEM in today’s youth.

For more information, please visit www.roceng.org/volunteer or call (585) 281-5216.  Please share this opportunity with anyone you think might be interested.  There are many positions and opportunities available!

RES also sponsors an Engineering Explorer Post, which we highlighted earlier this year during Engineering Week.  Read more about Explorer Post 801 here.

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.


Explorer Program Overview

September 15, 2015

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What is Exploring?

Exploring is a co-ed career-education program that allows high school students (aged 14-20) to learn more about a particular career through hands-on activities that are workplaced-based.

Exploring allows students to see the real world application of the career paths they are interested in.

Earlier this year we highlighted two of the Engineering Explorer Posts in our Region, Post 801 hosted by the Rochester Engineering Society, and the post hosted by the Rochester Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

Currently there are 86 Explorer Posts being offered (and 11 more pending!).

Besides Engineering, there are many other areas that can be explored.

RES Explorers at Gleason Works

RES Explorers at Gleason Works

  • Ainimal Careers
  • Architecture
  • Auto Services
  • Business
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary
  • Electrician
  • EMS
  • Engineering
  • Firematics
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal Careers

    The SWEet Explorer Group

    The SWEet Explorer Group

  • Medicine
  • Military
  • Pharmacy
  • Skilled Trades
  • Special Education
  • Sports Management
  • Theater
  • Verterinarian Technician

Several posts have Fall Joining Events.  Check them out here.  Many are held this week, so mark your calendars quickly!

Students can take an online Career Interest Survey that helps The Exploring Program develop new programs and posts to meet the needs of current students across our region.

Visit the Seneca Waterways Exploring website for more information, or contact one of their staff:

Keith Gomez Exploring Executive – West
keith.gomez@scouting.org (585) 241-8558

Eric Israel Exploring Executive – East
eric.israel@scouting.org (585) 241-8542


The “E” in STEM

April 20, 2015

Last month during Engineering Week, we started taking a look at Engineering Explorer Posts available to our local High School Students.  This week’s focus is on Explorer Post 801, hosted by the Rochester Engineering Society.

Explorer Post 801

Explorer Post 801

The members of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES) feel the best part of STEM is the “E”.  Each year, the RES sponsors “Career Options in Engineering”, Explorer Post 801.  The post is open to older high school girls and boys in the five county area around Rochester, NY.  The focus is to help students find out what “Engineering is really about”.

The stereotypical engineer has thick glasses, bends over a desk all day, writes with a mechanical pencil all while avoiding eye contact with people.  The purpose of Post 801 is to introduce students to real engineers, doing real work in the real world.  I’ll bet there is at least one of us that matches the stereotype, but most engineers spend their day talking with other engineers, customers, trades people and consumers trying to solve real problems.

Explorers at __________

Inside the RIT Microelectronics clean room

Students hear about a typical day in the life of an engineer from the engineer.  Students learn about engineering education, about the perks of being an engineer and even about some of the trials an engineer might experience.  This is not about slick power point presentations, but more show and tell, with a smattering of advice from the heart.

Each of our presenters tells the story of their road to engineering.  Some were math whizzes in high school but a few were not!  They tell the story of what college they selected and why.  We always hear a few stories about special jobs they did that you would never expect an engineer to do.  One has a story of cleaning up Anthrax contamination in a NYC sky scraper while another has stories of working on JFK autopsy pictures.

Explorers at ______

Gleason Works

Each engineer tells the story of a job that pays well, offers constant challenges and continuous learning, but offers the bigger perk of personal satisfaction.  At the end of the day, engineers design and build products that help people.  Imagine your personal pride as you are in a car driving over the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester with your family and grandchildren, knowing that your work helps tens of thousands of people make it home from work each day, every day, safely and quickly.

The post runs from January to March, meeting each Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30.  Sign up is in early October.  This year we had 24 students and 12 meetings.  Our students met engineers from: Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Structural Engineering, Highway Engineering, Bio medical Engineering, Microelectronic Engineering, Software Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Electro-Magnetic Interference Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Imaging Science.  You can see the full schedule on the RES Website.

Explorers at _____

Chemical Engineering at RIT

Each week we meet at a new location so we can see and feel what it is like to be an engineer.  We tour facilities like: the Gleason Works, the Microelectronics Wafer Fab Facility at RIT, the Bio-medical Engineering labs at the U of R, the Electro-Magnetic Interference and Product Safety Test Engineering labs at TUV Rheinland of North America and the Ginna Nuclear power plant.

The RES Explorers would like to express our appreciation for the generosity of our host companies, institutions and most importantly the presenters that donated their time and talents to meet with our students.  Our program will start again in January 2016 and we would welcome your children.  Contact Lynne Irwin at the RES res@frontiernet.net (585) 254-2350 or Keith Gomez Keith.Gomez@scouting.org from the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA (585) 244-4210 for more information.  The cost of the program is approximately $40.

Richard Repka is a Commercialization manger at Kodak Alaris.  He has a BS & MS in Electrical Engineering from RIT and Syracuse University.  Richard is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Rochester Engineering Society (RES), where he also leads the RES Explorer Post 801.RESLOGOFINAL_cmyk_tagc


Recognizing STEM Exemplars

December 8, 2014

Join us for a new blog series as we celebrate the programs recognized by the Student Impact Team of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub.

Each finalist brought a display to highlight their program.

Each finalist brought a display to highlight their program.

This team was formed when student impact was identified as one of the top 3 priorities by the Hub’s Steering Committee.  Our team set out to identify and promote STEM activities and events in the Finger Lakes region that are engaging, exciting, and empowering for students. We created a S.M.A.R.T. Goal that we would “identify and recognize a minimum of 5 exemplary STEM initiatives in the region by September, 2014.”

