North Country STEM joins national network

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country STEM Learning Network, led by Clarkson University, has been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems network.

The national initiative aims to make a significant impact on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and workforce development, bringing together a network of organizations of individuals "with the objective of collaborating in new and creative ways to increase equity, quality and STEM learning outcomes for all youth," according to a STEM Ecosystems press release.


“It’s so important to consider the ENTIRE CONTINUUM of education,” Samueli Foundation Executive Director Gerald Solomon and STEM Next Director Ron Ottinger said in a joint statement.

The two co-chair STEM Learning Ecosystem.

“The growing Community of Practice shares ideas and best practices for innovative learning that will benefit students’ individual development and prepare them for the demands of the 21st century workforce,” their statement said.


North Country STEM's selection as one of 17 regional ecosystems to join the network was announced at the U.S. News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference.

The national initiative now encompasses 54 communities, the release said.

The local network earned membership "because of a demonstrated commitment to cross-sector collaborations in schools and beyond the classroom."

Those included after-school and summer programs, at home, with local business and industry partners, and in science centers, libraries and other virtual and physical places.

“It makes sense to collaborate with like-minded organizations and to share our resources,” North Country STEM Network Coordinator Dr. Mary Margaret Small said in a statement. 

STEM Ecosystems provides technical assistance and infrastructure support so that we can tailor quality STEM learning opportunities to our specific needs in the North Country while leveraging the experience of similar alliances across the country.”


Small said the application process "required stakeholder input on 10 critical areas and approximately 30 analytic, data driven essays (that) expanded on stakeholder input," as well as letters of support.

"Needless to say, it took a team effort ... and the North Country had a great team!"

Small extended special thanks to Michele Armani of ADK P-TECH; Lisa Blank; Marcy Grenier; Cheryl Mayforth; SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Johanna Duncan- Poitier; school administrators Lisa Blank and Lauren French; business partners Charley Cohen, Steve Heaslip and Jim King; Jill Lansing; and Matt Draper.

"Our region offers rich and varied STEM experiences to our students and prepares them to enter a highly skilled and diversified workforce," Small continued.

"Completing the Ecosystem application, though difficult, made me realize the high quality and comprehensiveness of our programs."


"The North Country STEM Network has been an important initiative supported by the Regional Economic Development Council and led and hosted by our partners at Clarkson University," North Country Chamber of Commerce President and North Country Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Garry Douglas told the Press-Republican. 

"The generation of STEM skills has never been more important in our area, as we see the continued growth of our transportation-equipment and aerospace cluster, including, of course, Norsk Titanium. 

"That our region's network has been selected to join this prestigious national initiative is a credit to all of the North Country partners involved but also a boost to our collective efforts to build the skills needed by the cutting edge companies we now host, as well as those we would like to attract."

North Country STEM members include stakeholders from the respective county workforce development boards and industrial development agencies; the Development Corp; Cornell Cooperative Extension offices; CITEC Business Solutions; the Northern Area Health Education Center; trade unions; business partners Siemens, King+King Architects, Corning Inc., and Alcoa; and the Wild Center, as well as all the public schools, boards of Cooperative Educational Services, and institutions of higher education.

Email Cara Chapman:

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Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

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