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STANYS 124th Annual Conference 
November 2 - 4, 2019


Keynote Presentation: This Year's Format, Speakers Panel
Within this format, a panel of outstanding educators will address the Conference theme, “Transforming Innovations into Reality in Science (TIRS).”

Panel Members:

Dr. Okhee Lee, Moderator

Ms. Okhee Lee is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She is currently leading collaborative research to develop instructional materials aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in order to promote science learning and language learning of elementary students including English learners. Ms. Lee is also leading collaborative research to integrate computational thinking and modeling in NGSS-aligned instructional materials.

She was a member of the NGSS writing team and served as leader for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team. She was also a member of the Steering Committee for the Understanding Language Initiative at Stanford University.

Dr. Joseph Krajcik, Panelist

Dr. Joseph Krajcik serves as director of the CREATE for STEM Institute and is the Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education at Michigan State University. In his role as director of CREATE, he works with faculty,teachers and researchers to improve the teaching and learning of science, mathematics and engineering, kindergarten through college, by engaging in innovation and research. Throughout his career, Dr. Krajcik has focused on working with science teachers to design and test learning environments to reform science teaching practices and to research student learning and engagement in project-based learning environments. He has authored and co-authored books, over 100 manuscripts and curriculum materials.

In 2019, Dr. Krajcik was elected as a member of the National Academy of Education. In 1999 he served as president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching from which he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award in 2010. In 2014 the Michigan Science Teachers’ Association awarded him the George G. Mallinson Award for Overall Excellence of Contributions to Science Education. Dr. Krajcik was honored to receive a Distinguished Professorship from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea in 2009, Guest Professorships from Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China in 2002 and 2018, and the Weston Visiting Professor of Science Education from Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel in 2005.

Peter McLaren, Panelist

Mr. Peter McLaren is the Executive Director of Next Gen Education, LLC and works as a consultant with states and districts in support of the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and other three dimensional state science standards. In his previous work Mr. McLaren served in a number of roles pertaining to science education policy including Director of the State and District Support for Science at Achieve, Science and Technology Specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education and served as President of the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) from July 2010 until April 2013. Mr. McLaren also served as a member of the national writing committee for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the National Academy of Engineering Guiding Implementation of K-12 Engineering Education committee, and the National Academy of Science Committee for Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Mr. McLaren has been a part of a Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) funded professional learning project (PLEASE) delivering high-quality, differentiated statewide professional development for elementary teachers, secondary teachers, resource teachers, and educational officers. This professional development is designed to support full implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. He has been involved in the PLEASE grant since 2017.  An award-winning educator, Mr. McLaren was a teacher of science for 13 years at both the high-and middle-school level. In 2001, he was recognized with the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, and in 1995, as the Rhode Island Science Teacher of the Year by the MIT-sponsored Network of Educators of Science and Technology. He holds Bachelors of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Science Education from the University of Rhode Island.

Ms. K. Renae Pullen, Panelist

Ms. K. Renae Pullen is the K-6 Science Curriculum Instructional Specialist for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ms. Pullen has been an educator in Caddo Parish for over 20 years and has served on several local, state, and national committees, presenteing at numerous workshops and conferences. She was a member of the elementary science workgroup that developed

the Louisiana Student Standards for Science and was a member of the Teachers’ Advisory Council for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). She currently serves as a member of the Board on Science Education for the National Academies of Sciences, and is a National STEM Ambassador for NSTA/NCTM. Ms. Pullen was a consulting expert for NASEM practitioner’s guide, Seeing Students Learn Science: Integrating Assessment and Instruction in the Classroom and served on the NASEM committee that produced

English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives. In July 2018, Ms.Pullen was appointed to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Advisory Panel for the National Science Foundation. Ms.Pullen has received numerous awards and several grants and fellowships, including the Wal-Mart Local Teacher of the Year award in 2007, Caddo Parish

Teacher of the Year in 2006, a Fund for Teachers fellowship to study creativity and STEM in Spain, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study the American Skyscraper in Chicago, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

Dr.Helen R. Quinn, Panelist

Dr.Helen R. Quinn is Professor Emerita of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. She received her PhD in physics at Stanford in 1967. She worked at SLAC from 1977 until her retirement in 2010, and has received many awards for her research in theoretical particle physics. Dr. Quinn has been active in science education for some years, and since her retirement this has been her major activity.

