Senator Alesi Announces Grant For Math/ Science Center

James S. Alesi

October 10, 2006

Senator Jim Alesi (R,C-Perinton) was joined today by Daan Braveman, President of Nazareth College as well as Christopher C. Dahl, President of SUNY Geneseo, Albert J. Simone, President of Rochester Institute of Technology, and R. Thomas Flynn, President of Monroe Community College to announce a $500,000 grant for the Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science. The grant is designed to help a consortium of area colleges to increase the number of math and science professionals in the field.

"In the United States, and here in New York, especially Upstate, we are facing a crisis as more and more students are lacking in the areas of math and science academically and shying away from careers related to these fields," said Senator Alesi. "It is my hope that by providing these funds, we can encourage young students to get excited about math and science, as well as attract more math and science teachers to our school districts and that New York can advance towards unparalleled leadership in technological innovation."

The first of its kind in Upstate New York, the Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science will be located on the Nazareth College campus and will serve a number of functions, including: designing ways for colleges to cooperate and collaborate on math/science programs; developing partnerships with local, state and national business communities; investigate and analyze issues such as the decline in the number of students who want to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and focusing on teacher education within those fields; increasing the local and national pool of math/science teachers at the K-12 levels as well as retention of those teachers.

"The U.S. is lagging far behind other countries in producing college graduates with degrees in math and science," said Nazareth College President Daan Braveman. "Every year in the Rochester region we confer 11,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate degrees - those are powerful numbers! The Rochester Area Colleges are working together to respond to this crisis by creating a center that we hope will become a national base for preparing students in these critical areas. Nazareth College is pleased to have the Center for Excellence in Math and Science located on our campus. "

The Rochester Area Colleges (RAC) is a consortium of 19 higher education institutions from the greater Rochester metropolitan area and its surrounding communities. It is composed of both private and public colleges and universities, including three community colleges.

"Rochester is unique both because it has a uniquely strong higher education sector and because the diverse colleges and universities here work well together for the good of the region," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. "As President of the Rochester Area Colleges, I salute our colleague Daan Bravemen for his leadership on this vitally important project. My colleagues and I are grateful to Senator Alesi for his support, which will be pivotal in getting the Science and Math Center up and running. The presidents of the Rochester Area Colleges are proud to be working together in countering 'the gathering storm' in science and math."

"Our nation is facing a major global economic challenge," said RIT President Albert J. Simone. "We must successfully meet this challenge if the United States is to preserve its democracy, quality of life, and world leadership position. A fundamental key to meeting the challenge is to increase the number of K-12 and colleges students engaged in math and science. Today’s announcement demonstrates the collaborative spirit in Rochester and puts us on the right path for success."

"Monroe Community College is the access point to higher education for more than 25 percent of recent high school graduates in Monroe County," stated Monroe Community College President R. Thomas Flynn. "With Senator Alesi’s generous support, the RAC Center for Excellence in Math and Science will encourage more students in our area to enter these important fields of study as well as provide advanced training and education for current math and science teachers."

Said Senator Alesi: "The greater Rochester area, with its numerous educational institutions and technical resources, makes a fitting location for a Center where teachers are exposed to the best practices in math and science education."