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Pat Fiorenza visits CNY geological sites for SU EMPOWER Program

Syracuse University was recently awarded a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a new graduate level science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) training program, the Education Model Program on Water-Energy Research (EMPOWER). This program will create an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to STEM training, providing graduate level students with the necessary skills needed to enter the workforce in an area of national priority. Syracuse was just one of eight nationally to win the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) funding by NSF.

As part of the program, Syracuse University EMPOWER staff have created an Executive Advisory Fiorenza2-webCommittee (EAC), which includes leaders in the STEM field. Throughout the grant, the EAC will be assisting the University to create cutting-edge curriculum and research projects for students. Last week, as part of their program activities, the EAC was on campus to discuss early stages of the EMPOWER program, have preliminary discussions about current trends in STEM, and to meet with students. Hezel Associates’ Pat Fiorenza joined the EMPOWER team for the two-day kick-off event, which included a field trip to three geological sites in Central New York. The sites included visiting a quarry, which exposed certain portions of the Marcellus Formation. The Marcellus Formation has been the subject of many policy and environmental debates, as the Marcellus Formation extends across much of the East Coast, and contains potential untapped natural gas reservoirs.

The field trip gave students the chance to see real world examples of what they were learning in the classroom. Later in the day, Kevin Bohacs, a senior research scientist at ExxonMobil and EAC member, taught a short course on mudrocks, closing the loop on the day for the students. Although early in the program, the connection with experts, linking with students, and the ability to connect field and in-course work shows promising signs of re-thinking how we train STEM professionals.

To find out more about this project visit these websites: