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Syracuse University to host important dialogue on improving STEM education in New York

October 30, 2009

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

On Nov. 2, Syracuse University, the Air Force Research Laboratory, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Say Yes to Education Inc. and the Syracuse City School District will host and participate in an important panel event on improving and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in New York state.

The event is part of the “progressive dialogue” initiative developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the progressive dialogue is to provide a forum for stakeholders representing sectors that include business, PK-20 education, government, corporate and private foundations, community-based organizations and parents to suggest strategies to help prepare the next generation of New York’s graduates to create, innovate and compete in the global economy. Regional dialogues are scheduled to take place across New York state in areas that include Long Island, Rochester, Buffalo, New York City, Syracuse, the Southern Tier, the Capital Region and Yonkers.

As part of this initiative, a Central New York region progressive dialogue event will take place at SU’s Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, and will bring together local, state and national stakeholders from education, business and government for a day of discussion and sessions focused on identifying both the challenges and solutions involved with advancing STEM in New York state, in particular in the areas of teacher preparation; metrics and desired outcomes; support and retention for underrepresented groups in STEM education; resources, partnerships and mechanisms; and the unique STEM challenges for high-needs urban and rural schools.

The results of the progressive dialogue will lead to a set of recommendations for implementing a statewide systemic initiative focused on increasing the number of students aspiring to and prepared for STEM disciplines.

Participating in the event from SU will be Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor; Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina; Joanna Masingila, the Laura J. and Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education; John Tillotson, dual associate professor of science education in teaching and leadership in the School of Education; and Ifeanyi Onyejekwe, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The morning session will feature an address from Wanda Ward, acting assistant director of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.

Ed Reinfurt, executive director of the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation; John Bay, chief scientist for the Information Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y.; Ray Cross, president of Morrisville State College; and Jeffrey Saltz, director of technology at JPMorgan Chase & Co. will also be among the morning guest speakers who will contribute ideas and dialogue to the goal of increasing the inclusiveness of STEM education.

Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, president of Say Yes to Education Inc., will provide a lunch keynote, “Say Yes to Education: A Model of Innovation and Collaboration.”

For more information on RPI’s progressive dialogue initiative, visit

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