She was a founding member of the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP), which produced a well-known standard-model poster for schools in 1987. She served as chair of the US National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education (BOSE) from 2009-2014. She was the chair of the BOSE study committee that developed the “Framework for K- 12 Science Education”, which is the basis of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and similar standards now adopted by about 30 states in the US, including California. Dr. Quinn now acts as an advisor to those seeking to implement these new standards and to science education researchers studying aspects of that work.

Fellows Speaker

Mr. Shawn Otto
“The War on Science: ‘Alternative Facts’ and the Threat to Democracy
Sunday, 5:00 P.M.

BOOK SIGNING: Mr. Shawn Otto will be available Sunday at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM by the STANYS store for a book signing.
His book, “The War of Science” will be available for purchase.

The Fellows Speaker, Mr. Shawn Otto, will present on Sunday, November 3, 5:00 PM. His book, “The War on Science,” is a mustread. You can purchase copies in the exhibit hall and Mr. Otto will be available to sign your book. The title of his talk is: “The War on Science: ‘Alternative Facts’ and the Threat to Democracy

“Wherever the people are well-informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government.” That was two hundred years ago, and Jefferson was a champion of evidence-based policymaking. But what happens now, when science has become so advanced and so powerful that it impacts every aspect of life, yet that very complexity means that relatively few people understand it - and politicians seem afraid to even talk about it? We've seen the predicted results. At the very time we need it most, science is denied by policymakers in favor of "alternative facts" on topics ranging from climate change to GMO food, from vaccines to economics to environmental regulations, while celebrities push pseudoscience and journalists argue there is no such thing as objectivity. Combined, these trends have pushed the Western democracies away from Jefferson’s ideal of a public policy grounded in evidence and toward one grounded in ideology, paving the way for authoritarians. We will explore today’s three-part War on Science: the Identity Politics war, the Ideological war, and the Industrial war, all of which are being amplified by social media technology that has privatized the public square and allowed for unprecedented levels of propaganda. In the new sci-tech age we must ask: are the people still well-enough informed to be trusted with their own government? And if not, what do we do?

Shawn Otto is also an award-winning screenwriter and novelist, including writing and co-producing the Academy Award-nominated movie House of Sand and Fog, and the LA Times Book Prize finalist literary crime novel, Sins of Our Fathers. Otto was awarded the IEEE-USA (Tech engineers) National Distinguished Public Service Award for his work elevating science in American public dialogue. He is cofounder and producer of the US presidential science debates at and the only person to get Donald Trump to answer science questions during his presidential campaign. He is the award-winning author of The War on Science, which has been called "a game changer, and probably the most important book you'll read this year." He has advised science debate efforts in many countries and speaks worldwide on the critical role of science and truth in free societies. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Rebecca Otto, a former Minnesota State Auditor, in a solar and wind-powered green home he designed and the couple built with their own hands.

Invited Speakers
Invited speakers present during Workshop Sessions on specific Conference days, please note below the Session day and

University of Pennsylvania
From Sports to STEM: Engaging Students in STEM In and Out of the Classroom through DIY Sport Science

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

“The sports science and analytics revolution has made the study of sports performance just as technologically advanced as university medical labs. Sports are the ideal venue to engage youth with the STEM disciplines within an activity that they love. Unfortunately, the equipment and analytical techniques used at elite levels are often too complicated and expensive for coaches, players, and teachers to access. This missed opportunity is especially pernicious because there is a well-documented interest gap in STEM between female, African American, and Latino youth, many of whom participate in sports.

