Orange and Rockland Utilities Provides a Summer of Discovery With Grant for STAC Middle School Science Studies
Thanks to a grant from Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R), this year about 70 highly motivated, area middle-school students embarked on a summer journey of discovery through the fascinating worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics at St. Thomas Aquinas College’s (STAC) annual STEAM Summer Camp.
This summer, O&R has donated about $30,000 to help fund this year’s program. O&R’s donation is part of the company’s commitment to promoting educational initiatives that enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning.
Building robots, flying drones, and donning goggles to visit the augmented and virtual realities’ environments are just part of this innovative and engaging summer studies camp program, according to Kevin, 11, of Pearl River.
The power spinning through windmills, the science illuminating solar panels and the elements for calculating net zero also are popular parts of the presentations, said Sophia, 13, of Nyack.
Soraya, 13, of New City, is very interested in the environmental aspects of the program. “I like ecology studies,” she said. “I think I might want to do something like that when I’m older.”
The program aims to develop in students the 21st century version of problem solving, teamwork, collaboration, and communication by making classroom work in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics stimulating, timely and engaging, according to Dr. Suzanne Reynolds, a professor of education and assistant dean of STAC’s School of Education. Dr. Reynolds is the director of the STAC program.
The STAC program began in 2012 with 26 students recruited from public and parochial schools in Rockland, northern Bergen, and southern Westchester counties. The program, four one-week camps, taught by STAC faculty on STAC’s campus in Sparkill this summer, featured one-week programs each on: Mathematics and Art, the Mathematics of Games, Exploring Solar and Wind Energy and Emerging Technologies: Robotics and Virtual Reality.
“We view the elements of this program as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking,” Dr. Reynolds said. “The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem solving, embrace collaboration and work through the creative process.”
St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located on 76 acres in Rockland County, NY, which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College’s approximately 2,000 full and part-time students can choose from more than 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dual-degree programs across four Schools: Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Education, and STEM. The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top-Tier for Regional Universities, by Colleges of Distinction in both its New York and Catholic editions, by Affordable Colleges Online as a Top College in New York for Return on Investment and is included as a Military Friendly School®. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; its School of Education is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), and its School of Business is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). For more information, visit www.stac.edu.