SUNY Fredonia and AT&T Stem Exploration Program’s Student Expo | Business
More than 30 high school students from Chautauqua County celebrated the completion of the Fredonia and AT&T STEM Exploration Program with an expo and demo event where they demonstrated some of their STEM projects, including virtual reality, mathematical posters, sealed seeded petri dishes with bacteria, gliders and Theremins, an electrical musical instrument that they learned to assemble, and other projects. The students that participated in the inaugural three week program also received recognition certificates from representatives from Rep. Tom Reed’s, New York State Senator Catharine Young’s and New York State Assemblyman Andy Goodell’s offices.
The Fredonia and AT&T STEM Exploration Program was designed to provide students from rural high schools with comprehensive resources and instruction to engage the students in STEM education and career paths through an immersive educational experience. The program focused on rural students because they are traditionally underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. The initiative was developed to introduce students to the new technology and careers in the innovation economy of today and tomorrow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor, much of the growth in the domestic and global economy will come from STEM-related jobs – a highly lucrative and competitive field. It is estimated by 2020 there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs.
"Fredonia is honored to join AT&T in support of STEM education for rural high school students,” said Kevin Kearns, Fredonia Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development. “The Fredonia and AT&T STEM Exploration Program, which provided local high school students with hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math, was a tremendous success. Stimulating student interest in STEM fields is an important first step toward encouraging students to continue their education and prepare for exciting and well-paying careers of the future.”
The free innovative educational initiative offered the students from high schools throughout Chautauqua County hands-on demonstrations and classes, increasing youth's creativity and interest in STEM fields and careers. The program included educational opportunities in virtual reality, biology, computer programing, chemistry, physics, geosciences, mathematics and technology through hands-on and immersive activities such as building gliders and developing computer programs. Students also toured the university to learn about various STEM related educational fields and careers.
“AT&T is proud of our collaboration with the State University of New York at Fredonia to develop and support this innovative experience for rural students as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM-related educational programming throughout Western New York and builds upon our vigorous efforts to bridge the gender gap in the technology industry,” said Kevin Hanna, director, AT&T External Affairs. “Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace – requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy – and computer science programs like this one are vital to ensure that the students of today are equipped to compete in the global innovation economy of tomorrow.”
AT&T’s support for this program is part of the company’s legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM disciplines in New York through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $350 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers. AT&T has given more than $103 million to support STEM initiatives since 1987. Projects supported by AT&T contributions range from after-school programs and camps for students at risk of dropping out to hands-on technology labs and elite robotics competitions.
The program was coordinated by Fredonia’s Division of Engagement and Economic Development in partnership with AT&T and all sessions were guided by Fredonia instructors. The three week program held sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours and Saturdays for three hours. The Fredonia-Seneca Nation Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP) also played an instrumental role in the program by identifying underrepresented students and assisted with transportation for students in need.