In fall of 2013, an Action Team was formed to make this Goal a reality. A small group of dedicated people came together to analyze the tasks that we felt were necessary to accomplish. We decided that we would solicit applications from various STEM initiatives and then compare them with a rubric. One of the first challenges we faced was identifying what makes a STEM initiative “exemplary.” Each member conducted research regarding existing rubrics for STEM programs. We shared, met, discussed, and word-smithed the rubrics until we developed one that we felt represented our group’s vision. In addition, our group felt that a STEM initiative could not adequately be evaluated with a rubric based upon a paper application alone. We knew we needed to visit each of the finalist programs. For our first year, we decided to limit the scope of our goal to  programs that happen during the summer only.

After soliciting applications and determining finalists, we set off into the field to visit each of the STEM programs. What a treat that was! Each program had different strengths. Collectively, however, they represented a broad range of STEM programming happening in the Finger Lakes area.

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Teachers at the STANYS Conference browsing the displays

The Five Exemplary Summer STEM initiatives were recognized on November 1st, 2014 at a Science Teacher of New York State (STANYS) conference evening event held at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Each Finalist was represented at the event and provided information about what is offered, how the program runs, how it is funded, and other details. This allowed the STEM Hub to share the Exemplary programs with the community of teachers from across New York State.

The Exemplary Summer STEM initiatives recognized in 2014 by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub are:

  • Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute from Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • STEM Programs in Engineering Education from Vista Teach Instructional Services
  • Lake Ontario STEM Academy from the Sodus CSD and the Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES
  • Carter Street Recreation Center, “STEM Explosion” from the City of Rochester, Department of Recreation and Youth Services
  • Summer Fun Camp Program: Robotics from the Rochester Museum and Science Center
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Teachers had ample opportunity to ask questions about the programs and services

What’s ahead for the Action Team for Student Impact? We will feature a blog series this month celebrating our five exemplary programs.  Each program will be highlighted to give you more information on their program, along with what we saw that made them an exemplary program in our eyes.  In addition, as we celebrate the accomplishment of our goal, we will set new goals for our next program in 2015.

The experience of finding, recognizing, and holding up as examples various types of STEM programs has been inspirational. We hope that we have, in some way, encouraged others to engage in the development of STEM programming that will impact students positively.

The rubric that we developed, along with other information about the program  can be on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Please feel free to use the rubric as a conversation starter,  for professional development or to evaluate an existing STEM program.

In addition, if you are interested in becoming more involved with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Student Impact Action Team, or have any questions about this program, please contact me at mthomas@monroe2boces.org

Mary W. Thomas is the Assistant Director at the Elementary Science Program offered by Monroe #2 – Orleans BOCES.  She is an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee, as well as the Chair for the Student Impact Action Team.

 

 


STEMenizing Parents: Moving the STEM Conversation Home

November 4, 2014

There are increasing conversations surrounding the need for schools to provide more rigorous education in science and math in order to produce graduates ready to meet the workforce demand of the 21st century workplace. As schools assess their programs and begin to implement a more STEM focused curriculum, there are two needs that come to mind when considering how we can prepare students to not only engage in STEM, but once there, stay interested.

  • The first critical need is for a stronger emphasis on engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training earlier in their school career.
  • The second need is to engage parents in the STEM discussion.

Parents creating and testing their rollercoaster.

It goes without saying that parents play a significant role in engaging and sharing the excitement concerning school with their children.  As schools approach the conversations about STEM education and career possibilities, it is critical that schools engage parents in the conversation.

So, what are the steps in taking this proactive approach for engaging parents in STEM discussion?

In the Rochester City School District, Nathaniel Rochester Community School #3 will begin engaging parents in the STEM discussion this October through a program that was developed by STEM Specialist, Peter Mastrogiovanni.  The K-2 STEM Parent Academy, offered to the parents of kindergarten, first and second graders will be held once a month at NRCS to inform and increase parent knowledge of STEM, while engaging parents in hands-on and minds-on STEM based experiences. The K-2 STEM Parent Academy is a combination of the Math and Science Parent Academy, Mr. Mastrogiovanni originally developed as the Math Instructional Coach at Henry W. Longfellow School #36 in 2008.

Focusing on the parents of K-2 students is purposeful. For K-2 children, the world revolving around them is full of wonder and discovery.  Children in the primary years are extremely curious about how the world works. They continuously ask “WHY?”  as they try to satisfy their insatiable curiosity. According to Mr. Mastrogiovanni, “This is the time we want parents to feel comfortable having conversations and supporting discovery with their child about how and why things work in the world the way they do.”

Parents improving their rollercoaster using the Engineering Design Process

Capturing students and engaging them in STEM experiences begins the development of critical inquiry skills for a child in the early stages of his or her life. The K-2 STEM Parent Academy introduces parents to the STEM approach and begins giving parents the tools necessary to prepare them to be an important part of the process that helps their children learn how to find answers for themselves with parental guidance.

Additionally, conversations in the K-2 STEM Parent Academy will allow parents the opportunity to share experiences and fears while building support for each other through STEM based hands-on activities that once experienced, will be taken home to be complete with their child.

In addition to the work they are doing with parents in the classroom, the program recently launched a STEM website that includes a page just for parents.

You can contact Peter with any questions about the parent academy at  Peter.Mastrogiovanni@rcsdk12.org

Peter Mastrogiovanni is a STEM Specialist at the Nathaniel Rochester Community School, part of the Rochester City School District.