STEMNow Kicks Off with Flair

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Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau: Hollenshead

Summer is in full swing, and NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Center for K12 STEM Education is making sure New York City kids avoid the dreaded summer slump. Through a number of free programs, nearly 100 NYU Tandon faculty, students, and alumni are inspiring excitement about STEM education in students and teachers alike.

On July 13, more than 300 children and instructors attended the 2016 STEMNow Kick-off Luncheon to listen to encouraging welcome speeches made by NYU Tandon Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan,Borough President of Brooklyn Eric Adams, and New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Although the speakers shared concern over the future of society, they commended participants for their involvement in STEM education which they believe is a key component to a better and smarter world. Dean Sreenivasan addressed the crowd, who was thrilled to be participating in the programs. “I am so glad to see so many participants who are here to find new and exciting ways to challenge themselves as they pursue educations and careers in STEM fields,” he said. “The teachers here are committed to learning the most interesting means of teaching STEM in the classroom so that the next generation of STEM thinkers, leaders, and doers is prepared to create and work with technology in service to society.”

The importance of STEM education was echoed by Chancellor Fariña, who vigorously supports STEMNow programs. She praised NYU Tandon’s efforts to further STEM education and knowledge and made a strong call to action for students, parents, and teachers alike to more fully immerse themselves in STEM. She no longer wants STEM to be optional in schools, but rather to be a core part of the course curriculum. She believes, as she explained, “STEM is about critical thinking and problem solving. The world changes day by day and if we don’t change the way we think and what we do, we are not going to be prepared.”

Borough President Adams proved to be an uplifting and inspiring speaker. He exhorted the students in attendance: “Be bold. Be unafraid. Be true. Be you. Most importantly, realize that you can create technology that will change the entire globe. This is a great time and a great moment and a great opportunity that is taking place. Seize the moment and what you have available to make this globe go in the right direction.”

Opportunities abound with STEMNow programs, and as Chancellor Fariña pointed out during her speech, NYU’s programming is doing an admirable job of bringing STEM education to minorities, children with special needs, and those who are financially disadvantaged. Some programs, such as GenCyber, introduce STEM fields with gender imbalances, such as cybersecurity, to young women. Angelica Zverovich and Joyce Feng, 11th and 12th graders respectively, are participants in that program. They have been thoroughly enjoying the experience and eagerly explained how they recently learned hacking techniques and coding. “We have learned how to use Python, Javascript, and HTML,” they said. “Those are really cool, the syntax is really simple and the languages are very similar so they are very easy to learn. We have also learned encryption and decryption and today we learned how to encrypt messages inside photos and images.”

In closing, Dean Sreenivasan reminded everyone of the words of one alum, James Truslow Adams, who coined the phrase “the American Dream.” “He spoke of a dream that allowed each person, male or female, to achieve their utmost, regardless of social standing and wealth,” Sreenivasan said. “We should all aspire to such goals.”

Link to published article.

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