STEM expands to year-round for city students

Aug 22, 2014

The Buffalo Public Schools STEM Experience is being expanded year-round. In this Focus on Education report WBFO's Eileen Buckley says the program works to encourages city school students to pursue studies in math, science and technology.

Students from the MST School on East Delavan in Buffalo gather for kickoff of STEM.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo school students, who participated in a summer camp at the Math Science and Technology School on East Delavan, demonstrated their marshmallow launchers to show the laws of physics.

The city STEM program has been a public-private partnership that includes University at Buffalo, Buffalo State and SUNY.

Mayor Byron Brown announced the program will now expand beyond science week.  It will include a new Speakers Bureau working to encourage students to consider STEM careers.

MST School students demonstrate their marshmallow launchers from STEM learning program.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"So one thing we want to start with is grade 7 and grade 11.  That would be our starting point, particularly because those are decision making years," said Dr. Mwita Phelps, Staff Scientist at Life Technologies/Thermo Fisher Scientific.  He's a graduate of Buffalo Public Schools, UB and Buffalo State. 

Dr. Phelps will participate in new speakers series this fall.

"I actually am working for a multi-national company which does produce products that are used to make vaccines, Biotherapeutics and cellular medicine," said Phelps.      

Students are being encouraged by business and higher education leaders.  UB President Satish Tripathi and newly name Buffalo State President, Katherine Conway-Turner appeared together to encourage STEM.

Interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Don Ogilvie at STEM announcement. In the background, UB President Satish Tripathi and newly name Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner.Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen BuckleyEdit | Remove

"Allowing that pipeline from high school to college and one of the ways we are dedicated to doing that is providing scholarships," said Conway-Turner.

Business leaders like Howard Zemsky encouraged students to pursue a career in STEM.

"And our community depends on your proficiency and excellence in the sciences to help our economy, so it's great for you, and it's great for your career, and its great for Buffalo," noted Zemsky.         

Some of the students from the MST School revealed their future career plans that include STEM during a presentation of their summer program work.  One student said she wants to major in forensics science. A male student says he wants to study culinary arts and has learned the importance of math and chemistry in cooking.         

Expansion of STEM will also include and citywide reading events  with SUNY READ Aloud and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and the annual Buffalo Public Schools Science week in March.