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Montessori Students Step into STEM

Montessori Students Step into STEM

The technology community recently hosted a research poster session at Sullivan Park’s Innovation Hall for the Chemung Valley Montessori School’s (CVMS) fourth through eighth graders. The students presented recent findings of innovation subjects – with many of them featuring live demonstrations as part of their presentation and even dressing as the inventor they researched. The event was sponsored by Corning’s Science & Technology division, Corporate Innovation Systems and Process Group, as well as the Technology Community Women’s Network (TCWN), the Ethnically Diverse Group of Employees (EDGE) and Corning’s Family Support Network.

Dr. Gary Calabrese, senior vice president and director of Corning’s global research organization, spoke to the students on the similarities of the work that’s done at Corning and the principles of a Montessori education. “Every day, we work to turn our innovations into something of value and into products that can help change the world,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the next generation of great inventors will be all of you.”

Following Gary, Bill Morris of Corning’s Innovation Group, thanked the students for taking a risk to come to Sullivan Park to present their projects. “Today, you stepped out of your comfort zone and that’s truly what innovation is all about,” he said. “It is critical as you move on in school that you take risks and enjoy what you’re doing and always remember to have confidence to make mistakes, learn, and improve -- especially in the world of innovation!”

The student poster session also triggered memories of elementary school chemistry for Charlie Craig, senior vice president, Science and Technology, and director, administration and operations. “Fifth grade was a very important year for me as it was the year that I was introduced to chemistry by a really great teacher,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire career in the field of science and engineering, and it all started in that fifth year of elementary school.” Charlie added that many of the students’ posters reflected scientific inventions in which Corning’s materials offered critical contributions in making them successful.

Marcy Cathey, Head of school, CVMS, closed out the event by reminding the audience that in 1907, Dr. Montessori was a disrupter in the world of education and came into the field completely unknown. Now, her principles are taught in thousands of schools around the globe. “It takes innovators or disruptors to change lives,” she said. “Inviting us to Sullivan Park has truly been an inspiration for me and the students.”