Colleges and universities across New York state say they are moving toward introducing more STEM programs to coincide with a push to bring more manufacturing to communities.
In Central New York, a shift is taking place in response to Micron’s announcement they’ll be kicking off construction on a planned manufacturing plant in the town of Clay next year.
The needle is even moving for an institution like Syracuse University.
“I was really interested in math until I came to a biology tutoring course and I fell in love with how cells overcome biological barriers,” said senior Miguel Guzman.
Guzman is an international student from Peru. He says he knew Syracuse University’s Biotech program was the right fit for him.
“These skills that I have learned not only inside the lab, but also communicating and writing will allow me to grow as a scientist when I need to write grants, when I need to do scientific presentations,” he said.
The school hopes a new strategic plan released this fall will result in more students seeing Syracuse University as a beacon of STEM education.
Duncan Brown is the vice president for research.
It’s a ramp-up that is being seen in schools across the nation, but he says the shift in Central New York is more urgent as Micron and other manufacturers plan to make a home here.
“Lots of startup companies, spin-offs developing the supply chain for Micron, developing the process, as well as new ideas using the technology in the microchips that Micron produces to make new devices,” he said. “We’re going to have this explosion in renaissance of high-tech industry.”
Guzman says he urges colleges and universities to expand STEM programming, and encourages STEM students to seek out schools like Syracuse where a commitment to a collaborative learning environment is on full display.
“The professors, their relationship with students, and also how different year grades do not matter,” he said. “And what I mean by this is that you can have friends that are seniors, or sophomores.”
Another tip he says is to make sure to do your research on faculty and their relationship with students before you say yes.
“Look at their faculty: who could be mentors because the relationship with your mentor is everything,” he said. “The best possible advice I can give is to search for programs that encourage undergraduate students to do research.”
Onondaga Community College has also announced plans to expand its programming following Micron’s announcement and is in the process of developing a clean room simulation lab.