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STANYS ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2021


Conference Speakers

View Keynote Presentation

View Invited Speakers

Keynote Presentation: 

Dora Kastel
Storylines for Students, Teachers and Leaders
Saturday, November 6, 5:15-6:15 PM, Lilac Room, Convention Center

The shift away from traditional science teaching and learning towards the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS) is both exciting and challenging. For our students, this may be the first time they get to sit in the driver’s seat for their own learning! For teachers and their supervisors, this approach isn’t how they were taught science, so they often ask, “How are we supposed to know what the storyline approach should look and feel like to our kids? How does it work?” There is a parallel journey that educators are experiencing as we support students in figuring out why or how a phenomenon occurs. Just as instructional materials support coherent student storylines in a science classroom, coherent professional learning can support teachers in figuring out how to shift their practice towards the NYSSLS. In addition to sharing my insights about supporting the development of curricula using storylines along with enactment of those materials, I’m also excited to share strategies regarding professional learning for science teachers and leaders. These insights and strategies will support you in making sure all students have access to high quality science instruction, as we continue our transition to the NYSSLS together.

Dora Kastel supports science teaching and learning in the New Visions network and beyond through the development of standards-aligned instructional materials along with facilitation of professional learning for both teachers and leaders. She previously taught middle school science and math in East Harlem, and was a professional development provider at the American Museum of Natural History. While at the museum, Dora’s most widely-recognized projects included the Five Tools for Translating the NGSS, the NSF-funded Moving Standards into Practice (which lead to the development of the EQuIP-reviewed Disruptions in Ecosystems unit), and an NGSS video series with the Teaching Channel. She holds a B.A. in geology from the University of Pennsylvania, M.A. and Ed.M. degrees in science and math education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in science education.

Invited Speakers
Invited speakers present during Workshop Sessions on specific Conference days, please note below the Session day and time.

DR. VASILII PETRENKO
University of Rochester
Methane Time Bombs, Leaky Pipelines and Scientists Doing Their Best to Stay Warm
Saturday, 9:30 - 10:30 A.M.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of its importance in driving human-induced warming of the planet. Methane’s lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than that of CO2, making it a prime target for near-term climate action. In this talk, I will provide an overview of what we know about the interaction of atmospheric methane with climate. I will also discuss what studies of ancient air from ice cores have taught us about the natural methane cycle, our contribution to methane that is found in the atmosphere today, and likely future scenarios. Finally, I will provide an introduction to polar ice cores, including the process of drilling ice cores and what they can teach us about Earth’s climate.

BIO: Vasilii Petrenko (Vas) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental sciences at the University of Rochester, and a former science teacher. His research interests are in the areas of past, present and future climate and chemistry of the atmosphere. Vas’ research group uses measurements of both modern and ancient air (from ice cores) to understand the interactions between climate and chemistry both in the natural preindustrial atmosphere and in today’s conditions. He and his research group travel regularly to Antarctica and Greenland to drill cores for their studies.


DR. VERA GORBUNOVA
University of Rochester
Mechanisms of Longevity: Lessons from Long-lived Mammals
Saturday, 1:45 – 2:45 P.M.

Vera Gorbunova is an endowed Professor of Biology and medicine at the University of Rochester and a co-director of the Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Dr. Gorbunova earned her B.Sc. degrees at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Dr. Gorbunova pioneered comparative biology approach to study aging. She investigates the longest-lived mammalian species such as the naked mole rats, the blind mole rat and the bowhead whale. Dr. Gorbunova also studies the role of Sirtuin 6 protein in longevity.  Recently she demonstrated that LINE1 elements trigger innate immune response that drives age-related sterile inflammation.

Dr. Gorbunova has more than 100 publications including publications in high profile journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. Her work received awards of from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, and from the National Institutes of Health. Her work was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize from PNAS, prize for research on aging from ADPS/Alianz, France, Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology, Japan, and Davey prize from Wilmot Cancer Center.


DR. MICHAEL RICHMOND
Rochester Institute of Technology
How Does the Perseverance Rover Investigate the Surface of Mars, and What has it Found?
Sunday, 9:30 - 10:30 A.M.

On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars. After a short pause to check on its equipment, the rover -- and its helicopter -- have been criss-crossing the floor of the Jezero Crater, analyzing the atmosphere, surface, and even

sub-surface properties of the Red Planet. What has it discovered during the first six months of its mission? In my talk, I'll try not only to provide an overview of the results so far, but also do my best to explain how scientists use Perseverance's seven main instruments to investigate the mysteries of Mars.

Michael Richmond grew up in Massachusetts, spending his teenage years attending and then working at the South Shore Natural Science Center. He majored in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, then moved across the country to do his graduate work at the UC Berkeley. After six wonderful years using telescopes in the Bay Area, he moved back to Princeton to work as a post-doc on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Just as the project was about to start collecting data, he left to join the Physics Department at RIT, where he works now.

Among the many groups participating in the SDSS were astronomers from the University of Tokyo. Michael has continued to do research with them, visiting Japan many times, spending one memorable summer at the Kiso Observatory, and even teaching classes at U of Tokyo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. His Japanese is only so-so, but he enjoys many facets of Japanese culture, and has been the faculty advisor for Rochester Institute of Technology RIT's Anime Club for over a decade.

Michael uses the small telescopes at RIT's observatory to measure the behavior of binary stars, especially those in which a white dwarf grabs material from its stellar companion. Since the weather is Rochester is not the best, he occasionally travels to the Kitt Peak National Observatory to take advantage of their clear (and dark) skies.



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