SUNY Oswego’s 84th Technology Fall Conference, presented by the university’s Technology Department on Oct. 26 and 27, featured more than 400 attendees and a keynote plenary by Dr. Robert Simmons, Head of Social Impact and STEM Programs for Micron Technology and the Micron Foundation.
The conference traditionally welcomes educators and professionals from different school disciplines and grade levels. Participants learn about technology and teaching techniques while networking with other educators and professionals. The conference also features commercial exhibits with the latest technology for classrooms and laboratories.
One new feature was the keynote from Simmons, representing Micron, the region’s biggest business and technology development in history. The semiconductor manufacturer is locating a megafab chip plant in nearby Clay, historic and transformative in nature with a planned investment of $100 billion in the region over the next 20 years.
Simmons, who started his career as a middle-school teacher, said that as Micron moved into the community, the company saw a need to support and cultivate the workforce of tomorrow. Micron knew the company would need to scale up STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) partnerships and programs with educational institutions of all levels, “and we have done so, as more than 205,000 young people have received STEM opportunities to date,” he said.
Those efforts have included creating opportunities in impoverished and economically challenged communities and for those with challenging home situations.
“Curiosity and innovation among kids and young people is a universal truth,” Simmons said. “Across societies and across generations, everybody wants to be creative, everybody wants to tinker, everybody wants to be a maker in their souls.”
Micron is working with SUNY Oswego, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse University, and many other higher education institutions and PreK-12 districts across the greater Central New York region as a result. The company’s partnerships with education across the region and state will serve as a model for the rest of the world in how technology changes lives, Simmons said.
“This room of people and this community are parts of that story,” Simmons told a packed Sheldon Hall ballroom. “As we step into what’s next, it’s important that we all step forward together.”
SUNY Oswego technology education professor Richard Bush, who coordinates the Technology Fall Conference, said it was successful both in terms of quantity and quality.
“We had an amazing turnout, with more than 400 people and the most vendors we’ve had since before COVID,” Bush said.
“People kept coming up to me and saying ‘this conference just keeps getting better and better,’” Bush noted.
And with about 95 percent of attendees being SUNY Oswego alumni, the conference is particularly special to the Laker family, he added.
“It was cool to see so many former students who are succeeding and accomplishing great things in this field,” Bush said. “This conference serves as a homecoming for our alumni.”