Many studies from government, business, and education underscore the
pressing need for more students who are trained in the STEM (science,
technology, engineering and math) fields. The National Academies of Sciences
wrote a report called, “The Gathering Storm” which found that the U.S. must
produce more students interested in these fields in order to remain competitive
in the global economy. It noted that innovation is the prerequisite for
developing the new ideas that will produce jobs in the future, and such
innovation requires more people trained in math and science. This is
where the crisis emerges. The U.S. is falling behind other countries in
producing individuals with skills in those fields.
Last week Nazareth College took an important and exciting step toward addressing the need. We formally opened Peckham Hall, home of the Integrated Center for Math and Science. The 74,000 square foot, LEED certified “green” building contains state-of-the-art science and math laboratories and classrooms, as well as the latest available technology. It is designed to enable us to increase our programs that focus on applied math and science. As Senator Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter that was read at the opening: “This is a momentous and extraordinary day for Nazareth College. The Integrated Center for Math and Science in Peckham Hall is going to reshape the campus, and keep Rochester area students on the cutting-edge of the math and science fields that will lead our economy.”
A distinguishing feature of the facility is the range of spaces that promote opportunities for undergraduate students to work closely with faculty members on exciting research projects. These projects will stress interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, allowing students to develop an appreciation for both the theoretical and the practical application of science and math.
Peckham Hall also will allow us to expand the work of our math, science, and teacher education faculty in preparing well qualified math and science teachers at the primary and secondary levels. These teachers are vital in order to develop excitement and interest among younger students in pursuing STEM studies in college and beyond. As part of these efforts, we have partnered with R.I.T. on the Tech2Teach program, which establishes opportunities for R.I.T students to pursue careers in teaching STEM related subjects. The Program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Finally, the facility will serve the many students in our HHS programs, which have grown significantly over the past few years. Students in these programs enroll in many science courses.
Nazareth College is proud and excited that its newest facility, Peckham Hall, will have a lasting impact on not only the campus but also the region beyond.