Alliances and Partnerships

Alliances and Partnerships

Penn State College of Medicine

In 2006 CAIMS+ formed an alliance with the Penn State College of Medicine, informed by a shared concern about the crisis in science education and the waning interest in careers in science, particularly health sciences, at all levels.

This partnership has resulted in a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA grant), providing professional development and graduate credits to teachers and interactive laboratory experiences for students.

This alliance has since expanded to include several area schools in the Capital Area Region, and a number of universities in the Mid-Atlantic Region who also are holders of SEPA grants.


CAIMS+ has become a member of MAR-SEPA (Mid-Atlantic Region of the Science Education Partnership Award), grantees sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This has provided opportunities to meet with colleagues throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region and to form alliances that will become part of the network for our proposed pre-K—post-doctoral pipeline.

CAIMS+ continues to play an ever expanding role in the Mid-Atlantic Region group of SEPA grant holders with its chairman a member of our Penn State College of Medicine partnership.

STEM Learning Coalition

Perhaps the most exciting venture on whose cusp we stand is the expectation of using CAIMS+ as the springboard to institutionalize a life sciences continuum with the ultimate goal of delivering all levels of science through a comprehensive innovative curriculum. This science education plan, that is both horizontal and vertical, would optimize the preparation of students for science-related careers (while also addressing the need for science literacy at all levels and for authentic science education to target earlier grades).

The STEM Learning Coalition is an assemblage of education and business partners whose purpose is to stimulate interest and increase achievement in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology with the subsequent entry of school students into college majors in one or more of the STEM areas, followed by careers in a STEM-related field. This purpose will be achieved through the creation of a specialized curriculum, the professional development of teachers in the delivery of this curriculum, and mentoring of students and teachers.


  • Penn State Harrisburg
  • Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Penn State Hershey College of Medicine
  • Saladax Biomedical
  • Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
  • Green Works Development
  • Phoenix Contact
  • WITF


As this is a longitudinal study, the partners are beginning their journey with a STEM Pilot Program aimed at the young learners. The Pilot Program will engage selected schools in the Capital Region.


Research has shown that the most important element in increasing the achievement of students is through the professional development of teachers (Witmer, 2012). Research further indicates that the optimal age at which to initiate STEM education is pre-K (Clements & Sarama, 2011a; Tsamir et al, 2011, among others). Thus, the STEM Learning Coalition will focus part of its initial efforts on this age group while also developing sophisticated science curriculum and delivery through a pilot program with elementary school students (K-4th grade) and their teachers.

Some studies have also suggested that long-range support and mentoring of students is a factor in student success (Tsamir et al, 2011); thus, a formal mentoring component will be added when the initial test cohort reaches 4th grade.


Students will reach higher achievement scores in STEM-related subjects and will be more likely to enter STEM careers if their earliest level of schooling begins with teachers who are prepared to deliver both research-based content (designed by both practitioners in the STEM fields and in STEM education) and inquiry-based pedagogy in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, along with mentoring, than will students who do not have teachers with this training.

Program Factors for the Pilot Test Group:

The factors of the STEM Learning Coalition Model that differ from typical STEM programs are that

  1. the STEM content is more content-sophisticated;
  2. the pedagogy is inquiry-based;
  3. science units will be co-taught by STEM practitioners;
  4. a formal mentoring element will be added in 4th grade; and
  5. the program will be offered pre-K-16, adding a grade each year.

STEM Learning Consortium Committee Members

  • Dr. Jennifer N. Baar
    Dean, Academic Affairs; Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Mr. James Baxter
    Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs, Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Dr. Michael Chorney
    Faculty, Microbiology & Immunology; Penn State College of Medicine
  • Mr. Kevin Harter
    Founding Member of CAIMS, CEO of Saladax Biomedical
  • Ms. Lori Lauver
    Science Educator, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
  • Mr. John Lencioni
    Adjunct Science Lecturer, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Mr. Doug Neidich
    Owner, Green Works Development
  • Mr. Arnold Offner
    Industry Standards Manager, Phoenix Contact
  • Ms. Kathleen Pavelko
    President and CEO, witf
  • Dr. Sairam Rudrabhatia
    Faculty, Biofuels Program; Penn State Harrisburg
  • Mr. Morton Spector
    Founding Member of CAIMS, Owner (Retired) Design House Kitchens & Appliances
  • Dr. Martha Strickland
    Faculty, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Mr. Anthony Wolfe
    Science Teacher, Steelton-Highspire School District

School of Science, Engineering, and Technology (Penn State Harrisburg)

  • Electronics/Robotics Competition (Link to information)
  • NSF STEM Scholarships to underrepresented students interested in science, technology, engineering and math
  • After school Science and Engineering Clubs
  • Placement of SEPA students for laboratory experiences
  • Opportunities for partnership grants