There is a growing movement to encourage young people to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Historically, girls in particular have not been encouraged when they had an interest in those fields, being made fun of and ostracized as being a geek or a nerd. On this Community Conversation our guests represent education, corporations and community organizing. We'll discuss what efforts are being made to change perception and to actively be involved in nurturing the young scientists and engineers, mathmaticians and technological innovators in our communities.
B. Roe Hemenway has a doctorate in applied physics. His field is Fiber Optics research. Mr. Hemenway is Manager of Intellectual Property Science & Technology, Corning Incorporated and is involved with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional qualifying teams of Lego Leagues International in the Corning area. He is very interested in finding a mechanism to foster adult interest in working with kids in the STEM fields. FIRST was founded by in 1989 by Dean Kaman, to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Deborah Daugherty is a physics teacher at Union Endicott High School and advisor for the Union-Endicott Tigertronics Robotics League. Mrs. Daugherty has been teaching physics at Union-Endicott High School since September 2002. Prior to teaching, she was a systems engineer at Lockheed-Martin System Integration in Owego, NY. Mrs. Daugherty holds a BSEE from Clarkson University and an MSEE from Binghamton University and is certified in NY to teach Physics and Technology. In addition to US FIRST, Mrs. Daugherty has been a co-adviser for the Union-Endicott High School Science Olympiad team since 2003. She says,"I definitely experienced some of the same discouragement. Luckily, my parents encouraged me to pursue an engineering career. When I started at Clarkson, the male - female ratio was 14 - 1. I think it has gotten better since then. I did encounter some discrimination at school, but not in the work force."
Diana Bendz, former IBM senior location executive who has been working on putting together an organization called Girls! Balance the Equation, a national effort to stimulate interest in Sciences, Technology Engineering and Math for girls and young women of all ages. Diana spent years in senior positions at IBM, so she's seen firsthand how important math and science are in today's workforce. Her initiative unites groups that are already doing great work in this area -- like NASA, the Girl Scouts and astronaut Sally Ride's organization for science. Diana tells me that by mid-year, they will launch a website, girls balance the equation dot org. It will be a resource for girls of all ages, as well as for parents and teachers.
Roy Williams is an astronomer and educator at the Kopernik Observatory in Vestal, NY. Mr. Williams was born in Houston, Texas on April 25, 1966. His early interest in science is due to the fact that his father worked in Mission Control and later at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A graduate of Vestal High School, he went to Broome Community College and then received his Bachelor's in Geology from Cortland College. He taught 8th grade Physical Science for five years at Vestal and Chenango Valley School districts. He obtained his Master's in Science Education from Binghamton University in 1999 and is permanently certified in both Earth Science and Physical Science. Mr. Williams has been involved with Kopernik Observatory since 1978 when he was elected the youngest voting member of the Kopernik Astronomical Society. In high school he participated in Project Sky Map to map the sky and helped create a computerized sky atlas using Turbo Pascal. In the late 80s, he became an active member of the KAS, volunteering for public Friday nights. In 1993, Jay Sarton, "handed-over" over Friday nights public programs and high school intern program to Roy Williams. It was from this point forward that he excelled in creating a volunteer force that made Friday night multiple programs possible. Through the years, Roy Williams has provided excellent teaching, curriculum development, marketing and provided some of the best events at Kopernik Observatory. Some of these events included: a visit from the Sci-Fi channel for Comet Hale-Bopp, Astronaut Dan Bursch, famed astronomer John Dobson, and Kopernik was one of only three sites to premier HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon". He has continued to help promote Kopernik by writing a monthly column in the Press & Sun-Bulletin and making monthly live appearances on the WBNG Five-O'clock newscast. On a personal note, Roy Williams enjoys mountain biking and has studied karate for eighteen years under the supervision of Master Hidy Ochiai.