Today: Jun 16, 2024

CSUS partnership with the Connecticut Science Center brings faculty together

REBECCA BAINER — General Assignments Reporter

In recent years The Connecticut Science Center has partnered with the Connecticut State University System to bring four initiatives to the center.

If funding will allow, those initiatives will be expanded upon, according to German Bermudez, associate executive officer of academic and student affairs with the Connecticut State University System.

The i4 initiative began as an idea to bring the work of faculty at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities together with an informal education center, such as the science center, said Bermudez.

Planning started several years ago when the science center was being conceptualized, said Bermudez, but the i4 initiative was opened on July 21, 2010.

“It took us some time to give it shape, the proper shape,” said Bermudez. “So, we experimented with a couple of concepts and at the end the four ideas, the four projects came about.”

According to the Connecticut Science Center website the initiative “showcases science research and applications underway at the four universities and highlights career paths for young people pursuing scientific fields.” The four initial applications are geology, genetics, navigation and technological simulations.

Bermudez said in order to get faculty involved an invitation was sent to the provost’s office at each university asking them to submit ideas.

“We went through a process of review and looked at the ways in which, together with the science center, we could put together themes,” said Bermudez. “The four themes emerged from individual faculty submission of ideas.”

DonnaJean Fredeen, dean of arts and sciences at Southern, said the partnership with the center was natural.

“I am very please that CSU decided to partner with the Connecticut Science Center for Science and Exploration,” said Fredeen. “Science museums play a very important role in providing informal science education to the public. I think it’s a natural partnership that institutions of higher education partner with museums to help them meet their goal.”

Fredeen said that getting younger minds involved in science can also benefit the University in the long run.

“We face tremendous difficulty in recruiting individuals into the sciences, particularly women and individuals from underrepresented groups.” said Fredeen. “Science museums provide a venue in which children can be exposed to and learn science in an engaging format and perhaps foster a life-long interest in science. The Science Center can become the first step to recruiting children into a study of science at a university.”

Bermudez said he learned from Hank Gruner, vice president for programs at the science center, that one of the core programs running throughout the entire year is The Health Gallery program, which is projected to reach 25,000-30,000 people annually. In addition, Bermudez said the Art Rocks program runs during school vacation and summer months and is projected to reach about 5,000 people by the end of the year.

Bermudez said if funding will allow, he foresees growth in the future to try to create even more participants.

“One of the major areas of interest is the promotion of education around employment-related fields,” said Bermudez. “It’s the right time to start thinking about the next fase of this work.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog