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Igniting Science Curiosity

DAES graduate student Matt Vaughan leads demonstration with children attending the miSci Festival. (Photo by Brian Tang)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 14, 2017) – A large group of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students within UAlbany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environment Sciences (DAES) spent four days teaching and inspiring the Capital Region community.

The group, which included DAES assistant professors Brian Tang, Justin Minder and 18 students, were volunteers at the 5th annual “Science Festival” at the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) in Schenectady from Thursday to Sunday.

The festival offered events for all ages to stimulate curiosity and discovery, while also showcasing the culture of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the local region. It included hands-on activities, demonstrations, workshops, simulations, stage shows and encounters with practicing scientists.

UAlbany’s DAES volunteers tabled at the festival, leading various educational demonstrations that focused on the Earth’s atmosphere and environment.

Themes included:

  • Power of Atmospheric Forces
  • Cloud Formations
  • Storm Surge Flooding
  • The Nitrogen Cycle
  • Colors of Light
Chris Thorncroft on panel at miSci.

DAES Chris Thorncroft (left) joins a group of panelists and Congressman Paul Tonko prior to discussing extreme weather and climate change at the miSci Festival.

In addition, a green screen was set up to offer attendees the experience of forecasting on-camera.

“The objective at this festival was to teach the local community different aspects of our expertise,” said Tang. “It is important for the general public, especially young people, to realize how important STEM is to their everyday lives. As a society, we face many challenges and it is critical that STEM continues to be strong and valued. We need to inspire the brightest young minds out there to become the next generation of scientists.”

Undergraduate student volunteers included: Briah Davis, Luke LeBel, Katy Hollinger, Leann Anthony, Chrissy DiGiovanna and Aleks Siemenn

Graduate student volunteers included: Matthew Vaughan, Casey Peirano, Michael Fischer, Fangze Zhu, Hing Ong, Joshua Alland, Yuan-Ming Cheng, Massey Bartolini, William Flamholtz, Eli Turasky, Marshall Pfahler and Jennifer Gahtan.

DAES department chair and professor Chris Thorncroft also joined the group on Sunday as part of a panel to discuss extreme weather and climate change.

To learn more about the Department of Atmospheric and Environment Sciences, click here.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.