The democratization of sports science and analytics through the development of low-cost training tools has potential to reach these youths to provide an authentic introduction to STEM.

As the STEM Director for 4th Family Inc., I have created a suite of low-cost sport science and analytics tools to train youth athletes. We introduce STEM as a tool for athletic improvement which empowers youth athletes to use STEM techniques to collect and analyze their own performance data. We have used to this approach in partnership with NBA franchises, elite universities, and urban schools to broaden access to the STEM pipeline for students who would not typically sign up for traditional STEM activities. In this talk I will describe my journey from hosting an afterschool STEM program at an urban high school to running STEM outreach at the NBA Summer League as well as sharing best practices for using sport science to engage students in STEM in and out of the classroom”.

Bio: Dr. Drazen received his doctorate in biomedical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2017. While at Rensselaer, he started the 4th Family STEM program. As STEM director, Dr. Drazen has developed an award winning STEM outreach program where over 5,000 urban student athletes have been introduced to STEM as a sports training tool. He is the creator of the “Court Science Academy” at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where youth from the Jr. NBA Program participate in a weeklong sport science camp at the arena. His work in STEM outreach has won several major awards including the “Best Research Paper” at the MIT-Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the NSF GK12 Fellowship, AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science Finalist, and the NIH-IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. John Drazan is an IRACDA NIH post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the Human Motion Lab.

At Penn, Dr. Drazan seeks to expertise in STEM outreach and biomechanics research to build a community-situated biomechanics lab where youth athletes and community members can serve as biomechanics research subjects while being exposed to STEM educational opportunities.

This approach promises to enable large scale, prospective studies to understand the development of musculoskeletal pathologies “in the wild” while also diversifying the STEM career pipeline by providing an avenue for research subjects to become the researchers themselves.

New York State Department of Health
Breaking Barriers in STEM by Paying It Forward:
The Power of Teachers,Mentors and Role Models

Saturday, 1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

In this session, Dr. De Jesus will speak about the transformative power that teachers, mentors, role models and pipeline mentorship programs have for students that are interested in STEM careers.

Through a personal narrative, Dr. De Jesus identifies the challenges and victories of her scientific career and how she is a product of pipeline mentorship. She will also discuss how she now “pays it forward” with students in K-12 through “skype a scientist” and a “scientist looks just like you” program that she is developing.

In the last part of her talk, Dr. De Jesus will also speak about her current research on the development of vaccines and therapeutics against the new emerging  multidrug resistant fungal Candida auris that is considered the MRSA of the fungal world.

BIO: Dr. De Jesus  received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2009. Subsequently, she served in two postdoctoral appointments with the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health – first as an Emerging Infectious Disease Fellow under the sponsorship of the Center for Disease Control (2009-11), and second as a Postdoctoral Fellow under the sponsorship of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2011-14). She joined the School of Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany in September 2015 as an assistant professor of biomedical sciences. Her most recent research seeks (1) to understand how the intestinal immune system recognizes fungal microbes such as Candida albicans and (2) to develop oral based vaccines against Candida auris, a new antifungal resistant emerging pathogen.

Dr. Magdia De Jesus was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem, New York City. She credits her interest in an academic career in science to a “pipeline” of mentors throughout her educational journey.

Her academic journey has led her to develop “A scientist looks just like you” program to educate and inspire children in grades 3-12 to understand that they too can be scientists regardless of background or socioeconomic status.

Yale University
Mountain Gorillas: From Science to Inspiration

Sunday, 1:45 P.M. - 2:45 P.M. 

BOOK SIGNING: Dr. Vedder will be available, Sunday at 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM by the STANYS Store for a book signing.  Her book “In the Kingdom of Gorillas.” and a book written about her called “Gorilla Mountain” (Middle Level audience) will be available for purchase.

