West Hempstead community members share ideas with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning

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Community members from West Hempstead’s public and private schools — along with local groups and organizations — attended the Center for Science Teaching and Learning’s first “visioning meeting” at the West Hempstead Public Library on Feb. 26. CSTL Director Dr. Ray Ann Havasy led the discussion on what programs residents would like to see in its new STEM center.

“Everyone contributed, and I thought our meeting was really productive,” Havasy said. “Surprisingly, they were suggesting a lot of programs for young adults. I lot of the people in the audience saw that age group as the ones who need some guidance as far as what opportunities are available for them.”

Havasy described this group as “disengaged youth,” which are students that graduated high school or college, but are unsure what of job opportunities they should pursue. She that residents were shocked when she shared the statistics for lack of employment of STEM-focused jobs. Based on the input, Havasy said she is convinced that people want to learn more about STEM, and the opportunities that it presents.

“When you’re in a certain field, you’re never quite sure at how the world looks at us,” Havasy said. “But it really convinced me that they want to learn more about STEM. It’s not that they didn’t want to learn more, it’s just that they didn’t have an opportunity like this before.”

CSTL will hold additional meetings in other communities for STEM centers that will be built in Franklin Square, Carle Place, South Huntington, Westbury, Central Islip, Wyandanch and Brentwood. These centers will have equipment like 3D printers, robotics equipment and trained staff to teach, mentor and show how STEM can be the pathway for young people to higher education and successful professional careers.

For residents who could not attend the meeting, Havasy said that people are more than welcome to offer suggestions to the CSTL by calling (516) 764-0045. For more information, visit www.CSTL.org.