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STEM Mentor

From left to right: Justin Reuter, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, Tony Hoang, UAlbany Ph.D. chemistry student and Patrick Doyle, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Troy.

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 17, 2017) – Tony Hoang, a Ph.D. chemistry candidate and student entrepreneur, is collaborating with leaders of the local Boys and Girls Clubs to offer STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programming to underserved youth in the Capital District.

The initiative, titled the Capital District STEM Series (CDSS), will be a succession of outreach programs hosted by The RNA Institute at UAlbany and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Troy and Albany.

Hoang is teaming up with Patrick Doyle, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Troy and Justin Reuter, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, on the initiative. All three are recent Albany Business Review40 under 40” winners.

“Modernizing science and making it sound fun to young children is not easy to do,” Hoang said. “I want my story to serve as an influencer for kids who have an interest in STEM but may not have the necessary resources around them. I was a Vietnamese refugee and became a scientist and entrepreneur. If I can do it, they can do it too.”

Like many of the youth who will benefit from the CDSS initiative, Hoang experienced hardships and struggles. He was four when his family left Vietnam in search of a new life. Growing up with very little, the now 29-year-old watched reruns of Bill Nye the Science Guy on PBS and would fix broken electronics from local thrift stores for entertainment.

His described his journey in first person through a Huffington Post article titled “How I went from Refugee to Biotech CEO.”

Doyle was also a beneficiary of programming offered by the Boys and Girls Club during his adolescence. “After talking with Tony and Justin, it was easy to see not only that we could do this but that we should. No one else was doing it and the need is already there,” he said.

"Immersing our youth in hands-on STEM activities will help spark their interests for future careers in the field. We are very excited to be working with Tony and the rest of the SUNY staff on this project," Reuter added.

The CDSS initiative was created as a series to be both sustainable and inclusive. Those involved hope it will continue to grow attracting more partners and dedicated sponsors over the upcoming months.

The initiative’s first programming event is scheduled for August 1 at The RNA Institute.

Additional CDSS programs are already in the works for the fall and there are many ways for community organizations to get involved. For more information, please contact Leah Scott, The RNA Institute’s marketing and outreach program officer: lscott2@albany.edu

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