On July 27th, we awarded a STEM Talent Pipeline grant to Tech Valley High School’s Camp Innov@tion and Questar III STEM Research Institute.
This grant allows secondary school teachers to further their education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and get hands-on experience, so they can bring what they learn back to the classroom to share with their students.
During the event, we heard from Chris Mahoney, a junior at Tech Valley High School (TVHS) and camp mentor at Camp Innov@tion. The summer camp, which focused this summer on technology, gene engineering, biomedical issues, and robotics, serves over 80 middle school students from all over the Capital Region. Chris shared how the grant from PhRMA allows them to host students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend, opening more opportunities for young students to learn about STEM.
We then heard from Dr. Gladys Cruz, District Superintendent of Questar III, which oversees the STEM Research Institute. Dr. Cruz shared how the STEM Talent Pipeline grant provides expanded opportunities for teachers through the summer STEM Research Institute. These teachers work side by side with researchers, then bring that experience back to the classroom. The program also sponsors paid summer lab work at local research facilities, professional development time to create lessons, and a second year mentor program, all with the hope of bringing new, invigorated lessons to students and encouraging them to pursue more STEM-related majors in colleges — something we need to fill the pipeline of skilled labor locally.
New York State Assemblymembers Jake Ashby, John McDonald, and Chris Tague also spoke at the event about the impact the STEM Talent Pipeline grant has on education. As Assemblyman McDonald noted, “Education nevers ends; it just continues on.”
Finally, we heard from Laura Perloff from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Her message primarily addressed the students of Camp Innovation, their passion and enthusiasm for STEM research clearly evident. Laura shared that in New York State alone, there are 53,000 people working in the pharmaceutical industry, and there are often more jobs in the pharmaceutical industry than there are well-educated people to fill them. Our hope is that through the Pipeline grant, we will see more young people like the students at Camp Innovation pursuing careers in STEM-related fields.
As Assemblyman Chris Tague aptly put it, “Education is the building block of our future.” We are proud to be part of expanding educational opportunities in STEM research in the Capital Region.