Western Section STANYS Annual Awards Dinner

On May 23, 2018 the Western Section of STANYS held the Annual Awards Dinner to recognize some of the brightest students and teachers of science at Daemen College.  The evening recognized Helen Domske as the Western Section Service Award. Additionally, Christen Lawicki and Beth Swierksi were recognized as K-8 Outstanding Teachers of the Year.  

Helen Domske was honored with the Outstanding Service Award.  Dr. Rod Doran presented her award, illustrating Helen's impact on Science Education and STANYS to earn the highest award our organization offers.  Helen was the Curator of Education at the Aquarium of Niagara Falls for 14 years, and now almost 25 years with the New York Sea Grant program.  As part of her job, she has written countless fact sheets, conference publications, grant and project proposals, and curriculum materials.  A widely popular workshop presenter, Helen has taught more than 50,000 students in grades 4 to 12 through school visits.  She is the "go to" expert in Western New York on native vs. invasive species, zebra and quagga mussels, microplastics in the waters, fisheries, and biodiversity.  Helen has also initiated and coordinated a biennial Great Lakes Summit for nearly 20 years, which brought students from Lake Erie and Ontario together to learn and share their classroom research on the Great Lakes.  It is with great pride we present our Service Award to Helen Domske. 






Beth Pic

Beth Swierski of the Sweet Home Central School District was honored as K-8 Oustanding Teacher.  Beth has taught in the Sweet Home School District for 16 years, but the last 5 have been in the role of Instructional Support Specialist for Elementary Science.  In this position, Beth has led the reconstruction of the elementary science program with another colleague.  She leads the elementary science labs in two of the four elementary buildings in the district.  In these labs, students in grades 3-5 visit for their science instruction.  Beth has worked to create units of study aligned with NGSS, and now NYSSLS.  She also works to create district wide events for the Sweet Home students.  Second graders come together for Big Dig Day at Penn Dixie Fossil Park, while third graders all visited Herschell Carrousel Museum.  The 5th graders have a STEM Conference, co-designed by Beth which brings in 20 outside organizations and volunteers to show students all the careers science has to offer.  These 5th graders put on their own conference later in the year, where they are the presenters of their own discoveries and investigations.  Based on her dedication to science education and the experiences she provides her students, we present Beth with this award.

ChristenChristen Lawicki of Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo was also a recipient of the K-8 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.  Christen is committed to teaching science in engaging cross-curricular ways . She integrates ELA with engaging protocols, math concepts within science instruction, hands on learning, and connection of scientific ideas to the world in which her students live.  She believes in combining kinethetic learning with text analysis, and mathematical thinking.  In her role as a 5th grade teacher, Christen developed a unit on simple machines which allowed students to search for simple machines around them, analyze video clips of Rube Goldberg machines, examine articles on simple machines, and use the Chalk Talk Protocol to constructively critique each others work.  Students also created a compound machine using recycled materials that solved an everyday problem.  This unit also connected the real world through a trip to the Herschell Carrousel Museum to extend their learning.  It is this type of instruction and commitment to science and her students that make Christen an outstanding elementary science educator.



The evening also hosted the recent winners of the 76th Annual Western New York Regional Science & Engineering Fair.  These students will be going on to compete at the State level.  There were three teams in the senior division awarded. 

Samira Abdulkadir and Sabiha Subah from D'Youville's Upward Bound, advised by Mr. Damon, were unable to join us, but will be presenting their project on "Water Filter Simulation" at the State level competition.

Nabihah Ahmad from Buffalo City Honors, advised by Mr. Todd Richards presented her project on the "Effect of Mutualism on Nitrogen Fixation.Habihah





 Siena Allen and Jane Damstedt from Williamsville South High School, advised by Mr. Gammiero, presented on "The Future of Our Forests".


Under the Intermediate Division, there were two young scientists who impressed the crowd with their scientific knowldge.




AdriannaAdrianna Awald  from St. Aloysius Regional, advised by Mrs. Smith, presented a project called "Are You Thirsty?" looking at the limited fresh water available on Earth and the challenges it faces.




 William Deinzer from Heim Middle Schoool, advised by Ms. Jacobs, presented a very complex machine created from K-nexs with his project titled, "Physics at Play."







We wish all these young scientists best of luck in the State Science Fair!  We were truly impressed by your work!