Mountain gorillas are immense, self-willed and powerful, yet also deeply social, caring, and even mysterious. They are also one of our closest kin within the world’s great panoply of species. What can they teach us about the wilds on this earth, about conservation, about ourselves and our relationship to nature? Having spent years studying and then working toward the conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Dr. Amy Vedder will speak about her experiences and the lessons she learned in the process.

Having grown up in a small town in upstate New York, she never dreamed that this would become a part of her life. Yet it became the focus of her doctoral research, laid the groundwork for her career in field conservation, and affects her outlook on life.

Dr. Vedder will talk about the ecological science that she undertook to better understand mountain gorillas and their habitat requirements: the formal questions she asked and how she went about answering them. She will go well beyond this, however, to show how this information was key to conserving the gorillas – yet incomplete, and how persistence and passion play key roles as well. The story of mountain gorilla conservation is one that includes some of the poorest people of our world, a nation in turmoil, and new heroes that emerge. It is also the story of one of the most alluring species on this planet – one that remains critically endangered. How this story plays out tells us a great deal about both wild nature and human nature.

BIO: Formerly, Dr. Vedder served as Senior Vice President for Conservation at The Wilderness Society (TWS), senior advisor to the Rwandan Environment Management Authority, Vice President at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Director of the WCS Africa Program. Dr. Vedder is known for her pioneering ecological studies of mountain gorillas in Rwanda during the late 1970s, based on 2 1/2 years of observing gorillas in the wild. She co-founded, with her husband Dr. Bill Weber, the Mountain Gorilla Project, which improved awareness in schools and in the public domain, and generated income for local and national constituents. The project’s conservation and economic success has become an inspiring model for numerous other conservation projects world-wide.

Dr. Amy Vedder has worked in applied conservation for more than 30 years, using ecological and social science to conserve wildlife and wildlands. She currently teaches in the graduate program of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, focusing on the practice of international, on-the ground conservation.

Dr. Vedder is co-author of the critically acclaimed In the Kingdom of Gorillas (Simon & Schuster, publishers), as well as the focus of a Scholastic biography "Gorilla Mountain" written by Rene Ebersole for middle school students. 

Dr. Vedder enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and canoeing in the Adirondack mountains, which she calls home, as well as spending time with her family including several new grandchildren.

Brookhaven National Laboratory
What Will Earth Be Like in 50-Years?
A Look Back at Our Future

Monday 11:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.

Earth’s climate and environment are currently experiencing a number of influences resulting from human activities, key among these being global warming, ocean acidification, and other issues caused by emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There is also loss of biodiversity and population declines in many species caused by chemicals in the environment. The current state of Earth’s climate and environmental health are examined, and these are compared to what they were immediately prior to the first Earth Day in 1970. Outcomes from the first Earth Day, and lessons that may be applied to Earth’s current state and to the future, are presented and discussed.

BIO: Dr. Lewis was the Principal Investigator for the MAGIC field campaign undertaken by the US Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program, which deployed three radars and numerous other instruments for eight months on a cargo ship traversing a route between Los Angeles and Honolulu to study the stratocumulus-to-cumulus cloud transition that occurs in this region.

Currently,  Dr. Lewis is an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY. He has been at the laboratory for 25 years, first as an oceanographer studying the carbon dioxide system in the oceans (during which time he participated in a dozen research cruises around the world), and for the last 20 years as an atmospheric scientist studying properties of aerosols and clouds. He is co-author with Stephen E. Schwartz of the book Sea Salt Aerosol Production – Mechanisms,Methods, Measurements and Models.

Dr. Ernie Lewis is an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY and co-author with Stephen E. Schwartz of the book Sea Salt Aerosol Production – Mechanisms,Methods, Measurements and Models.

He is an avid birder and photographer and enjoys traveling. He and his wife Laura live in New York and Boston.

Contact information:
P.O. Box 2121
Liverpool, NY 13089

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