UB, iSciWNY and Superior Group partner with Buffalo Museum of Science to educate students on STEM

Norma Nowak stands in front of a podium surrounded by posters that promote the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Norma Nowak speaks at the launch of a new STEM awareness program at the Buffalo Science Museum. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Release Date: December 11, 2014

Norma Nowak and Sandra Small take a look at the interactive kiosk.

Norma Nowak, left, and Sandra Small take a look at the interactive kiosk. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

“It is our goal to show students how science can be relevant to any career path and to inspire the next generation of scientists, marketers, engineers and innovators.”
Sandra Small, workforce development representative, iSciWNY
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – In a collaborative effort to transform the community’s relationship with STEM, the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS), iSciWNY and Superior Group have partnered with the Buffalo Museum of Science (BMOS) to expose students to the vast array of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers in Western New York.

Ever wonder how someone first got started in their career? What interests they have outside of work? And what advice they might give to someone interested in STEM?  

Today, Dec. 11, the Buffalo Museum of Science, along with its partners, unveiled the answers to these questions and more through creative posters and an interactive kiosk that engages students and provides STEM-career awareness, along with complementary information specific to the interactive science studios that highlight the museum’s collections.

Through the interactive video kiosk, visitors will hear directly from local STEM professionals including, WGRZ-TV Channel 2 News Chief Weather Anchor Kevin O’Connell, Empire Genomics Research Scientist Mike Bianchi, Buffalo Filter Chief Executive Officer Samantha Bonano, Liazon Software Engineer Jonathan Ebel and Moog Mechanical Engineer Kristin Zulawaski.

“We must introduce students as early as possible to the variety of STEM careers available to them,” said Sandra Small, PhD, representing workforce development for iSciWNY. “Working in science is more than just a lab coat; it also involves business, engineering and manufacturing, among other fields. It is our goal to show students how science can be relevant to any career path and to inspire the next generation of scientists, marketers, engineers and innovators.”

The museum features over a dozen creative pieces in prominent areas helping students focus on their future and find a career that illuminates their life.

“In addition to our updated exhibit experiences highlighting the science, research and innovation happening here in Western New York, we also wanted to emphasize the exciting and plentiful jobs that are based and supported by the sciences,” said Mark Mortenson, president and CEO of the Buffalo Museum of Science. “The partnership with CBLS, iSciWNY and Superior Group has enabled us to bring that career visibility to our visitors. Science, and its associated careers, is a big part of Buffalo Niagara’s future.”

“Fostering interest in STEM curricula is extremely important not only to our region — where the medical campus is quickly becoming a stronghold of scientific talent — but also nationally,” said Superior Group President and CEO Scott Stenclik. “Intimately involved in the delivery of workforce solutions, we at Superior Group see the demand for highly skilled resources on a daily basis, and the need for innovators is strong. This wonderful campaign at the Museum of Science is aimed at helping meet that demand with up-and-coming talent.”

The creative elements on display intentionally have a youthful presence, while ensuring the message sparks the interest of patrons of all ages who may be unaware of the variety of STEM careers available.

“It’s vital to provide an interest in learning that will last a lifetime,” said Norma Nowak, PhD, director of science and technology at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

The inclusion of a ‘CEO’ – Career Enriching Owl – as the STEM mascot does just that.  It offers a fun and creative way to tie educational messages to the museum’s exhibits.

Outside of the museum’s “Explore You” exhibit, which invites guests to explore anatomy and learn about important choices they can make to improve and maintain their health, the “CEO” reminds patrons that in Buffalo the medical campus is growing and the opportunities are endless, Nowak said.

“Whether you wish to be a research scientist, cardiologist, marketer or mechanical engineer, students should follow their hearts,” she added. “They should meet each day with the belief that they can be the catalyst for change if they just put their mind to it, and this collaboration is about helping them find the right place to start.”

iSciWNY is an online resource for people of all ages to learn about the wide variety of STEM careers that exist in the life sciences through facts and video interviews with life science professionals.  Additionally, www.iSciWNY.com is a hub of information for teachers and students looking to learn more about life science.

The Buffalo Museum of Science is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the study and interpretation of the natural and physical sciences. Its extensive collections of over 700,000 specimens and artifacts represent all facets of the natural world, with an emphasis on Western New York as well as man-made objects spanning the globe. Based at 1020 Humboldt Pkwy. and anchoring Buffalo’s East Side in Olmsted-designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Park since 1929, the museum presents a wide variety of programs and services for families, teachers, adults and community organizations throughout each year.

Founded in 1957, Superior Group offers a full spectrum of workforce and business solutions, including contract and direct hire, payrolling, recruitment and business process outsourcing, independent contractor compliance and risk mitigation, as well as managed service programs automated by its proprietary vendor management system, Work Nexus®. With offices throughout North America — as well as in Argentina, Belgium, China, India, Slovakia and the United Kingdom — Superior delivers cost-effective and efficiency-generating solutions on behalf of many Fortune 500 customers.

UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) is a hub for life sciences innovation and technology-based economic development. Leveraging our resources, the CBLS drives scientific discovery, facilitate collaboration among academia, industry and the public sector. It helps companies get the funding they need to thrive; scientists gain access to world-class facilities and create employment and investment opportunities that improve human health.

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