Inaugural recipients of ‘Be the Change for Kids’ Innovation Awards
honored for unique programs that offer pathways into 21st century
careers led by nanotechnology
Albany, NY – In line with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership in building educational initiatives that support 21st century career paths such as New York’s growing nanotechnology industry, three rural school districts earned top honors for their innovative science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) programs in the first-ever “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards presented today by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
“The nanotechnology-driven economy being built in New York through the vision and leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo demands a highly educated and skilled workforce that possesses an exceptional ability to innovate,” said CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros. “We congratulate the schools selected to receive the prestigious Innovation Awards for thinking ‘out of the box’ in developing and delivering groundbreaking programs that are motivating their students to pursue exciting high-tech careers, and for demonstrating new educational paradigms that can be deployed to benefit students across New York State.”
“The three winning school districts – as well as all of the entries in the competition – prove that innovation is alive and well in New York schools,” said NYSSBA President Thomas Nespeca, a member of the board of education in the Webster school district near Rochester. “Equally important in these trying fiscal times, schools are operating these programs on tight budgets at minimal cost. It’s an absolute win-win situation: students are learning about cutting-edge technologies and taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.”
The “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Awards were created to recognize innovative local public school programs that help students gain important 21st century learning and career skills in emerging fields such as nanotechnology.
Nearly 40 schools across New York State submitted entries for the awards. Winning programs were chosen based on their ability to promote student curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and civic responsibility; prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math; and be transferred to other school districts. Judging was conducted by staff members at CNSE.
The winning districts are:
• The Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District in Albany County for its “Community Connection Program,” which utilizes local volunteers in the classroom to introduce second graders to math, science and related subjects as a means of instilling creativity and innovation in students;
• The New Lebanon Central School District in Columbia County for its “Exploring Nanotechnology” program, which combines classroom learning and field trips to introduce high school students to the world of nanotechnology, at a cost to the district of only about $600 per year; and
• The Rondout Valley Central School District in Ulster County for its “Science Research in the High School,” which utilizes a modest budget of $1,000 to provide research projects as a pathway for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in science, engineering, and medicine.
Each of the winning districts receives $5,000, funded by CNSE, with a special recognition luncheon to be held on Friday, Oct. 26 at NYSSBA’s Annual Convention in Rochester. In addition to the monetary award, students and staff from the winning programs are participating in tours and activities at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex.
“The winning school districts showed tremendous creativity and resourcefulness in developing these programs,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “These are high-impact programs in school districts that do not have big budgets for science and technology.”
About CNSE. The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. With more than $14 billion in high-tech investments, CNSE represents the world’s most advanced university-driven research enterprise, offering students a one-of-a-kind academic experience and providing over 300 corporate partners with access to an unmatched ecosystem for leading-edge R&D and commercialization of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology innovations. CNSE’s footprint spans upstate New York, including its Albany NanoTech Complex, an 800,000-square-foot megaplex with the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 85,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,700 scientists, researchers, engineers, students and faculty work here, from companies including IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Samsung, TSMC, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML and Novellus Systems. An expansion now underway, part of which will house the world’s first Global 450mm Consortium, will add nearly 500,000 square feet of next-generation infrastructure, an additional 50,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms, and more than 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers from CNSE and global corporations. In addition, CNSE’s Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon provides a prototyping and demonstration line for next-generation CIGS thin-film solar cells, supporting its leadership of the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC). CNSE’s Smart Systems Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Rochester offers state-of-the-art capabilities for MEMS fabrication and packaging. CNSE also co-founded and manages operations at the Computer Chip Commercialization Center at SUNYIT in Utica and is a co-founder of the Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Excelerator in Syracuse. For information, visit www.cnse.albany.edu.
About NYSSBA. The New York State School Boards Association represents nearly 700 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state’s public schools.
Steve Janack, CNSE
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