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A new program designed to spark children’s interest in careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) kicked off Thursday afternoon.

The initiative is called Buffalo Schools STEM Experience – Science Week All Year Long and is an offshoot of the first annual Buffalo Public Schools Science Week that was held last spring. The expanded program will feature a speakers bureau and city-wide reading events in collaboration with SUNY READ Aloud and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. Both activities will culminate with the second annual district Science Week from March 14 through 20, 2015.

“We’re working every day to ensure our children in Buffalo are ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to succeed because our students are our future,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown, who made the announcement Thursday afternoon at the Math, Science & Technology Preparatory School on East Delavan Avenue.

Other officials representing partners in the program included Donald A. Ogilvie, interim superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools; University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi; Eunice Lewin, a trustee of the State University of New York; Katherine Conway-Turner, president of SUNY Buffalo State; Jack Quinn, president of Erie Community College; and businessman and local developer Howard Zemsky, who is the co-chairman of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.