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Megan McGraw and Donna Fernandes

Senior Megan McGraw hopes to pursue a degree in biology and follow in the footsteps of Dr. Donna Fernandes, President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo. 

Dr. Donna Fernandes, President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo, addressed students from Mount St. Mary Academy, younger siblings, parents and members of the community as part of Mount St. Mary Academy and Nardin Academy’s collaborative STEAM speaker series.

Fernandes talked about her path to success, from cognitive research to zoo management. An early interest in mathematics drove her into STEAM, where she often found herself the only woman in a field of male scientists.

Joining the Buffalo Zoo in 2000, Fernandes began a long and arduous task of converting exhibition spaces into extensive habitats, including most recently Arctic Edge.

“Dr. Fernandes is a wonderful model for young women everywhere that STEAM can open doors to great opportunities,” says Peg O’Brien Simons, Mount St. Mary Academy’s STEAM Co-Coordinator.

In 2014, Mount St. Mary Academy launched an extensive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) program that includes expanded science facilities, new academic offerings and a distinctive STEAM introductory course to educate students on future career opportunities. The program is made possible by the Education Collaborative of Western New York (EdCo) and the John R. Oishei Foundation Diversification and STEAM Capacity Building grant.

The program includes a STEAM Foundations course which centers on inquiry-based learning and applies STEAM principles to current issues, and the STEAM Speaker series.

“With today’s ever-changing technology, students are not aware of the vast array of careers available to them,” says Terri Logan, MSM’s STEAM co-coordinator. “Through the STEAM program, we seek to build upon current interest and opportunities, and spark a fire that will drive these young women to continue into professions normally dominated by men.”

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