How do you combat the brain drain on Long Island? Brain drain has been an issue at the forefront of many people’s minds for years. Companies across Long Island are trying to combat this shortage of a future workforce, especially in STEM-related career paths. But, how can we reach the student and parent population to increase awareness about career opportunities right here on Long Island?

In the Episode

In this episode of Hilary Topper On Air, Hilary interviews Kenneth White of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Andrew Parton of the Cradle of Aviation who are both Co-stewards of the Long Island STEM Hub, an organization consisting of industry, academic, and not-for-profit volunteers working to advance STEM education effectiveness on Long Island.

Ken and Andy discuss the brain drain on Long Island and why the LI STEM Hub is trying to combat it with its new career video series, Full STEM Ahead LI. Learn about the 10 video series, the companies represented and the reason behind the series.

About Ken White

Ken, a recognized leader in science education on Long Island and within the U.S. Department of Energy, is the Manager of the Office of Educational Programs (OEP) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Co-Steward of the Long Island STEM Hub. BNL is a U.S. Department of Energy multi-discipline research complex with seven Nobel Prizes credited to work conducted at its facilities, hosts over 30,000 participants per year in its K-12 and university science education programs. Under White’s leadership, the programs at Brookhaven have doubled in capacity, increased teacher and student engagement in BNL research and citizen science, and advanced gender and ethnic diversity in the sciences. In 2014, he was invited to the White House to represent the Department of Energy national laboratory system for input to the Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education 5-Year Strategic Plan. Mr. White’s passion for helping young people succeed is infectious. He credits the dedicated professionals at BNL, an outstanding team of educators at the Lab’s Office of Educational Programs, and many partners like Farmingdale State University, Girls, Inc., and others for enabling the Lab to be a great asset for STEM education in the Long Island Community.

Mr. White, a veteran of the United States Navy, has held operations, chemistry and training positions at military, commercial, and research nuclear facilities. White earned a baccalaureate degree from the University of the State of New York and a Master of Business Administration degree from Dowling College. He is a recipient of the Science Museum of Long Island Champion of Science Award, the Brookhaven Award, a co-recipient of the American Nuclear Society Trade Excellence Award, and multiple awards during his time in the military. Mr. White is currently pursuing his vision to establish the Portal to Discovery at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a place for citizen science.

About Andy Parton

Andy is the President of the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center. In his tenure as first Executive Director and now President he has worked to transform the museum into an education center with an emphasis on the S.T.E.M. disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math. The goal of the museum is to use its collection of air and spacecraft to generate excitement for studies in math and science and to help create a new labor pool for the aviation, aerospace and defense industries. He has been instrumental in building the museum’s educational platform to include High School Magnet Academies for STEM.

In addition, the museum has expanded its educational efforts and serves as the host site for a number of science-based competitions including the Rube Goldberg Engineering Competition as well as competitions such as “Kid Wind”, “Solar Cars” and their new “Drone/UAV” program.

It is with these distinct and creative partnerships that the museum influences countless kids to study STEM, sparking interests in Higher Ed and STEM careers. Mr. Parton hopes the museum will continue to excel as a resource for the community, promoting and fostering a strong STEM-educated society.

The museum is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft and chronicles Long Island’s rich aerospace history and attracts over 300,000 visitors each year. The Cradle of Aviation Museum also serves as the Nassau County anchor for the STEM Hub. Additionally, Andrew sits on the STEM Hub Board of Champions and leads the Aerospace Regional Industry Council.

Prior to joining the museum, Andrew spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase as Vice President, Director of Marketing for the Commercial Banking Group.

He serves on the Board of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and the Grumman/Northrop Grumman Retiree Club.

His education encompasses a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing Management and a Bachelor of Science in Communications Arts and Sciences from St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York.

About Long Island STEM HUB

The Long Island STEM Hub is an organization consisting of industry, academic, and not-for-profit volunteers working to advance STEM education effectiveness on Long Island. The Long Island STEM Hub is focused on promoting student interest in STEM fields, building business and academia networks that facilitate interaction, and preparing the next-generation high-tech workforce. To contact Ken or Andy, learn more about Full STEM Ahead Long Island and the Long Island STEM Hub, visit www.listemhub.org.