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Science Week highlights STEM pipeline, partnerships

Monica Ocasio (left) and Tiffany Spruce make "slime" during a recent session of the after-school science program at Buffalo's Native American Magnet School. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published April 3, 2014

UB, SUNY Buffalo State and Erie Community College are teaming up with the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Public Schools to make STEM education a priority for K-12 schools. The first annual city-wide Science Week, being held April 7-11, underscores the critical importance of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to future employment in Western New York’s emerging life sciences and advanced manufacturing industries.

National guest speakers, teacher development workshops and hands-on classroom science activities are supplementing existing programs, including the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools (ISEP).  Funded by a $10 million National Science Foundation grant, ISEP is a coalition of partners, led by UB, whose goal is to transform how science is taught. ISEP is currently in 12 Buffalo schools, helping to fill classrooms with hands-on activities that make science exciting for kids, as well as providing professional development for teachers.

“This is a way to strengthen the workforce for Western New York by building a stronger education pipeline through enhanced, more specific alliances along the educational partners for industries that will support the region’s emerging life sciences economy,” says Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development.

Science Week activities kick off 9 a.m. April 7, at the Native American Magnet School #19, an ISEP school.  Area leaders, including UB President Satish K. Tripathi, SUNY Buffalo State Interim President Howard Cohen and state Sen. Tim Kennedy will join BPS Superintendent Pamela Brown for some in-class science lessons.

“The future of Western New York and our nation depends on more students graduating from high school prepared to enter college and the future workforce,” says Brown. “In offering our students a world-class education, it is important that they and their teachers are learning about STEM fields, in which hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs opportunities will be available to them in this global economy.” 

On April 8, teachers will choose from a wide selection of online STEM activities.

On April 9, the public is invited to learn more about innovative programs sponsored by New York State and SUNY, including the SUNY Teacher and Leader Education Network (S-TEN) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Master Teacher Program. In the morning, a demonstration of the TeachLive Lab at Buffalo State College, an initiative aimed at better preparing teachers in New York schools, will be held in Ketchum Hall at the college.

In the afternoon, BPS science teachers will gather at McKinley High School for interactive workshops offering the latest science education techniques.

April 10 is Nano Day, featuring nanotechnology presentations and activities at Hohn Auditorium at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Nearly 450 ninth-graders from Buffalo Public Schools and local charter schools will interact with polymer worms, computer hard drives and hydrophobicity exploration at sessions presented by SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

April 11 is Science Week Celebration Day at Burgard High School. Scheduled activities include wind tunnel exercises and presentations from 9-10:40 a.m. Shirley Malcom, a nationally recognized expert known for her efforts to improve the quality and increase student access to education and careers in STEM fields, with particular emphasis on helping women and girls, will be the featured speaker. Leaders from the five primary Science Week partners will reflect on the week; Rep. Brian Higgins will close the program.

“We are building on the alliances to deliver on the promise that Buffalo Public Schools will deliver a world-class education for our children, making them more competitive in the global workplace,” says SUNY Trustee Eunice A. Lewin, a key organizers of Science Week. “It is a critical mandate that Buffalo is positioned to achieve.”

Visit the website of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development for more information about Science Week daily activities.