STEM Program

RCA’s STEM programming last year included the addition of an exciting special curriculum developed by Lieutenant Commander Hutchinson of the Watervliet Arsenal in partnership with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity Makerspace in Downtown Troy.

NYSTEC is proud to support the Redemption Christian Academy STEM Program. By providing STEM programming and personnel support, this partnership also helps NYSTEC realize its commitment to enhance and bolster its local communities. NYSTEC is an independent, nonprofit technology consulting company headquartered in Rome, NY, with offices in Albany and New York City. Created in 1996 to facilitate the transfer of technology, innovation, and expertise between the public and private sectors in support of economic development, today NYSTEC is a trusted advisor to government agencies, institutions, and businesses. NYSTEC helps support the Central and Upstate New York innovation system through its program, IgniteU NY. For more information, visit the NYSTEC website:

Last year we had an exciting launch of RCA’s expanded STEM Program!
STEM students participated in the following sessions:

  1. Introduction to coding with Lt. Col. Hutchinson of the Watervliet Arsenal
  2. Meeting Anthony, DeBonis, the president of Troy Web Consulting
  3. Drones at the Watervliet Dome with Lt. Col. Hutchinson and Sgt. Sharpes
  4. Visit to SUNY Polytechnic Institute at the Albany Nanotech Complex with tour by
    Mr. Lamar Hill of the President’s Office of NY CREATES and Executive Director
  5. Engineering a mouse-trap car, a project with students from Hudson Valley
    Community College
  6. Session two of building a mouse-trap car and live lab demonstration
  7. Presentation by Dr. Michael Conward of SelfArray and MyLUA
  8. Visit to Hudson Valley Community College- Troy Campus meeting with with Dr.
    Hector Rodriguez, Dean of the School of STEM
  9. Visit to Hudson Valley Community College TECH-SMART campus in Malta with
    tour by Dr. Jonathan Ashdown, Dean of HVCC North

All sessions were coordinated by Lt. Col. Hutchinson along with Dr. Tom Triscari and Mr. Lucas Ashby of the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency. This is a rare opportunity for the students, and we will also be looking to have additional STEM exposures for all RCA students.

In the 2022-2023 school year we launched RCA’s STEM Integrated Circuit (IC) Design Training Program. It was an amazing opportunity to partner with NYDesign and NYSTEC for EFabless Chip Ignite. This STEM experiential learning chip design program will open up high level academic and career pathways for RCA students.

This program was initiated with the help of the following individuals we are so grateful for their contributions:
Lamar Hill CEO, NYDesign; Member of President’s office of NYCREATES
Dan Fiumara RCA ChipIgnite instructor, RPI Intern
Kevin Owens, serves as President and CEO of the New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation (NYSTEC).

STEM Pilot Program Schedule

  • Week 1 Coding
  • Week 2: App development
  • Week 3: Drones
  • Week 4: Robotics
  • Week 5: Integrated circuits
  • Week 6: Field trip to the start-ups
  • Week 7: Sensors
  • Week 8: “Cloud”
  • Week 9: Artificial Intelligence-driven careers
  • Week 10: Cybersecurity

About the Program Moderator

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hutchinson

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hutchinson is an Army Special Forces Officer whose previous duty  position was Director, Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Applications at the United  States Army Special Operations Command. He led a cross-functional division of cloud architects,  software engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, and research psychologists who  spearheaded a number of use cases in support of enhanced human performance, human machine teaming, and workforce development. Attempting to hire and retain the high-quality  civilian talent the division required exposed a gap in the workforce development pipeline in the  broader United States in the fields most necessary for the emerging global economy and  national defense. In his role as commander of the regional Army Recruiting Battalion,  Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson seeks to provide educators and students with access to  information and pathways leading to these high-demand civilian careers.

Roosevelt Banks

Roosevelt Banks is a former Naval nuclear power engineer who attended the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida. He also studied and finished in the top 5% at the Knolls Atomic Power Lab S7G Nuclear Prototype. He became the Chief Reactor Watch onboard the USS Eisenhower. Roosevelt Banks later returned to the Knolls Atomic Power Lab as an instructor of officers, enlisted men, and civilians. His engineering and teaching background makes a perfect fit for RCA’s science and engineering program (STEM). He recently received a scholarship from the ASM Materials Education Foundation and attended a graduate level summer training program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for teachers in materials science and engineering.

Elementary STEM programs will continue to be offered by Dr. Jim Tkacik, who has volunteered since 1996 at RCA.

Dr James Tkacik working with student on STEM project