Questar III Summer STEM Research Institute

Offering educators unique workplace experiences that impact student learning

The Summer STEM Research Institute at Questar III BOCES provides an opportunity for secondary school teachers of science, math, engineering or technology to work for two summers under the mentorship of researchers or STEM industry professionals, participating in authentic scientific research or working in STEM businesses related to content they teach

“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”

Rep. Paul Tonko

“I would recommend this program to any and all teachers that want to infuse cutting edge real-life science experiences into their classroom to help inspire their students to pursue STEM careers”

Deb Mabey, Hoosick Falls Central School District

“Not only has this program been a great way to get some hands on experience and learn what’s actually being done out there in the scientific world , it also gives us a chance to change up our lessons and make them way more engaging and relevant”

Sam Ziebel, Troy City School District

Hear from teachers who have completed the two-year program about the impact it had on their teaching and their students’ learning:

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How does the program work?

In addition to the hands-on workplace experiences and engagement with STEM professionals, educators dedicate 1 day each week during the summer to share their experiences with SRI colleagues and collaborate to create lesson plans for their classrooms. The benefits are two-fold:

  • Upon completion of the program, teachers have shared how these workplace experiences have exponentially increased their understanding of the modern STEM workplace and have impacted their classrooms in multiple ways, including changes in instructional practices, increased student engagement and higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Students are introduced to curriculum that are based on real world, real time STEM workplace applications, learning how concepts in the classroom are relevant to research and STEM work resulting in increased student interest in STEM college and career pathways

Since its inception, the program has partnered with and/or received support from a variety of recognizable institutions including NYS Wadsworth Laboratories, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Poly and Albany College of Pharmacy as well as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, IBM, Global Foundries, National Grid, the Center for Economic Growth, General Electric and Vicarious Visions.

And the program benefits go beyond these educators and their classrooms as the lesson plans created through these experiences are presented at education conferences statewide and around the country and are available here for colleagues to modify or introduce as is in their classrooms.

Would you like to learn more about this innovative STEM program?

Recent news about the STEM Research Institute

NYSSBA Recognizes Questar III for Video Gaming Program for Teachers

The New York State Schools Boards Association (NYSSBA) recently honored Questar III BOCES with the association’s Champions of Change award.

Teachers study video game development

Vicarious Visions hosted six teachers from three districts, and insights gained from the internship will be used to develop a course in video game development.

Summer STEM Q&A – Sam Ziebel, North Colonie CSD

In his second year in the program, Sam Ziebel is working at NYS DOH Wadsworth lab studying the effects of nitrous acid on the environment.

Summer STEM Q&A – Micaela Ethier

Ethier teaches high school geometry at Shenendehowa CSD. She is spending her summer working at National Grid in our Summer STEM Research Institute.

Summer STEM Q&A – Nathan Porter

Nathan Porter teaches Physics and Computer Science at Maple Hill High School in Schodack and he is part of our first cohort of teachers working with Vicarious Visions.

Summer STEM Q&A: Valerie Gordon, East Greenbush CSD

East Greenbush CSD Art Teacher Valerie Gordon is working with Vicarious Visions this summer through our Summer STEM Research Institute.

Summer STEM Q&A: Karyn Rees, Averill Park CSD

Karyn Rees is spending her first summer in the STEM Research Program working at SUNY Polytechnic Institute studying nano microscopes.

Summer STEM Q&A: Dawn Wetmore, Berlin CSD

In her first year in the Summer STEM Research Institute, Dawn Wetmore of Berlin CSD is researching and programming autonomous fuel cell dispensaries.

Recognizing our STEM Research Institute Partners

On Dec. 6, we recognized teachers and business partners who took part in our Summer STEM Research Institute this summer.

STEM Research Institute hosts Congressman Paul Tonko

On Wednesday, August 15, Congressman Paul Tonko met with teachers, mentors and business partners from Questar III’s STEM Research Institute.

