May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

New State-of-the-Art STEM Center Planned for Golda Och Academy

West Orange—Golda Och Academy is planning a state-of-the-art, three-story STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Center on the Eric F. Ross Upper School Campus. The new STEM Center will be named in honor of Dr Lynne B Harrison, community philanthropist and school grandparent, who has generously committed $1 million toward the facility.

The Dr Lynne B Harrison STEM Center will be located in the front of the building next to the cafeteria and will measure approximately 3,666 square feet. Two levels will be dedicated to STEM, including space for a full competition field for the robotics team (the CodeRunners), dedicated areas for project construction, additional 3D printers, and a fully-stocked workshop with tools and instruments for students. The center’s third floor will serve as a multipurpose space for students to collaborate with one another as well as attend lectures and demonstrations.

“This new STEM center expansion is something we are all excited about, and we know that it will go a long way towards enhancing our program and moving our school forward as a leader in STEM education,” said Adam Shapiro, GOA’s associate head of school and upper school principal. “We hope by giving students access to state-of-the-art labs and high-quality instruction, they will be well-positioned to be successful both here at Golda Och Academy and beyond in their future careers.”

To help with the design process, GOA is working with the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) and the Gruss Foundation, lending their expertise to ensure the new center will meet the school’s needs. “Our goal is to design space that is versatile and fully-functional,” said Shapiro.

The new center is an extension of the Dr Lynne B Harrison STEM program, which broadened GOA’s STEM initiatives in 2013 thanks to a $480,000 grant from Dr Harrison. The initial grant enabled the school to hire a new STEM Coordinator as well as fund a new, intensive high school STEM class, high school robotics team, computer science electives, 3D printers and, most recently, a brand new Macintosh lab. “We are truly indebted to Dr Harrison for her support and vision for STEM education here at GOA,” said Rabbi Joyce Raynor, Ph.D., head of school at GOA, “and feel so fortunate to be able to give our students a dedicated high-tech facility to expand their knowledge in these disciplines.”

According to Dr Harrison, “STEM work is the foundation for 21st century prosperity. Attracting our Jewish youth to these professions and giving them a top-quality education in these disciplines is of key importance. The time for the STEM Center is now.”

In the coming months, GOA’s STEM coordinator, Dr. Shira Kelmanovich, who received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University, will be traveling to other schools and universities with dedicated STEM centers to research how to best utilize the space. As far as goals for the center, Kelmanovich said, “Our vision is that the proposed STEM facility be a place where students have the opportunity and the tools they need to innovate, design, build and test; a place they can see their ideas come to fruition.”

According to Nina Bilmes, GOA’s math and science department chair, “We are truly excited about the prospect of a new STEM center that will help us have additional space for our math and science program to flourish and continue to grow.”

“GOA is proud to be leading the way among Jewish day schools in the area of STEM education,” said Stephanie Bash-Soudry, director of development and alumni relations at GOA. “We are so grateful to our visionary partner, Dr Lynne B Harrison, for making our dream of a new STEM Center a reality. This new STEM Center will be a place where students can discover and explore a passion for math, science, computers, and robotics.”

Dr. Harrison is the president of Harrison Research Laboratories, Inc., which she founded in 1981. The company tests products for safety and efficacy for major companies worldwide. Additionally, she is a member of the board of Space Israel and the newly-appointed chair of the USA Board of Space Israel. Dr Harrison has served as vice chair of the Hillel International Board of Directors as well as a member of the Hillel International Board of Governors. In 2009, Hillel named Dr Harrison “Woman of the Year,” honoring her with the Founders’ Award. She is also an officer of the United Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, a member of the Day School Council and a board member of Friends of Israel Sci Tech. In addition, Dr Harrison founded and funded the Dr Lynne B Harrison Science Center at the New Jersey “Y” Camps, which offers specialty science education to young Jewish campers. She is a mother of two daughters and the grandmother of GOA 8th grade student Adam Harrison Gross.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles