STEM Coalition Names Director

The recently formed Chautauqua County Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Coalition has selected a director, and received some more money with which to work.

Dr. Peter Beeson, a Cleveland native, has been appointed to assist the coalition with the raising of community awareness regarding the increasing availability in STEM opportunities.

“STEM is a huge part of my life,” Beeson said. “As someone who has spent many summers here in Chautauqua County, I’m very glad to be back full time. I see enormous opportunity to enhance STEM learning throughout the area in an effort to meet the workforce needs of the community, and to support economic growth. And as director of the education coalition, I hope to bring together all of the businesses, nonprofits and educational entities to make them aware of the STEM opportunities in the county, and co-develop them with the nonprofits, secondary and post-secondary education.”

The Chautauqua STEM Education Coalition is a partnership of education, business, economic and community leaders focused on enhancing STEM education learning opportunities in Chautauqua County. The coalition was organized as an initiative of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and Dream It. Do It. Western New York.

Beeson was most recently a research physical scientist with USDA in Maryland, serving in the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory Agricultural Research Center. He earned his doctorate degree in civil and environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University, where he also earned a Master of Science. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Bates College. Beeson was previously a graduate research assistant at Pennsylvania State University and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On Thursday, members of the coalition’s founding organizations gathered at Cummins’ Jamestown Engine Plant to celebrate the donation of $232,500 to Dream It. Do It. from two Cummins sources. A corporate grant from the Cummins Foundation in the amount of $157,500 was given, and the Cummins Engine Business Unit provided $75,000. The funding, which was used to form the coalition, will be distributed over a three-year period.

“On behalf of Dream It. Do It., the Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association, I want to express our gratitude to Cummins for their support in this initiative,” said Todd Tranum, CEO and president of both Dream It. Do It. and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, as well as executive director of the Manufacturers Association. “Without their support, we would not have been able to get Dream It. Do It. off the ground, in addition to taking that to a regional initiative. And this support is going to allow us to take STEM opportunities to a whole new level here in Chautauqua County.”

“We are greatly appreciative of the support of Cummins for our collective efforts to enhance STEM education in Chautauqua County,” said Beeson. “There are significant opportunities to link the learning that is occurring in primary and secondary education to careers right here in our backyard. This is a county with significant assets to showcase, and the STEM Education Coalition, working with the schools and a variety of community partners, will help open the eyes of the young minds in our school systems to those assets.”

For more information regarding Dream It. Do It. Western New York or the STEM Education Coalition, call the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce at 366-6200 or 484-1101.