STEM Program

RCA’s STEM programming this year includes 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.
Lieutenant Commander Hutchinson
  • 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

The initial pilot program is planned for Fall 2022 and is intended to inspire young,  impressionable individuals into STEM academic and professional careers. The program will introduce the technology and business industry both in classroom settings and through other site visits. Specifically, students with diverse backgrounds from Redemption Christian Academy,  a private school in Troy, NY, will be engaging in this program.  

About Redemption Christian Academy 

Pastor John Massey, Jr. founded Redemption Christian Academy in 1979 in Troy, New York with  the vision that in the right environment, a student from any race, sex, or background could  achieve academic excellence. Since 1984, RCA has welcomed boarding students from the  Capital Region and the broader Northeast, as well as international students from a variety of  countries, including eastern Europe and Africa. RCA has since built a network of affiliates in  Texas, Liberia, and India.  

RCA’s curriculum places an emphasis on relevant practical teaching and active learning where  students are trained to become autodidactic and independent thinkers. Students develop skills  for lifelong learning and entrepreneurship. This STEM program is offered in partnership with  the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and Commander Michael Hutchinson of the Watervliet  Arsenal. It gives opportunities to students from groups historically underrepresented in  scientific pursuits access to academic and career pursuits that require scientific, mathematical,  and technological knowledge.  

The school currently leverages a variety of local business, science, and trade partners to  augment the student experience and prepare them for a variety of potential post-secondary  education and career pathways. RCA is the ideal community partner to lead the pilot program  based on its flexible curriculum, a STEM curriculum which can continue to build on experiential  learning in this program, and its community leadership. 

Execution of the Pilot Program 

The program’s goal is to expose young people from a variety of backgrounds who may not  naturally encounter industry-standard STEM facilities and niche experts to a world of growing  technological possibility. Further, the program will provide them with the tools and options to  pursue continuing education and careers in these fields as they complete secondary school. The  program is successful if it inspires young people to pursue a path in life which personally  enriches them while improving their community.  

Participants will be immersed in the culture, history, and world views of people who are key  players on the technology and business stage. This immersive program will allow the young 

participants to engage with innovators, entrepreneurs and possibly local university students in  the technology and business world. The majority of sessions will be held in in the Center of  Gravity classroom, which is located in downtown Troy and used by many technology-based  companies.  

Participants will: 

• Explore emerging technologies for possible academic pursuit or professional careers • Meet and interact with the next generation of innovative leaders 

• Learn STEM problem solving techniques through interactive projects and activities • Understand the excitement and challenges of being part of a technology-intensive Start Up Business 

• Connect with people on the pathway to success in academics and the tech industry • Set a course or trajectory for success in their own lives 

• Align their aspirations to the purpose of tech-oriented education and how it relates to  their education goals. 

Participating Start-Up Technology Companies/Speakers will include: Program participants will  engage with emerging startup companies and industry experts. 

• Self Array [LED Display Technology] 

• Troy Web [App Development] 

Tony Mitchell 

• Others pending [Fuzehub, U Albany, United Aircraft Technologies,  

Greycastle, HVCC] 

The Way Ahead 

A successful pilot program as proof-of-concept may lead to a variety of branch plans and  incremental improvements to the curriculum. An ideal evolution of the program would yield a  sustainable and scalable curriculum to expand to other secondary schools in the area with  underserved but motivated students. In the first semester with RCA, the curriculum is tested  and refined, and the second semester of the 2022-2023 school year it will be deliberately 

planned to build upon the first, partnering with Capital Region STEM institutions to inspire  young people through the projects of their slightly older peers and familiarize students with the  post-secondary opportunities here in the Capital Region. 

About the Program Moderator 

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.

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