Schenectady County

Science, tech focus of Nanocollege program for girls

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany and Girls Inc. hope you

When scientists make a discovery, they might shout “eureka!”

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany and Girls Inc. hope young girls have their own eureka moment and discover an interest in nanoscience through a new summer program. The two organizations have teamed up to offer a four-week program from July 23 through Aug. 17. The goal is to expose girls to nanotechnology and scientific concepts with hands-on work at the NanoTech Complex and field trips focused on the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The program aims to serve 150 girls, with the first group of 30 to enroll this July.

Mary Bayly Skevington, chairwoman of Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region, said the organization aims to excite these girls about the possibility of attending college and stimulate their minds. The program is available to girls entering eighth grade living in the City School District of Albany.

“The beauty of the program is it is provided at no cost to the girls,” she said. SEFCU is donating $340,000 toward the $800,000 cost of the program with the rest to be made up through corporate sponsorships.

The aim is for the girls to stick with the program for five summers, which could lead to an internship or job.

Michael Castellana, president and chief executive officer of SEFCU, said the educational numbers are scary locally. In some areas of Albany, only 35 percent of students achieved proficiency on the state math test. For eighth grade, only 18 percent met the minimum standards for math.

“How can we possibly achieve with those kind of numbers?” he said. “We are in the investment business and can you think of a better investment than to invest in the girls of Girls Inc?”

Alain E. Kaloyeros, senior vice president and chief executive officer of the nanoscale college, said it is a memorable day with the launch of the Eureka! program, which he said was the nation’s first with a STEM focus.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said the program aims to take at-risk youths and help them get across the educational “finish line.”

She hoped that this exposure would encourage girls not only to learn about these fields but make them their career. “One of the things we know about science, technology, engineering and mathematics is even the kids who get it and are hungry for it often do not stay the course.”

Lonnie Threatte, assistant secretary for higher education for the governor’s office, also praised the initiative,

“It links all of the wonderful innovation and growth happening on this campus to real New Yorkers — young ladies with innovation, drive and a very, very bright future.”

Maiya Dargan, 12, of Albany said she would be interested in such a program because she likes computer science.

“In my spare time, you’ll find me with a piece of technology — either my phone or laptop,” she said.

Applications are due June 15 and can be obtained online at For additional information or questions, call 374-9800 or email [email protected] with the subject “Eureka! Question.”

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