Summer 2020 Cohort

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Caitlin Colwell (2nd year) English, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Jason Defrias (2nd year) English, East Greenbush CSD
Vicarious Visions

Matt Duff (2nd year) Technology, Averill Park CSD
Vicarious Visions

Valerie Gordon (2nd year) Art, East Greenbush CSD
Vicarious Visions

Christopher McDermith (2nd year), Technology, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Nate Porter (4th year) Technology, Coding, Physics, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Micaela Ethier (2nd year) Math, Shenendehowa CSD
National Grid

Karyn Rees (2nd year) Physics, Averill Park CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Dawn Wetmore (2nd year) Technology, Berlin CSD
Plug Power

Crystal Perno (1st year) Science, Shenendehowa CSD
NYMesonet

Shannon LaChance (1st year) STEM, Catskill CSD
GlaxoSmithKline

Steve Schultz (1st year) Technology, Catskill CSD
John W Danforth Co.

Micaela Ethier (2nd year) Math, Shenendehowa CSD
National Grid

Karyn Rees (2nd year) Physics, Averill Park CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Dawn Wetmore (2nd year) Technology, Berlin CSD
Plug Power

Crystal Perno (1st year) Science, Shenendehowa CSD
NYMesonet

Shannon LaChance (1st year) STEM, Catskill CSD
GlaxoSmithKline

Steve Schultz (1st year) Technology, Catskill CSD
John W Danforth Co.

Our program is based on a highly successful 29-year program at Columbia University founded by Dr. Sam Silverstein. The Columbia program has significantly enhanced the interest and proficiency of students in the classrooms of participating teachers. Teachers in the Questar III program (STEM Fellows) who have completed the Institute consistently report the experience has significantly impacted their classrooms in multiple ways including changes in instructional practices, increased students engagement and higher levels of academic achievement. Watch this video from 2015 featuring Dr. Silverstein speaking on the history of the Columbia University program, and teachers and mentors from our program speaking about their experience:

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Previous Teacher Cohorts

Caitlin Colwell, English, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Jason Defrias, English, East Greenbush CSD
Vicarious Visions

Matt Duff, Technology, Averill Park CSD
Vicarious Visions

Valerie Gordon, Art, East Greenbush CSD
Vicarious Visions

Christopher McDermith, Technology, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Nate Porter, Technology/Coding/Physics, Schodack CSD
Vicarious Visions

Karyn Rees, Physics, Averill Park CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Tim Ryan, Math/Computer Science, Schodack CSD
GlobalFoundries
Erin Sharkey, Science – Biology, Greenville CSD
Glaxosmithkline
Judith Selig, Biology, Ballston Spa CSD
Hudson Valley Community College
Dawn Wetmore, Technology, Berlin CSD
Plug Power
Sam Ziebel, Chemistry, Troy CSD
Wadsworth Center
Mike McGillycuddy, Construction Technologies, Questar III BOCES
MMC Millworks
Brian McDonnell, Technology, Catskill CSD
Digifabshop
Micaela Ethier,  Math, Shenendehowa CSD
National Grid
Tim Ryan – Schodack CSD
GlobalFoundries
Sam Ziebel – Troy CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Len Bacon – Schodack CSD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Tom Guile – Coxsackie-Athens CSD
IBM
Deb Maybe – Hoosick Falls CSD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ed Bryden – Rensselaer CSD
Monolith Solar
Digifabshop
Nicole Freeman – Averill Park CSD
Dumbstruck Technologies
Janice Balogh – Schodack CSD
University at Albany School of Public Health
Kris Navratil – Schodack CSD
Tech Valley Center of Gravity
Kyle Crawford – Coxsackie-Athens CSD
Centrotherm Ecovac
Digifabshop
Ryan DeBrosky – Lansingburgh CSD
Centrotherm Ecovac
National Grid
Darlene Hunter – Averill Park CSD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Kim Hayden – Hoosick Falls CSD
Wadsworth Center
Justin Haviland – Troy CSD
Wadsworth Center
Ashley Woitkoski – Lansingburgh  CSD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Kara Sokolowski – New Lebanon CSD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Sean Higgins – Cairo-Durham CSD
Wadsworth Center
Ben Long – New Lebanon CSD
Wadsworth Center
Tom Guile – Coxsackie-Athens CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Nicole Mantas – Lansingburgh CSD
University at Albany
Rebecca Tennyson – Brunswick CSD
Wadsworth Center
Deb Mabey – Hoosick Falls CSD
Albany College of Pharmacy
Nathan Porter – Schodack CSD
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Kaitlin McGann – Schodack CSD
Momentive Chemical
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