Rome tech firm bringing in popular speakers for conference

Former astronaut Alan Bean. Neuroscientist David Eagleman. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Rome tech company ANDRO Computational Solutions has those four lined up as keynote speakers at a week-long student conference it’s planning for this summer.

“I called it a TED conference for kids,” said Dan Kostelec, STEAM outreach coordinator for ANDRO. “What we’re doing is we’re trying to create an annual event built on STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Our concept is one cannot exist without the other.”

The undertaking — which Kostelec anticipates will cost between $450,000 and $500,000 — is called the Fibonacci Project.

“Fibonacci, back in the early 13th century, was a mathematician who discovered a branch of mathematics that describes everything,” he explained. “Everything in the universe is connected through emergent patterns. The swirl of your fingertip is the same as the swirl of the Milky Way galaxy, is the same as in a pinecone, as in a sunflower, as in a snail shell.”

The idea is to blend science and art themes through a series of all-encompassing tracks for high school seniors and juniors, and college students.

“We need serious stakeholders to step up to the challenge and work in a community-wide sense to entice youth to work, play and grow in this area and to make a positive difference to our future,” said Andy Drozd, president and chief scientist. “That simply is what the objective of what this conference is: promoting the next wave of young scholars, scientists and artists by positively motivating and enlightening them.”

They’re planning for 300 students.

Eventually, the organization hopes to create a “little village” of tech companies, college labs, art studios and galleries, cafés and even an amphitheater.

ANDRO is in the middle of fundraising for the event. Right now, funds are raised through SUNY Polytechnic Institute until ANDRO receives non-profit status.

To donate: To donate to the conference, email dkostelec@androcs.com or mail checks payable to SUNY Polytechnic Institute Foundation, P.O. Box 543, Rome, NY, 13442 (include Project Fibonacci in the memo line).

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