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Danforth Partners with Questar III BOCES for the 2020 STEM Research Institute Program

This summer Danforth’s Capital region location partnered with Questar III BOCES in their 2020 STEM Research Institute for Teachers of Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Technology.

The Research Institute partners secondary school teachers with STEM related professional industries such as engineering, research laboratories, and mathematics or technology businesses for a seven week period. Throughout the seven week period, the teacher actively participates in the partner business with projects and research under the guidance of an appointed mentor. As part of this program, the teachers develop lesson plans and project ideas through weekly development workshops with other counterparts within their school district. These new lesson plans are then included in the school district’s curriculum for the new school year.

Catskill Central School District Technology teacher Steve Schultz is completing his placement with Danforth in the sheet metal fabrication shop under Shop Director Frank Sciotti. Schultz wanted to learn more about fabrication and the technology that is utilized when building a project from start to finish. Schultz teaches a ten week technology class that focuses heavily on design, engineering and some CADD design. With a new STEM Lab in the school district and a welding program as part of the curriculum, Schultz recognized the immediate impact his placement would have in further developing the program for his students and was excited to get started at Danforth.

Schultz dove into this partnership right away, getting a firsthand look into the entire fabrication process. Not only has Schultz been able to experience the sheet metal side of fabrication, he also had the opportunity to visit jobsites to see the installation process.

From his first few days in the program, Schultz was already developing his first lesson on metal fasteners. “I actually just finished my first lesson plan. It is on metal fasteners; how sheet metal is joined together and how all the pieces that are used to join the material together to make ductwork,” he said.

Schultz has really enjoyed his experience in the program with Danforth, stating that everyone has been very open and receptive to showing him the different fabrication processes and technologies that are used. He has also been impressed with the team’s work ethic. “There’s true work ethic here. I am impressed with how hard everyone at JWD works.” Schultz is looking forward to gaining more hands on experience in the sheet metal shop and wants to learn more about the CADD technologies for the patterns that are implemented into the plasma cutting machine.

Knowing that the need for students in the trades industries is critical, Schultz believes that the STEM Partnership program is a gateway to introduce students into the trades and get them to think about it as a career option. “This program has allowed me to learn the specifics of the trade and now I can translate that to my students. We need to strike a balance between kids who can think of a design, create it on the computer and then fabricate it in the shop. Showing them real world objects like pipe or duct can help them make actual connections to how trades work. It is important for students to realize there are other options after high school.”

Danforth is looking forward to working with Questar III BOCES and our union partners for more opportunities to introduce the trades to students. “This has been a great experience for Danforth as we have been working with our union partners to figure out different ways to get the trades in front of high school students” Sciotti said.

The STEM Partnership Program just completed its seventh year this month.

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