Day after announcing resignation, Lt. Gov. Murray visits BCC, pushes sci-tech curriculum


PITTSFIELD -- A day after he announced his resignation, Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray spent more than two hours on the Berkshire Community College campus, continuing his duties as chairman of the governor's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Council. He's held the STEM role since 2009.

J.D. Chesloff -- Cheshire native, chairman of the executive committee of the STEM Council, and deputy director for the Massachusetts Business Roundtable -- lauded Murray for his leadership, particularly in serving the council.

"You were tenacious, committed, you showed up," Chesloff said to Murray before a crowd of more than 50 attendees.

Chesloff said the executive committee will meet next week to determine who might replace Murray as council chairperson.

Murray briefly acknowledged the news of his resignation at the top of Thursday's STEM Council meeting, then turned the focus onto science and student success.

"The efforts concerning the STEM Council will continue. This is important in noting exactly how far we've come," Murray said.

Murray will leave office on June 2 to head the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He noted how the private sector has an integral role in supporting STEM education as stakeholders in the state's economic future.

As the STEM Council meeting convened in BCC's General Bartlett Conference Room, Berkshire County's 10th annual Youth Environmental Summit also took place throughout the campus.

The state will host its own 10th annual STEM Summit on Nov. 13, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. During this year's summit, the STEM Council will present its new "STEM 2.0" strategic plan for continuing the council's STEM education advocacy agenda.

The highlight of the meeting was the STEM Advisory Council's new effort to showcase student work. Berkshire County earned the first honors to do so.

Eighth-graders Ella King of Lenox Memorial Middle and High School and Allison Wolfe of Herberg Middle School in Pittsfield presented their research and analysis of plant pigments using a process called paper chromatography. Their work earned the Genzyme Award last month at the state's Region I Science and Engineering Fair.

Also presenting was Mike Wheelock. He graduated Saturday from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with bachelor's degrees in computer science and mathematics. Wheelock shared a video about and prototype of MARV -- a Mobile Autonomous Robotic Vehicle, which he developed and built in MCLA's robotics lab for about $300.

"[Wheelock] really symbolizes the type of student we want to see in our institutions," said Monica Joslin, MCLA's dean of academic affairs.

David Cedrone, executive director of the STEM Advisory Council, also introduced a new comprehensive data set on students engaging with STEM. The research, organized by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, can be used to show areas of growth and achievement gaps among various cohorts of students statewide, and as they compare with their national peers.


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