Free STEM Talk By Alums Captivates Students

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Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna with a few members of Garden City’s robotic teams.
Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna with a few members of Garden City’s robotic teams.

Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna, two members of the Garden City High School class of 2013, recently gave a fascinating presentation to Garden City’s middle and high school students and parents on “College STEM Courses and Career Opportunities,” a free event sponsored by the Garden City Friends of STEM (GCFS) that was held at the Garden City Library.
Parents and students alike were engaged as they were educated on the diverse areas within STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math). Quinn and Ienna, who are currently juniors at Cornell University, provided examples from their own high school and college experiences, along with sample robots and technology for the audience to try out, demonstrating how engineering is an interactive, collaborative discipline.

The talk was originally scheduled for the library’s café area but when more than 50 people arrived, the library administration quickly opened up the larger auditorium space. “We so appreciate the support of the library administration and their willingness to help us out,” said event organizer and GCFS board member Danielle Lalehzar. “They are really supportive of STEM programs for the students.”|

Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna with board members of the Garden City Friends of STEM.
Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna with board members of the Garden City Friends of STEM.

The presentation was the first in an inaugural Garden City Friends of STEM talk series, “Student to Student STEM Talks.” Garden City Friends of STEM is sponsoring these talks to make the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math more accessible and understandable to students and parents. “We want to encourage more mentorship and collaboration within the district. We have so much talent in this community,” said GCFS Executive Director Trish Lynch. “Older, experienced students have credibility with their younger colleagues.”

That seemed to be the case with Jake Genova, a Garden City High School junior and member of the school’s robotics club. “It was very cool to hear from a college student that what we are doing now in this club is putting us in a better position for college and beyond,” he said.
“That was really awesome,” said eighth-grade attendee Stephen Debany.
After the event, attendee and Garden City parent Kim DeMaro said, “My son is still talking about this presentation and how fun it was, thank you for having it.”

In addition to hosting the talk, Quinn has been advising and communicating with the board members of GCFS long distance from Cornell, where he is a computer science major. He is also autopilot lead on the school’s renowned Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) team. In addition to hosting the talk, he also attended robotics club meetings at the high school and middle school with GCFS board member Dr. Ed Lancevich, a Garden City resident and retired Grumman engineer.

For more info on any future talks, as well as a copy of the “College STEM Courses and Career Opportunities” presentation deck, go to gcfstem.org.
— Submitted by Garden City Friends of STEM

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