Who We Are
As the official K-12 outreach arm of Rensselaer, we play a unique role in providing service to the Capital Region in STEM education. Rensselaer values and practices multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches in curriculum, teaching, and outreach, emphasizing interactive learning, the generative use of technology and teamwork to involve students as active participants in their own educations. CIPCE enacts this vision in our work with K-12 students and teachers, working toward improving STEM education to help our society meet the challenges and seize the potential of the 21st century.
Director: Paul Schoch, Ph.D.
Dr. Schoch is an Associate Professor in the Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has been director of CIPCE since 2010. He is the principal investigator for the CIPCE grants, which provide professional development opportunities for teachers, and research into the use of technology to improve K- 12 STEM education. Paul is a committed and innovative educator. He is very active in the FIRST® robotics programs by hosting events on campus, fundraising, mentoring and volunteering at regional and championship competitions. He teaches courses in embedded control and circuits and was part of the award winning team that implemented studio class instruction for engineering in the 1990's, was an early adopter of mobile instrumentation boards, and uses flipped teaching.
Program Manager: Jordan Vener
Mr. Vener is interested in designing, implementing and enhancing student-centered project learning in order to focus on fostering critical thinking and problem solving skills. He coordinates outreach activities and summer technology academies that include LEGO® Robotics, Scratch and VEX among others. He also organizes a program to place undergraduate college students in local elementary and middle schools as mentors for classroom STEM education activities and after school robotics clubs. Jordan holds a BS in Elementary Education from Florida International University, a Master's in Educational Psychology and Methodology from SUNY Albany, and Pre-K to 6 NYS Teacher Certification. He joined CIPCE in 2010 after seven years educating students in the City School District of Albany.
Project Manager for Teacher Professional Development: Kelly Grindstaff, Ph.D.
Dr. Grindstaff has over two decades of experience in K-12 STEM education as a teacher, curriculum designer, teacher educator, and researcher. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy, with a focus on project-based learning utilizing the intertwining of science, technology, society and environment. Kelly works with teachers in the Capital Region implementing professional development initiatives and curricular design to engage students in inquiry, make generative use of technology, and ground STEM learning in the contexts of the 21st century.
Cognitive Consultant: Sybillyn Jennings, Ph.D.
Dr. Jennings coordinates the research arm of CIPCE. She is fascinated by inquiry and problem-based learning approaches to mathematics and science in an applied engineering context. She has studied learning and teaching in classrooms, labs, on-line discussions, workshops, with interactive multimedia, and through clinical interviews with children and adolescents. She has contributed to CIPCE's model of situated professional development for K-12 teachers working to connect LEGO® Robotics technologies with the Common Core standards. In her other life, she is Professor and Chair of Psychology at The Sage Colleges and directs the core general education program, WORLD (Women Owning Responsibility for Learning and Doing). Sybillyn earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara and conducted research in cognitive and social development during post-doctoral work at the University of Denver.
Founding Director: The late Lester Rubenfeld, Ph.D.
Dr. Rubenfeld was a Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Rensselaer for 43 years. He was awarded the 1987 Rensselaer Distinguished Teaching Fellowship, was the recipient of the 1992 Community Service Award from the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities for his work with Capital District schools, and received the 1999 Jerome Fishbach Faculty Travel Award from Rensselaer. He conducted numerous workshops and institutes on mathematics inquiry. Sadly, Dr. Rubenfeld passed away suddenly in July 2010.
CIPCE has working relationships with many local and statewide educational entities and departments, school districts, partner institutes of higher education, national corporations and foundations. These partners work with us in developing CIPCE initiatives, and in providing further support for their implementation. Financial support for CIPCE's various initiatives has come from many sources including grants, contracts, and special gifts.