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U-Start incubator joins consortium of area peers

Posted on Mar 31, 2004

The U-Start business incubator
associated with the College has joined forces with four other incubators to
create the Tech Valley Incubator Network (TVIN).

TVIN will provide a forum for
information sharing and cooperation with the goal of leveraging their strengths
to better serve Tech Valley
entrepreneurs The other incubators involved are the Adirondack Technology Accelerator, Rensselaer Incubator Program, Schenectady County Community Business Center,
and University at Albany East Campus
Business Incubator.

The network members, who had their
first meeting earlier this year, formed the network in the spirit of other
regional cooperative efforts, including the Tech Valley Chamber Coalition and
the Center for Economic Growth. The member incubators of TVIN seek to offer
better services to their current and prospective clients through the network
while retaining their own unique identity and operations.

“Although each incubator will
continue to operate independently, TVIN will provide a structured way to meet
regularly, share best practices, and discuss potential joint initiatives, all
for the betterment of Tech Valley
as a region,” said Jon C. Lemelin, Director of the U-Start business incubator,
which is associated with Union College
in Schenectady.

“It's clear that the growth
of entrepreneurial businesses will be vital to the success of Tech
Valley, and TVIN will give
entrepreneurs a single point of contact.” Lemelin added. “Incubators provide
office space, clerical support, and technical and business assistance to help
these types of ventures grow and succeed. With a network of incubators pooling
our ideas and resources, we can all be more successful.”

U-Start has been operating since
July 1999 at 4 Nott Terrace in a converted Victorian Home just off the College's
South border. In October 1993, the incubator expanded into an adjacent
building, bringing U-Start's total business space to 12 firms. Three companies
have “graduated out” of the incubator and are operating in Schenectady


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Jane Sadler ’73 named keynoter for Tech Valley Summit

Posted on Mar 30, 2004

Jane Sadler ’73

Jane Sadler '73, president of a
company that sells portable, inflatable planetariums, has been named the
keynote speaker for an educator awards dinner to be held during the upcoming Summit
in Tech Valley.

Sadler, president of Learning
Technologies Inc., of Somerville, Mass.,
will make her remarks on May 5. A former school principal, she is the wife of
the inventor of the inflatable planetarium, who started the company 27 years

The planetarium comes in two
sizes, one accommodating up to 35 people and one that will fit up to 80 people,
and is capable of fitting in the hatchback of a small car. The product, called
Starlab, is billed as a low cost way to provide access to a planetarium in
areas where it would otherwise be unavailable. It is said by the company to be
the most used planetarium in the world, and is used in thousands of schools.

“Jane Sadler is an extraordinary
fit for the dinner that honors cutting-edge educators in Tech
Valley,” said Ann Wendth, senior
vice president of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and lead
organizer of the Summit. “As a
former teacher and school principal, she understands the educational
environment, and at the same time, her company is using technology to help
prepare students for the future.”

During the awards event, three
teachers representing an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school,
will be honored. The teachers will also receive funding to attend a national
professional conference.

A panel of judges is continuing to
determine who will win the award this year among educators in the 18-county
Tech Valley region, based on their contributions and innovation in teaching in
the fields of math, science, or technology.

The summit, which is organized by
the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be held May 5 and May 6
at the Empire State
Plaza Convention Center.

The Sadlers' son, Benjamin, is a first-year student at Union.

Sadler and her company were
profiled in a recent “Newsmakers” (“The Universe in a Duffel Bag”) in the Union College magazine: http://www.union.edu/N/DS/s.php?s=4362.

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Schenectady High takes title in chemistry contest

Posted on Mar 29, 2004

At the Langmuir Chemistry Contest

Schenectady High School took top honors on Friday, April 2, at the second annual Langmuir Chemistry Laboratory Competition, an event designed
to expose students in Regents-level chemistry courses to the excitement of
doing chemistry.

South Colonie took second place in the contest in which 40 students from 10 Capital Region high schools became pollution investigators for the fictional town of Willow Creek.

Other participating schools were Ballston Spa, Guilderland, Hoosic Valley, Mechanicville, Mohanasen, Saratoga Springs, Shaker and Stillwater.

The students used their
laboratory skills to solve the make-believe case, using real samples they tested
to determine which business or industry in Willow Creek was the culprit. Teams determined that the pollution originated from a bee apiary in the town.

students used Union's laboratories and a variety of
chemistry analytical techniques. They were assisted by Union College chemistry students.

