SUNY and NSF Move Forward With STEM Afterschool Mentoring Program
The Office of the Education Pipeline is excited to move forward with the implementation of a recent $2.95 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant allows SUNY to bring the New York Academy of Sciences’ (the Academy) afterschool Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) mentoring program for middle school students to scale statewide through a partnership between SUNY campuses and the Academy. Three SUNY campuses will implement the program in year one of the grant period – SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in the Capital District, and SUNYIT in Utica and Rome. SUNY and the Academy will select additional sites for implementation through a Request for Proposals process in the second year of the grant.
The grant from the NSF was awarded in September 2012 and will allow the Education Pipeline to put in place a comprehensive, systemic science education initiative where SUNY graduate students and postdoctoral fellows studying in the STEM disciplines will serve as mentors to students in high-need middle schools throughout New York State. The mentors will provide hands-on tutoring in six curricular topics: robotics, genetics, earth science, ornithology and biodiversity, math, and space science. These SUNY students will be supported by their campus faculty and will receive the types of mentoring and teaching experiences that give them a leg up in achieving their professional goals while teaching youth critical STEM skills and acting as positive role models.
While implementation of the SUNY/Academy STEM Afterschool Mentoring Program will begin in Spring 2013, planning and design activities have already begun, including the identification of two regional coordinators who have committed to guide the Program at their SUNY campuses in partnership with their local school districts. Elizabeth Rossi, K-12 Outreach Director at SUNYIT in Utica, will lead the way to the STEM mentorship program at her campus. In the Capital Region, Dr. Nakesha Smith, Nanotechnology Outreach Coordinator for the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany, will serve in this capacity.
At a time when there is an increased demand for more graduates in the STEM fields, the NSF has provided SUNY with a powerful opportunity to systemically strengthen the education pipeline for our state’s future. SUNY is pleased to be partnering with the New York Academy of Sciences and our campuses on this project.
“The Academy’s Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program has had a profound impact on New York City’s youth, and the expertise offered by SUNY graduate students has the potential to greatly improve science and math literacy among middle school children throughout New York State,” said Chancellor Zimpher, who also chairs the Academy’s Board of Governors.
Photo: The New York Academy of Sciences