Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts

of the Empire State STEM Learning Network

Strategic Plan for
Updated for 2016


WNY will be a thriving economic region whose innovative workforce and citizenry are created through interdisciplinary STEM collaboration.


The WNY STEM Hub of the Empire State STEM Learning Network facilitates collaboration among business, education, community organizations, arts and cultural organizations, and government entities to advance the interdisciplinary teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics in support of sustained economic and intellectual vitality in our five-county region.


Collaboration – Partners work together by cooperating in order to achieve mutual gain.
Collective Impact – Partners align their efforts in order to achieve common goals.
Paying It Forward – Partners reciprocate on the benefits they receive from the organization by returning support in order to benefit the organization and its members.

Value Proposition

WNY STEM creates awareness and partnerships that serve students, teachers and parents in accessing STEM/STEAM learning and careers.  This is achieved by providing events, experiences and resources through collaboration of the extensive network of cross-sector members and partners. Students engaged in STEM/STEAM learning will have the skills and dispositions to succeed in college and career and will contribute to an economically and intellectually vibrant region.

SWOT Analysis: Strengths & Opportunities

 swot - regional strengths







 swot - regional opportunities







SWOT Analysis: Weaknesses & Threats

 swot - weaknesses








Risk Register

Risks Identified Controls in Place Who is Responsible

Grant funding is below target and resources are not available to cover the operating costs of the organization.

Expand expertise in grant writing in- house; engage a fund developer.


Develop diversity of income sources.


Seek Advisory Board input.







Volunteers become jaded and unable to sustain leadership commitment.

Establish and fund an operating budget for capacity building.


Engage contractors for service, as funding becomes available.





Reputational & Legal:

Individuals seek to exploit the Hub with unethical practices.

Incorporate; acquire membership consensus on by-laws and grant guidelines.

Engage attorney to pursue 501c3 and provide guidance, as needed.




Objectives and Goals for 2014-15

Through the strategic planning process and with guidance from the Advisory Board, the following were established by June 5, 2014:

1. Continue to build infrastructure.

  • Ongoing Website Development
  • Funding for Programs and Capacity Building
  • Further Development of the Speakers Bureau
  • Public Relations and WNY STEM/STEAM Week

2. Scale up best practices.

  • GOAL: By August 2015, increase the number of WNY professionals and students engaged in STEM/STEAM learning by 10%.

3. Develop a new signature program – The WNY STEM Trail.

  • GOAL: By August 2015, provide 150 WNY professionals and students with CCSS aligned STEM experiences and STEM career learning, virtually or on-site, at three Phase I STEM Trail sites.

4. Support existing workforce development and economic development initiatives.

  • GOAL: By August 2015, increase the number of professionals and students involved in workforce and career development experiences by 10%.


Action Planning

Action Teams for Goal #1: Continuing to Build the Infrastructure:

Public Relations Ad Hoc Group Leader
Cherie Messore, Independent Public Relations Consultant

Website Ad Hoc Group Leader
Mike LaManna, User Experience Manager, Vice President for Digital Banking, M&T Bank

Funding Ad Hoc Group Leader
Jackie Crisman, Ph.D., Coordinator of Biotechnology at Jamestown Community College

Calendar of Events Ad Hoc Group Leader
Sandi George, Science Teacher at Frontier Schools and Co-Chair of the Western Section of Science Teachers Association of NYS

Speakers Bureau Ad Hoc Group Leader
Bob Rogers, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics at SUNY Fredonia & President of Association for Math Teachers of NYS

Liaision for Arts & Culture
Nancy Sterman, Director of Education for Young Audiences of WNY

Liaison for Partnerships
Jim Guido, Retired Physics Teacher

Action Team for Goal #2: Scaling Up Best Practices

Mike Jabot, Ph.D., Professor of Science Ed, Curriculum & Instruction, SUNY Fredonia

Katy Duggan Hass, Sustainability Coordinator & Educator, Modern Recycling

Action Team for Goal #3: Designing a WNY STEM Trail

Mark Gallo, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biology, Niagara University

Action Team #4: Building on Existing Workforce & Economic Development Initiatives

Sandra Small, Ph.D. Business Development Associate – Workforce Initiative, Center of Excellence

Michelle Kavanaugh, Ed.D., Facilitator of the WNY STEM Hub, Retired Superintendent


Mentor- driven Programs – WNY STEM supported mentor-driven programs by assisting with promotion and recruitment of mentors.  Future City increased by 5 teams; and VEX IQ Robotics increased to 7 new schools.  WNY STEM was granted a Senior Mentor position for the region and saw 3 new FRC Teams and at east 10 new FLL teams emerge.  The total estimated professional increase is 53 (32%) and the estimated student increase is 239 (35%).

