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Science Week aims to promote STEM awareness

Participants in a past Science Exploration Day watch a floating hammer. Photo: Douglas Levere

By SUE WUETCHER

Published March 9, 2015

The second city-wide Science Week, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to future employment in Western New York’s burgeoning life sciences and advanced manufacturing industries, will take place March 14-20.

Spearheading the event are UB, SUNY Buffalo State, Erie Community College, SUNY, the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Public Schools.

Designed for students from kindergarten through high school, Science Week will include hands-on workshops, guest speakers and teacher development programs.

“Science Week in Buffalo is an exhilarating experience for participating students and a unique opportunity for local school, community and higher education leaders to come together and see, firsthand, the collective impact we have on improving STEM education and engaging kids in STEM learning from cradle to career,” says SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “All of SUNY and each of our Western New York campuses are proud to partner in this week’s many events.”

Other partners include the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Project Flight. Corporate partners are Praxair, Thermo Fisher Scientific, EverFi and Bio-Rad Laboratories.

Science Week activities kick off on March 14 with two events: the ISEP Science Summit at the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tech Savvy for Girls on the UB North Campus.

As part of the science summit, students from ISEP — the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools — will demonstrate their science projects. 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. Currently in 12 Buffalo schools, ISEP is helping to fill classrooms with hands-on activities that make science exciting for kids, as well as providing professional development for teachers.

Tech Savvy Girls will bring middle school girls to UB to explore STEM careers through workshops run by scientists, physicians and engineers from UB and other institutions and industries in Western New York.

Other highlights of Science Week include:

  • Genome Day, March 17. Led by renowned UB researcher and entrepreneur Norma Nowak, more than 400 seventh- and eighth-graders will extract DNA and learn more about how their genetic makeup can guide their future health choices. Zimpher will kick off the program, to be followed by small-group interactive learning.
  • Science Exploration Day (SED), March 18. Three hundred BPS sophomores and juniors will join hundreds of other area students for the annual event on the UB North Campus. For more than 35 years, SED organizers have been encouraging high school students to study STEM fields in college by whetting their appetites with demonstrations and workshops.
  • Science and Me: K-2 at the Museum, March 19. Three hundred BPS and charter school students will visit Curious George to learn more about science.
  • The Science of Hockey: About 500 BPS sixth-graders will visit Harbor Center to learn about the science behind the sport.

SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin, a key organizer of Science Week, first envisioned the event as a way to leverage the region’s educational resources and better prepare students for career success in Western New York.

“We all win when events and programs like Science Week encourage more Buffalo students to consider careers in science and technology,” Lewin says. “Such a choice will give them better job prospects and help them provide for their families which, in turn, builds a stronger community.”

For the full schedule of events, visit the Science Week website.