Weekly Feature

2017-07-26 / Business

2017 STEAM Conference slated for August

Technology and recycling, the physics of music, and how teaching the arts in classrooms helps students overcome trauma, are just a few of the topics that will be discussed at the 2017 STEAM Conference on Aug. 7 and 8. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The event will be co-presented by the Education Collaborative of WNY and WNY STEM, and sponsored by General Motors Tonawanda Engine and Buffalo State College. It will be held on the Buffalo State College campus, at 1300 Elmwood Ave.

The 2017 STEAM Conference features two days of workshops and learning experiences geared to educators from prekindergarten through grade 12 and higher education; teaching artists; informal STEM providers; teacher preparation students and parents with the goal to inspire innovation and ingenuity in teaching science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.

“General Motors donates millions of dollars to local communities to support STEM-related activities,” said Steve Finch, Tonawanda Engine plant manager. “We too, at Tonawanda Engine donate both time, money and resources to promote STEM education and its related careers at all student levels, from grammar school, to high school, to college students and teachers and administrators.”

Finch said the plant is exceptionally excited to bring two GM designers, Benjamin Zavala, GM creative designer, and Rebecka Keskey-Shaw, GM lead designer, to the STEAM Conference from the Warren, Michigan, Design Center.

“It’s important for students to understand that not only does GM employ many engineers with STEM-related backgrounds, but also requires people who excel in the artistry that designers bring to the job of designing the most beautiful vehicles in today’s market.”

According to a prepared statement, the WNY STEAM Conference was created four years ago by educators who were looking for a venue to share ideas that inspire learning in both students and teachers. Since then, it has grown into an education event that brings together people from both education and industry who share an interest in the success of all students.

“WNY STEM Hub embraces the arts as an impactful component of an integrated, high-quality STEM learning environment. Many people ask us, ‘What might that look like?’” said Michelle Kavanaugh, president of WNY STEM. She said the conference provides answers while modeling inspiring examples of STEAM learning.

The conference will open Monday, Aug. 7, with a selection of 39 workshops, including opening remarks from the GM designers and a master class.

On Tuesday morning, attendees will participate in a morning Immersive Experience from 9 to 11 a.m. at either BAK USA’s headquarters, the Buffalo Museum of Science Make Shift Workshop, the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State, or AW Miller Technical Sales in East Aurora.

These focused experiences include a tour, discussion and hands-on learning. GM Tonawanda Engine’s Immersive Experience begins at noon with lunch, a plant tour, a discussion with Zavala and Keskev-Shaw, and a panel discussion by the designers and other GM personnel whose roles are closely related to STEM and STEAM.

Registration costs $35 per person, and more information can be found at www.edcowny.org.

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