STEM Career Expo – WNY and the Niagara Power Vista provided a May 2015 Expo at which 36 professionals and 82 students participated for a 100% increase.

Summary:  The goal was exceeded.  There was a total increase in professionals engaged in workforce learning by 89 (139%) and students by 213 (42%).


Objectives and Goals for 2015-16

  1. Assure capacity and sustainability.
  • GOAL 1.A:  By August 2016, evaluate outcomes of a fund development plan with implementation support from a professional fund developer.
  • GOAL 1.B:  By August 2016, design sponsorship packages and standard agreement documents.
  • GOAL 1.C:  By May 2016, complete the 501c3 application process.
  • GOAL 1.D:  By May 2016, publish a menu of services and funding structure.
  1. Scale up best practices.
  • GOAL: By August 2016, establish a minimum of one new project for an existing coalition and one new project for a new coalition facilitated by WNY STEM.
  1. Develop a new signature program – The WNY STEM/STEAM Trail.
  • GOAL: By August 2016, identify one new trail site in Erie County with a website resources and virtual experience tab at wnystem.org.
  1. Support workforce development initiatives.

GOAL 4.A:  By August 2016, increase the number of professionals and students involved in our workforce and career development and career experiences by 20%.

GOAL 4.B:  By June 2016, produce and broadly disseminate access to a web-based STEM workforce skills gap report reviewed and supported by a regional panel of experts in workforce development program and labor needs.

GOAL 4.C:  By December 2016, provide progressive STEM career pathways and career exploration experiences in 2 colleges and 5 school districts.

Appendix A: Strategies

2014-15 Strategies

Continuing to Build the Infrastructure:

  • Establish Branding Guidelines
  • Create New Webpages (ie Members Site) and Enhance Existing Resource Pages
  • Expand the Hub’s Social Media Tools to Twitter
  • Develop Policy & Procedures for Hub Support of Grant Submissions
  • Build Ongoing Awareness of STEM/STEAM to External Audiences
  • Apply Best Practices for Partnership Development & Maintenance
  • Identify and Fund Staff Positions

Scaling Up Best Practices:

  • Identify Instructional Practices and Proven Programs
  • Create Mechanisms for Cross-Member Sharing & Support

Designing a WNY STEM Trail:

  • Build Partnerships with the NY Power Authority and Others
  • Create Web-based Resources to Support Kiosks
  • Identify Funding Sources for Successive Phases of the Trail

Building on Existing Workforce & Economic Development Initiatives:

  • Disseminate Career Awareness Experiences and Information via Libraries & Website
  • Expand Mentor-Driven Models with Career Connections
  • Facilitate Partnerships in K-16 for Academies/CTE/Career Pathway Programs
  • Engage the Business Sector as Active Partners & Sponsors


2015-16 Strategies

Assure Capacity and Sustainability:

  • Research Options for a Shared Executive Director Position
  • Seek Foundation Funds for Collaboration and Integration with Other Nonprofits
  • Collaborate with Contacts in Jamaica and Zimbabwe on Shared Capacity Building

Scale Up Best Practices:

  • Identify Districts with Similar Needs that Match a Grant Funding Priority
  • Provide Communications, Professional Development and Resources
  • Assure Program Quality through Evaluation
  • Assure Diversity:  Geographic, Socio-economic, Minorities, Girls

Develop The WNY STEM/STEAM Trail:

  • Evaluate Long-term Commitment of Potential Partners and Partner Sites
  • Explore Options beyond Erie County

Support Workforce Development Initiatives:

  • Facilitate Partnerships Linked to Career Pathway Interests
  • Build Data-driven Reports that Engage Partners and Enable Action