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Garden City high school alumni captivate students at free STEM talk


Brendan Quinn and Joseph Ienna, two members of the Garden City High School class of 2013, spent part of their holiday break giving 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 on January 14th.


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 Danielle Lalehzar, GCFS board member and organizer of the event. "They are really supportive of STEM programs for the students."


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 Stephen Debany, an eighth grader who attended that night.


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 team. In addition to hosting the talk, Brendan also attended robotics club meetings at the high school and middle school with GCFS board member Dr. Ed Lancevich, a Garden City resident who is a retired Grumman engineer.


Next up in the GCFS sponsored STEM talk series is "Encouraging Girls to Pursue STEM" with Garden city High School senior and Intel semifinalist Dessie Dimino, taking place in March. In the meantime, the GCFS will also be hosting a seminar on STEM career opportunities at Garden City's Parent University, a free community event, on February 25. Find a copy of the "College STEM Courses and Career Opportunities" presentation deck here.



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