Newark Public Schools, the city of Newark and nonprofit Students 2 Science opened the S2S Newark Technology Center on Monday with a mission of educating fifth- to 12th-grade students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The center features a $4 million commercial-grade laboratory and instrumentation, and will partner with corporations to provide scientists and mentors for students.
“S2S Newark is an innovative, collaborative project that shows just what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors come together for the sake of our students,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said.
Added Students 2 Science President Paul Winslow: “We are teaching different pathways for students for STEM careers. I happen to be the front man and I get too much credit. None of this would be possible without our board of directors, staff and thousands of volunteers.”
Eagle Academy for Young Men student Maurice Minott dreams of being a nano-technician and an entrepreneur. He did not just stumble on this idea.
“Students 2 Science will not only benefit me but other Newark students,” Minott said. “We are the jewels deep in the ground waiting to be cultivated. This center can set me up for success.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. said he’s concerned that Americans have lost their way regarding STEM education.
“We spend more on military spending than the next 10 countries combined,” Booker said. “One genius can transform society and humanity. We cannot afford to leave our geniuses unnourished.”
Said Newark Public Schools Interim Superintendent Robert Gregory: “[The center] marks yet another sign on a new experience for all students in Newark Public Schools. Our schools are moving in the right direction. Ideas will become reality.”
Panasonic Corporation of North America CEO Tom Gebhardt presented a check of $1.5 million to the center. Gebhardt recalled that Panasonic was looking to move its U.S. headquarters six years ago and chose Newark.
“It was more about trying to make a difference,” Gebhardt said. “As a corporate citizen, we wanted to make a difference for places like this that make a difference.”
PSE&G President David Daly said the utility gave $500,000 toward the center.