Throughout last week, College For Every Student connected students in the Adirondacks to a series of learning experiences and career resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
CFES STEM Week featured a broad range of interactive activities with healthcare professionals, business leaders and student mentors. College and business representatives also discussed higher education and career options.
“CFES STEM week offers opportunities for over two thousand students from Adirondack K-12 schools to see what STEM careers are and hear how to pursue them on the college pathway,” said Rick Dalton, CEO and president of College For Every Student. “With this firsthand knowledge and experience, students begin setting STEM career goals.”
Introducing the week with a live chat from Saranac High School, trauma surgeon Dr. John Fortune of the University of Vermont Medical Center spoke with students about the array of career options in the healthcare field and what it takes to become a healthcare professional. He said: “It’s going to be tough, but all of you in this room can do it, because with commitment and with hard drive — with grit as they say at College For Every Student — the challenges can be overcome and you can enter this very gratifying healthcare profession.”
On March 2 and 3, a sense of accomplishment pervaded the CFES Center in Essex as students from six Adirondack schools gathered for hands-on learning and problem-solving in robotics workshops led by faculty and cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Students, collaborating with peers from different schools, applied engineering principles, current technology and their math skills to create codes and program robots. The day ended with a competition where students saw the impact of their efforts as they instructed their robots to navigate a preset path.
Also during the week, healthcare specialists interacted with CFES Scholars (students in the CFES Program) at a college and career healthcare fair hosted in Plattsburgh by CFES and the University of Vermont Health Network — Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH). Demonstrations from EMT of CVPH, the School of Radiology, the Laboratory and other hospital departments and services showed students how medical equipment works and the health conditions these professionals treat. In addition, representatives from North Country Community College, Clinton Community College, SUNY Plattsburgh and CV-TEC offered information about STEM career options and pathways.
At a separate event, student mentors who were trained through the CFES Program, joined business leaders to conduct a series of STEM-learning activities at Ticonderoga Middle School. Stephen Gratto, superintendent of the Schroon Lake Central School District, opened the day with a fun physics exercise — balancing a chair on his chin. A representative from International Paper explained and demonstrated the workings of a standard pump in the paper-making process, and environmental educators from the Lake George Association demonstrated water filtration methods. Ticonderoga high school mentors led several STEM sessions, including one where students built freestanding structures, as tall as possible, with 20 pieces of spaghetti, one yard of masking tape, and one marshmallow — on top.