Salamanca and Gowanda students excel in STEP | News

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GOWANDA – Students from the central school districts of Gowanda and Salamanca spent March 12 participating in the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) activity day held in science classrooms and Technology from Gowanda High School.

Four immersive, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sessions were the focus of the day for more than a dozen students who came together over the weekend for this educational experience.

STEP is a science and math enrichment initiative of the New York State Department of Education. The program is organized by SUNY Fredonia under the direction of Dr. Michael Jabot and Ms. Danielle O’Connor.

The day of activities was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Gowanda chemistry teacher Emma Relosky and math teacher Jim Reeves, as well as Salamanca teacher Aaron Straus and Susan Schnaufer.

After breakfast and presentations, students attended demonstrations before completing four sessions.

Relosky, chair of the science department and co-senior class advisor, led the students through a hallway session Analyzing student videos with LoggerPro. They recorded themselves kicking a small toy hedgehog in the hallway, then using the software app to gather the data and measure the readings.

During the Computer Programming with Java session with Reeves, they discussed the application program, structures, and encryption.

During the Multiple Sensor Try-Out Stations session with Zach Izard, they explored heating and cooling methods.

During the chemistry/biology lab with sensors with Ebersole, students donned safety glasses to work with acids and bases.

Between sessions, students ate lunch and received SUNY Fredonia STEP program T-shirts.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students ready to enter college. It aims to improve their participation rate in the fields of mathematics, science, technology, health and accredited professions.

STEP’s student readiness enhancement projects run year-round, with the summer engagement being a key component. It emphasizes teaching core subjects and preparing for exams through supervised lab and research training, college admissions counseling, and outreach and career development.

Feedback is an essential component of the STEP initiative and participants are encouraged to ask questions. The students ended the day with a short survey assessing what they learned. Students were asked what they thought of what could have improved the activity day and if they would be interested in participating in future events.

Plans for future STEP events include participation in the Manufacturing STEM trade show hosted by Dream It Do It and participation in the STEP summer program hosted by E2CCB and P-TECH at their Dunkirk and Springville campuses.

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