SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, HIGGINS ANNOUNCE NEARLY $2 MILLION IN NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FUNDING TO SET WHEELS IN MOTION FOR THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO’S ‘STEMCYCLISTS’ PROGRAM –HELPING UNDERSERVED STUDENTS LEARN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING SKILLS AND BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE
Washington, DC, August 7, 2023
Reps Say STEMcyclists Summer Camp Has Sparked A Complete Transformation In STEM Learning – Providing Underserved 9th and 10th Grade Students With Opportunity To Explore The Intersections Of Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics Through Bicycles And Bicycle Riding
UB Will Help Underrepresented Students Learn Science, Engineering, And Biomechanics – Laying The Ground Work To Get Kids Interested In STEM Careers
Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins: With A Boost From The Feds, UB Is Helping Kick Young Students Interest In Science And Engineering Into The Next Gear
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins today announced nearly $2 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding for SUNY at Buffalo to continue teaching historically underserved students about the field of STEM through a summer cycling program where students redesign, rebuild, and ride bikes. The lawmakers said this critical investment will help Western New York youth engage in STEM by creating spaces for them to explore topics like science, engineering, and biomechanics, giving them the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in STEM in the future.
“The best way to help students get prepared for good paying STEM careers in the future is get the wheels in motion at a young age, and I am thrilled to help deliver nearly $2 million in funding for the University at Buffalo to help kick their beloved STEMcyclists program into the next gear,” said Senator Schumer. “Now students from across Buffalo will be able to have better access to critical STEM education programs, all while having fun and a strong foundation for science and engineering that can help lead to good-paying jobs down the road.”
“The University at Buffalo has been a leader in introducing underserved students to the field of STEM, and with this funding, it will be able to continue spurring interest in STEM subjects,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding will help provide area students with the opportunities to explore STEM and get them on the path for good-paying careers in the future. I’m proud to announce this funding and I will continue to fight to provide underserved students with the resources needed to have successful careers.”
“This program, supported with federal funding, provides a fun way for UB’s students and researchers to engage young Buffalo school students in the practical use of STEM in everyday life,” said Congressman Higgins. “The creative project gives kids a meaningful summer activity while inspiring continued interest and learning in a growing field with endless opportunities.”
“All of us in the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education are grateful and delighted that the National Science Foundation selected STEM Cyclists for funding. In keeping with UB’s commitment to bring the benefits of our research and scholarship to bear on the communities we serve, this project, spearheaded by Dr. Noemi Waight, uses an innovative approach to excite Buffalo high schoolers about STEM opportunities. STEM Cyclists creatively engages students in learning principles of engineering while emphasizing their own neighborhoods as asset-based learning environments. Thank you to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Higgins and our entire delegation for their steadfast support of UB and the Graduate School of Education,” said Dr. Suzanne N. Rosenblith, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at The University at Buffalo, SUNY.
The representatives explained that the project, officially named “STEMcyclists: Black and Brown Youth Transforming Science and Engineering via Bikes,” utilizes cycling-related activities to teach traditionally underrepresented youth, specifically 9th and 10th graders, about the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During the program, students will not only learn the biomechanics and engineering design principles behind bike riding, but will also safely ride bicycles and be encouraged to explore their communities through riding. The researchers, professors, and community organizations who designed the program worked to facilitate a summer program that could desegregate spaces in Buffalo, one of the most segregated cities in America, and also allow youth to engage in STEM opportunities right in their community, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue careers in these fields. The goal of this project is to use bikes and biking learning experiences to advance STEM opportunities for students of color, provide youth the confidence and knowledge for STEM-related careers, and break down both conscious and unconscious barriers racial barriers in Buffalo.
At the end of the program, campers bring home bicycles, helmets, and bike accessories that they keep after the program concludes. The program launched for the first time in July 2022; its success led to a second summer program in July 2023.
A full project description can be found here.
Last year, Schumer secured $9.87 billion for the National Science Foundation through an end-of-the-year spending package. The omnibus included an increase of over $1 billion for the NSF, the largest dollar increase for NSF in history, providing funds to begin implementation of the NSF STEM training and education programs. Schumer said the region’s top research schools like SUNY at Buffalo would be able to tap the increased investment for the NSF bolstering incredible research like this and investment in the local scientific and tech workforce. Schumer also noted that his CHIPS & Science Act also contains massive increased investment for National Science Foundation (NSF) Research and Development Programs, including through the newly created NSF Directorate of Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships, as well as STEM education and training programs. Schumer proposed the creation of this Directorate originally in his bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, with a focus on delivering investment in research, workforce training, and entrepreneurship.