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RCSD summer course teaches importance of STEM fields in Rochester

Aug 8, 2017

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

While most high schoolers were working part time jobs or soaking up the sun, some kids in the Rochester City School District were learning more about STEM careers.    

Graduating and incoming seniors had the opportunity to take a new class called City Living this summer.

Smiley Samuel joined the class voluntarily, already interested in becoming a mechanical enginer and working with cars after graduation. They said they learned about the history of Rochester through the course, about the bridges, how the downtown library was built and how the city got its nickname.

“In the past they called it the Flour City because we used to produce flour. I never knew that. I used to see the signs that said Flour City like cooking flour and I was like why did they say cooking flour?!”

Over the course of five weeks, the hands on class investigated Rochester as a city of innovation, where we've come from and where were going.

Tykel Banks will be graduating high school at the end of the summer; he said the class made a big impact on him.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

"Actually, I used to not like science till I came to this class now I'm actually thinking about science."

Banks says the hands on projects and meeting new people gave him a new perspective on STEM careers.

Matthew Bell is a technology teacher with the district and taught the summer course. He said it gave real life examples, of how math works after high school.

"The students started realizing that science and math are actually something that’s real. And it isn’t just word problems and it isn’t just solving equations on paper. When they talked about photonics: this is how we tie trigonometry into our designs on a daily basis; this is how we use technical drawing to design our products."

Monroe Community College is working with the program to offer one on one academic counseling to graduates.  

The program is a partnership between the Finger Lakes STEM Hub, AT&T, Rochester City School District, Rochester Museum & ScienceCenter and the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts Exploring program.