By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
SUNY Broome’s STEM division carved out space in the afternoon of Friday, December 2, 2022 to welcome regional school counselors to campus for an informational session centered around the opportunities for local students in Engineering Science: A.S. and Engineering Technologies.
Interim Dean of STEM, Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola, served as the emcee for the event. After welcoming the school counselors in attendance, she expressed her sincerest thanks for their commitment to serving the students of the community. Dean Martey-Ochola then shared her hopes for continued collaboration between regional school counselors, SUNY Broome faculty, and industry partners to attract and retain STEM talent within the Southern Tier.
“We know that as school counselors, you are influencing and impacting the decisions of the leaders of tomorrow. Our desire is to collaboratively demystify STEM for high school students and draw our local community closer to take advantage of the abundance of engineering and technology opportunities within our local ecosystem,” said Martey-Ochola.
The counselors first heard from Brittney Richardson, Staff Associate for Fast Forward/Early College, about the over twenty STEM classes that area high school students can complete for free in their respective high schools through the Fast Forward program. These classes range from engineering prerequisites in math, physics, and chemistry, as well as some technology specific courses.
At the conclusion of Ms. Richardson’s presentation, Dr. Erika D. Olenik and Professor Thomas Reid debuted curriculum planning worksheets that were crafted specifically for school counselors to use when meeting with high school students. These pathway sheets provide guidance for course registration based on intentional sequencing, so that students can take the appropriate courses to lay a sound foundation and expedite their engineering education. These sheets also include information on occupations and salaries for 2 and 4 year engineering degrees, information on transfer agreements with public and private universities, and a space for advising notes to document future academic planning and goals. Depending on the feeder high school’s Fast Forward offerings, STEM students can transfer anywhere from 3-21 credits into engineering science and engineering technology programs.
Professor Robert Lofthouse, Chairperson of Engineering Science & Physics, detailed a concise, but comprehensive overview of the differences between Engineering Science: A.S. and Engineering Technologies. School counselors learned techniques on how to determine which engineering path is best for each student based on math skills, learning styles, and career goals. SUNY Broome’s Engineering Science: A.S. provides the theoretical foundation for dozens of engineering disciplines including aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, and many more.
Professor Kenneth Marble, Chairperson of Engineering Technologies, broke down the basics of each engineering technology program and highlighted the importance of each program’s hands-on, practical application. SUNY Broome’s engineering tech programs include, Civil Engineering Technology: A.A.S., Electrical Engineering Technology: A.A.S., Manufacturing Technology: A.A.S., and Mechanical Engineering Technology: A.A.S. Engineering technology graduates are highly sought after by all of the region’s top employers. Professor Marble’s statements about employability were consistently reiterated by Amphenol Corporation, BAE Systems, and IM3NY, who separately addressed the group and explained their desire to train and retain local engineering and technology professionals, beginning with high school students. A perfect example of this desired pathway is the P-TECH pipeline.
Amy Wiswell, P-TECH School Counselor, beamed as recent Mechanical Engineering Technology: A.A.S. graduate, Ilma Halilovic, addressed the crowd and spoke about her positive experiences as a P-TECH student. The P-TECH program offers high school freshmen from throughout the region the opportunity to earn an associate degree from SUNY Broome, while simultaneously completing earning a high school regents diploma.
“In middle school at Susquehanna Valley, I was building a LEGO robot when a school counselor came up to me and asked if I would be interested in joining the new P-TECH program. After learning about the program, I said yes and single-handedly made the best decision of my life at 13 years old,” said Halilovic. “I graduated from SUNY Broome in May of 2022 and by June, I joined the team at iM3NY. If I can encourage the school counselors in the room to do one thing, it would be to wiggle through the halls and classrooms and find the girls like me and encourage them to consider engineering. I was the only female mechanical engineering student in our group of P-TECH students and I think there could be a lot more.”
Amphenol Corporation, BAE Systems, and iM3NY implored school counselors to funnel prospective engineering students to SUNY Broome. “We know from experience that SUNY Broome’s programs are rigorous. This rigor, coupled with the practical and technical skills that the students acquire, make them ideal employees. Students with an associate degree can enter the company as a technician and we will provide tuition benefits so that they can complete their bachelor’s degree and beyond,” shared Jenna Dino, Human Resources Business Partner at BAE Systems.
Jacob Klieger of iM3NY cautioned the group to not be fearful of start-up companies. As a life-long resident of the Southern Tier, Klieger proudly shared that we are no-longer in the post-IBM days, but rather are re-evolving into a technological hub for the nation.
While each employer explained that prospective applicants should apply for positions through the appropriate, corporate online channels, they also suggested that SUNY Broome graduates initiate some “polite poking” with the companies’ local HR departments through direct email or message via LinkedIn.
Whitney Point school counselor, Jennifer Westcott, thoroughly enjoyed the event and was excited to share the information that she received with her fellow counselors and students.
“I am feeling so inspired. There are so many opportunities for our students in this region and they start with SUNY Broome.”
If you are interested in learning more about STEM at SUNY Broome, don’t hesitate to reach out to SUNY Broome’s Admissions Office at 607-778-5001 or email@example.com.