The Irving Langmuir Chemistry
Laboratory Competition was organized by Union's
chemistry department with support from Albany Molecular Research Inc., GE
Global Research Center, and Schenectady International Inc.

This year's program was developed
by Joanne Kehlbeck, assistant professor of
chemistry, and a number of local and retired high school science teachers.

“The Langmuir competition is
designed as a fun way to get the high school students to make creative use of
some of the things they have been learning in their Regents chemistry courses,”
said Kehlbeck. “At the same time, this is a great way to introduce them to the fun of doing chemistry at the college level.”

Irving Langmuir, a GE research
chemist who taught at Union, was the first industrial
chemist to win the Nobel Prize. His discoveries included the gas-filled
incandescent light bulb, atomic hydrogen welding and cloud seeding. Langmuir
was the inspiration for Dr. Felix Hoenikker, the central character in Kurt
Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, in which the
scientist developed “Ice-Nine” that turned water into a solid.

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Admissions dean is ‘humbled and exhilarated’ by essays

Posted on Mar 26, 2004

I Laugh, I Cry, I'd Love To Admit Them All

By Kelly Herrington, associate dean of admissions, Union College

From The Washington Post
Sunday, March 28, 2004; Page B04

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — They tell me their greatest accomplishments. They discuss their life goals. They say who inspires them. They address their weaknesses. They make me laugh. They cause me to shed a few tears. And they consistently evoke my admiration.

I am not their parent. I am not their teacher. I am not their coach, sibling, grandparent, best friend or religious leader. I am a college admissions officer, and “they” are my applicants.

I know that for thousands of them the mystery of selective admissions provokes immense anxiety. But they should rest assured that their files are being read by admissions counselors who are both humbled and exhilarated by what they find inside. Every winter, when I sit for hours at a stretch at the small desk in my apartment reading the applications, I find myself entering a world of hope, hard work, resiliency, accomplishment and promise.

I learn about students like Sarah, whose college counselor describes her as a combination of “Jane Goodall, Mother Theresa, Diane Sawyer and Jodie Foster.” I'm intrigued by essays from students like Matt, who begins, “The person I admire most in life is a convicted felon.” (The felon turns out to be an international human rights advocate, and Matt's ultimate goal is to become a human rights lawyer.) I review college interview reports that describe students like Dave explaining how their classroom experiences have been “transformed” by teachers who “dress up as Einstein to make physics cool.” I smile when students like John send articles about contests they have won. “The six hundred crazed students crammed into the gym were incredibly loud,” John explains. “The training was endless, but the war would be decided in an instant. I vied for the crowd's undivided attention and nothing would stand in my way. In two short minutes I stood up and proclaimed victory. I won East High School's Pie Eating Contest.”

“Reading season,” as that time of year is called, allows those of us in college admissions access not only to outstanding students, but also to altruistic, artistic, athletic, ambitious and downright zany young men and women. We spend our days with students, teachers, communities and families at their best.

If only it would last. But reading season culminates inevitably in “decision time.” The delight I have just found in students and educators quickly evaporates. Parents force their children to make last-minute visits to campuses before deposit deadlines. Principals proudly tout the numbers of their students who were admitted to select institutions, thereby devaluing the rest. Admissions deans rave to their trustees about the increased SAT averages in the admitted applicant pool, yet gloss over the creativity, leadership and commitments to community service unmeasured by standardized test scores. Journalists run articles about the stress related to making “one of life's most important decisions.”

It is at this time of year, in the dreaded month of April, that I long to return to the cocoon of my apartment. And I want to invite the world to join me there. I would like the panicked parents, the sensationalizing reporters, the worried students and the SAT-obsessed admissions deans to sit down and read the applications of the students I have spent several months admiring.

Oh, I know that in the competitive college marketplace, where the supply of talented applicants far exceeds openings, the students I must reject will often include some of my favorites. But I would like others who have a stake in the process to understand that, whatever the outcome, the work ethic, kindness and, yes, creative craziness these students have already shown will continue in college and for the rest of their lives.

Keep that in mind this spring and, if you know a few college-bound seniors, please congratulate them not on where they are headed in the fall, but on what they have accomplished so far and will undoubtedly achieve in the future.

Author's e-mail:

Kelly Herrington is associate dean of admissions at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He has been reading about 1,000 college applications a year for the past six years.

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