On Wednesday, August 15, Congressman Paul Tonko met with teachers, mentors and business partners from Questar III’s STEM Research Institute to learn how the program is impacting instruction and student learning.

Teachers Deb Mabey (Hoosick Falls), Kyle Crawford (Coxsackie-Athens), Ed Bryden (Rensselaer) and Ryan Debrosky (Lansingburgh) gave short presentations about their experiences and shared examples of how their work changed their instruction and led to the creation of authentic, real-world lessons for their students. All the teachers in attendance gave a brief overview of their work and shared how they’re bringing their experiences back to the classroom to enhance their instruction and drive student engagement.

“They personalized it in a way that you can best understand the impact that they’re having on their students. To be able to draw forth their interests, their passions, their abilities, this sort of practical hands on understanding of the subject matter or how it can relate to an innovation economy is a powerful tool,” Tonko said.

Rep. Tonko shares some of his backround in STEM as an engineer with the group.

Tonko was enthusiastic about the impact of the program in Questar III’s region and said he would like to see the program expand beyond Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties and become a standard practice for teachers of every discipline.

“We see a model that’s over a century old, and hasn’t really been revisited. I think expanding this opportunity here in this district and then allowing it to extrapolate into all districts would enable us to offer the best package of education for our students. Educators need to be equipped. they need to understand their subject matter, yes, but how that matter applies to the growth of our economy, the growth of an individual, the contributions of an individual. This program does that.”

Kate Fruscione of CAP COM Federal Credit Union, which is funding Schodack CSD’s Tim Ryan’s placement at GlobalFoundries in Malta, said this program offers one of the highest return on investment values of all the programs her institution supports.

“We find great value in partnering with those organizations who support education initiatives. As part of my role, I’m responsible for finding and reporting on the return on investment with those we support. Joining the presentations last week, and seeing the Summer STEM Research Institute come to life helped to do just that. I was able to see first-hand the significant impact that this program has on not only our educators, but their students. Multiple educators commented that the program gave them more confidence, will help introduce new lessons with their students, and opened their eyes to the real-life workforce that our region has to offer. Seeing the impact that the placements over the summer has on those educators made this investment well worth it and resonated with us at CAP COM.”

(L-R) Rep. Paul Tonko, Tom Guile (Coxsackie-Athens), Dr. Gladys I. Cruz (Questar III District Superintendent), Kris Navratil (Schodack), Tim Ryan (Schodack), Kyle Crawford (Coxsackie-Athens), Sam Ziebel (Troy), Deb Mabey (Hoosick Falls), Ryan Debrosky (Lansingburgh), Janice Balogh (Schodack), Ed Bryden (Rensselaer) Len Bacon (Schodack), Robert McCarthy (McCarthy Charities), Jane King (Questar III SRI Program Director), Dr. Kevin Rose (RPI), Kate Fruscione (CAP COM FCU)

We would also like to thank all of our business partners and mentors for their participation in this program and for the impact they are making on students in our region:

  • Center for Economic Growth
  • Chief Executive Network
  • NYS Workforce Development Institute
  • CAP COM Federal Credit Union
  • The McCarthy Foundation
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • PhRMA
  • National Grid
  • SUNY Polytechnic Institute
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • LoDolce Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Monolith Solar
  • Wadsworth Laboratories
  • GlobalFoundries
  • Tech Valley Center of Gravity



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