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Middle schoolers tour TEC-SMART as part of TWC's Connect a Million Minds

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Albany/HV: Middle schoolers tour TEC-SMART as part of TWC's Connect a Million Minds
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Capital Region middle schoolers tour the TEC-SMART campus in Malta as part of Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds program. The tour provided students with a hands-on experience geared toward science, technology, engineering and math. YNN's Sabina Kuriakose reports.

MALTA, N.Y. -- Photovoltaic. Geothermal. Bet these are words you never even heard of in junior high. But these middle schoolers from Ballston Spa and Burnt Hills are getting hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology.

"I love it," said eighth grader Marley Amico. "I think it's so cool that we can learn all about the new places that technology is going, the new things we can do with technology, what we as kids our ages can do to help technology and improve it, make it greener."

Where many kids dread science and math lessons, you can actually hear the excitement in eighth grader Marley Amico's voice, and that's the point. She's one of about 100 students touring Hudson Valley Community College's TEC-SMART center and learning about the jobs of the future. It's all part of Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds initiative that aims to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM.

TWC Albany Regional VP of Operations John Quigly said, "The students of today are the workforce of tomorrow, and that 80 percent of the jobs are going to require science and math skills. So it's really important for us to invest in the community and invest in the students that are going to have an impact on the jobs in this particular area."

Senator Roy McDonald said, "Saratoga County, the Capital Region have become part of the future for our young people. They can stay here and get great jobs, and we want to train them to get those jobs."

And the trick, according to educators here, is to expose kids early on to the possibilities that lie ahead for them.

They're sparked. They're young sponges waiting to absorb it all in," said Ballston Spa teacher Catrina Kohl.

For Marley and her classmates, the spark is definitely lit, and the doors are now wide open.

"This is more of an experience than just sitting down and reading about it," said Ballston Spa eighth grader Mark Camilli. "This is hands-on, seeing things and experiencing things."

"I think this is a thing that both boys and girls can do, and this is finally something that girls can be like, oh look, you know, I can do this just as well as you can, I can make a car as efficient as you can, I have new different ideas just like you do," said Marley.

This tour wrapped up Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds week which saw kids from all over the northeast get a chance to engage in activities just like this one.

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