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Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum selected for STEM 2035 cohort

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Tue, Sep 11th 2018 11:15 am
Museum will expand its outreach and developing a STEM summer camp program
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum has been selected to join the STEM 2035 cohort, a $5.5-million initiative developed by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, through which grant funding and technical assistance will be provided to 17 existing afterschool and summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs in Western New York and Southeast Michigan.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum will be using the funding to:
•Pilot a summer STEM camp program with a strong focus on physical science and engineering for disadvantaged youth ages 11-15. The program will utilize the carousel and amusement industry to attract youth to develop an interest in STEM. In 2020, the summer camps will expand to school breaks.
•Present "Summer STEM Weekends" at the museum. This will allow youth who cannot commit to a full week summer camp to have an immersive, directed STEM experience. In 2020, this will expand to school holiday weekends.
•Expand outreach by continuing a STEM partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools "Saturday Academy" program, and offering participants an opportunity to visit the museum. Secondly, Herschell Carrousel Museum will develop partnerships with the North Tonawanda Youth Center and other after-school programs.
The Herschell Carrousel Museum leadership said it hopes to continue building relationship within the community. The venue will look to hire an educator to fulfill the requirements of the grant. More information on the position can be found at: carrouselmuseum.org/site/about/job-opportunities
More on STEM 2035
Community Connections of NY (CCNY), a nonprofit management services organization, is overseeing the STEM 2035 initiative for the foundation. A funding announcement was distributed earlier this year and, after receiving more than 100 applications from across the foundation's two regions of focus, CCNY has awarded grants to the following organizations, each for up to $250,000 over a three-year span:
•Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. (Detroit)
•Downtown Boxing Gym (Detroit)
•EcoWorks (Detroit)
•Leslie Science & Nature Center (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
•Michigan Science Center (Detroit)
•The Baldwin Center (Pontiac, Michigan)
•Buffalo Maritime Center (Buffalo)
•Buffalo Museum of Science, Tift Nature Preserve (Buffalo)
•Challenger Learning Center of Lockport (Lockport)
•Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (Warsaw)
•Do It, Dream It WNY Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (Jamestown)
•Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (North Tonawanda)
•Mission Ignite (Buffalo)
•Portville Central School (Portville)
•Wellsville Central School District (Wellsville)
•Westminster Economic Development Initiative (Buffalo)
•YMCA of Greater Rochester (Rochester)
Grantees were selected based on a variety of factors, including their focus on middle and high school girls and underrepresented groups in the STEM field, and innovative approaches to program expansion or new programming.
"During the next 16-plus years of our foundation's spend down, we are looking to these organizations to not only equip young leaders for the STEM industry today, but to create pathways that will allow for success beyond our exit," said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. "There are obvious gaps that prevent underrepresented groups from pursuing STEM in their education, careers and training. Through this initiative, we hope to fill these gaps and better prepare the next generation's workforce."
The STEM 2035 cohort kick-off meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3-4 in Detroit. In addition to receiving funding for their programs, grantees will also be a part of the STEM 2035 peer learning community. Through this group, they will receive training and technical assistance, try new evaluation tools and quality improvement strategies, collaborate and learn together.
The PEAR Institute at Harvard, a subject matter expert in afterschool STEM programs, will provide technical assistance, program assessments and support for grantees in the STEM 2035 cohort. Additional project partners include Equal Measure, which will serve as the cohort evaluator and provide insights into how the peer learning community contributes to quality improvement, knowledge exchange, and better outcomes for youth.
"Young people have a bright future in science, technology, engineering and math fields, but we have to rigorously support them to engage, gain knowledge and develop skills," said Gil Noam, founder and director of The PEAR Institute at Harvard. "Too many students lose interest right at the time when they should get excited and committed. The afterschool field has shown great potential to contribute to STEM learning in creative and hands-on ways. The Ralph Wilson Foundation's STEM 2035 initiative is highly significant in providing very sizable grants, know-how and evidence and a cohort approach to training."
To learn more about STEM 2035, visit comconnectionsny.com/STEM.

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