On July 27, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and New York Health Works awarded Questar III one of two STEM Talent Pipeline Grants for its Summer STEM Research Institute. The institute places STEM teachers in local businesses and research facilities over the course of six weeks for two consecutive summers, giving them the opportunity to experience first-hand the environment their students will encounter after graduation, and allowing them to bring more authentic instruction into their classrooms.

The grant will fully fund Hoosick Falls’ Deb Mabey in her second rotation through the program. Mabey teaches science at Hoosick Falls High School, and is working at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying how environmental contaminants affect animals and plants.

The STEM Talent Pipeline Grants are awarded to organizations and causes supporting STEM education initiatives and preparing the next generation STEM workforce. At the event, Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz praised the STEM Research Institute for providing the professional development more teachers need, and thanks PhRMA for their support of the program.

“We are grateful for PhRMA’s generous contribution to our Summer STEM Research Institute, which has already impacted hundreds of students in our region. Now, thanks to PhRMA’s support, that number will continue to grow. The best way to improve student learning in STEM is to improve the capacity of those who teach it. This improved capacity will lead more students to pursue STEM-related majors in college, supporting the future pipeline of skilled labor in our region. Collaborations like this one are at the core of who we are as a BOCES – and are an example of offering more together than we could ever do alone,” said Cruz.

The second grant was awarded to Tech Valley High School’s Camp Innov@tion, a week-long summer enrichment program for middle school students. Campers explore real challenges faced in STEM fields, and use collaborative problem solving and project-based learning to find solutions to those problems.

Also in attendance at the event were Assemblymembers John McDonald, Jake Ashby, and Chris Tague; Laura Perloff, Senior Director of Advocacy and Strategic Alliances (PhRMA), Questar III Director of Strategic Initiatives Jim Church, Tech Valley High School Principal Jim Niedermeier, and Camp Innov@tion Counselor/TVHS Graduate Chris Mahoney.

Following the announcement, McDonald, Ashby, Tague and Perloff met with Camp Innov@tion students to discuss their final projects.

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