ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — In an effort to boost STEM programming in the Southern Tier, St. Bonaventure University will become the first WNY STEM Hub Satellite Center.

The university has signed a memorandum of understanding with WNY STEM Hub, one of 10 component organizations of the Empire State STEM Learning Network. The organizations promote programming in the sciences, technology, engineering, math and the arts.

The expressed purpose of the agreement is to provide parallel programming in STEM by the WNY STEM Hub and its Southern Tier partners to increase STEM services in the region, specifically in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

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“WNY STEM is pleased to partner with St. Bonaventure to establish our first WNY STEM Satellite Center,” said Dr. Michelle Kavanaugh, president of WNY STEM. “In building on our past collaborations together involving grant projects, learning programs and work with other partners in the Cattaraugus-Allegany region, we are well-situated through this partnership to bring more services and STEM experiences to a portion of our region that has been underserved in what we offer.

“The center represents a centrally located home base encompassing the two counties from which we can convene a stronger ecosystem of cross-sector interests in STEM,” she said.

University and WNY STEM officials are hoping to replicate some of the STEM initiatives already happening in Erie and Niagara counties to complement existing STEM initiatives at Southern Tier institutions including St. Bonaventure, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Alfred State and Alfred University, Challenger Center and programs like Dream It! Do It! (DIDI).

Dr. David Hilmey, dean of SBU’s School of Arts & Sciences, has been named to the WNY STEM advisory board, and Dr. Xiaoning Zhang, associate professor of biology at SBU, will serve as Satellite Center co-liaison to WNY STEM with Evelyn Sabina of DIDI.

“The partnership with WNY STEM gives this region a centralized point of communication on STEM and science-related events and outreach. It also gives Bonaventure access to networks of STEM professionals and events throughout WNY that adds to our already strong reputation for science education and science advocacy,” Hilmey said.

“We also anticipate developing partnerships through WNY STEM aimed at obtaining grants and additional STEM resources for the Southern Tier,” he added.

WNY STEM will collaborate this summer with SBU on the university’s Summer Research Program for High School Students and a K-12 STEM Teacher Workshop, both focusing on bioinformatics and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

WNY STEM’s value proposition is to create awareness and partnerships that serve students, teachers and parents in accessing STEM learning and careers by providing events, experiences and resources through collaboration of the extensive network of cross-sector members and partners.

Students engaged in STEM learning will have the skills and dispositions to succeed in college and their careers and can then contribute to an economically and intellectually vibrant region.