Since 2014, Questar III’s Summer STEM Research Program has placed local secondary school STEM teachers in local businesses, colleges/universities and research facilities to get hands-on experience in areas related to the courses they teach – providing their students a more authentic education and better preparing them for the world they will encounter after graduation.
Ryan Debrosky teaches 8th grade Math at Lansingburgh Middle School. This is his second year in Questar III’s Summer STEM Research Program, and he is spending the summer at National Grid studying engineering design and production.
Briefly describe your research to someone without a STEM background.
My research is on finding out the different types of engineering jobs out in the work force, experiencing the design and production process associated with creating a product, and seeing all the components that make a successful business run effectively.
What made you want to apply for the Summer STEM program?
I have never experienced the business world; I have only worked in education. I was curious to see what businesses are looking for and be able to relay that information back to my students. I was also hearing in my classroom, quite often, “Why do I have to learn this?” I wanted to be able to express the answer to that question in a real-world scenario. Lastly, I put myself outside of my “comfort zone” to show students that you can persevere when faced with a challenge you have never experienced.
How do you see this program impacting your instruction and benefiting your students?
I feel it has made me a much better teacher. I have incorporated more group work and hands on learning in my classroom. It has impacted my classroom by allowing me to reflect on my students struggles in math class, because I experienced many struggles and difficulties working in the business field. It has also allowed me to answer my students when they ask about potential careers/jobs upon completing their education.
What are you most looking forward to through the program, or what has been the most beneficial experience for you so far?
The most beneficial part of this program has been to see what businesses are looking for when students get out of school. There are so many intangibles, in addition to knowledge, that I can bring into my classroom on a daily basis.