Who We Are

As the official K-12 outreach arm of Rensselaer, we play a unique role in providing service to the Capital Region in STEM education. Rensselaer values and practices multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches in curriculum, teaching, and outreach, emphasizing interactive learning, the generative use of technology and teamwork to involve students as active participants in their own educations. CIPCE enacts this vision in our work with K-12 students and teachers, working toward improving STEM education to help our society meet the challenges and seize the potential of the 21st century.


Paul Schoch, Ph.D


518 276 6072

Dr. Schoch is an Associate Professor in the Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has been director of CIPCE since 2010. He is the principal investigator for the CIPCE grants, which provide professional development opportunities for teachers, and research into the use of technology to improve K- 12 STEM education. Paul is a committed and innovative educator. He is very active in the FIRST® robotics programs by hosting events on campus, fundraising, mentoring and volunteering at regional and championship competitions. He teaches courses in embedded control and circuits and was part of the award winning team that implemented studio class instruction for engineering in the 1990's, was an early adopter of mobile instrumentation boards, and uses flipped teaching

Program Manager

Jordan Vener


518 276 3960

Mr. Vener is interested in designing, implementing and enhancing student-centered project learning in order to focus on fostering critical thinking and problem solving skills. He coordinates outreach activities and summer technology academies that include LEGO® Robotics, Scratch and VEX among others. He also organizes a program to place undergraduate college students in local elementary and middle schools as mentors for classroom STEM education activities and after school robotics clubs. Jordan holds a BS in Elementary Education from Florida International University, a Master's in Educational Psychology and Methodology from SUNY Albany, and Pre-K to 6 NYS Teacher Certification. He joined CIPCE in 2010 after seven years educating students in the City School District of Albany.

Project Manager for Teacher Professional Development

Tiffany Powell, Ph.D


518 276 8032

Tiffany S. Powell earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University, a MS from Hunter College and a BA from Hofstra University. Her background includes being an elementary classroom teacher for 8 years and 2 years as a Mathematics Instructional Coach for the Department of Education in New York City. She served four years as the Diversity Coordinator for the Manhattan-Ogden school district, in Manhattan, KS. During her 6 years in the Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges, she was the director of the Help Yourself Academy (STEM program for elementary students), developed several courses, became the program director for Childhood Education and earned tenure and the rank of Associate Professor. Her research focuses on STEM/STEAM professional development with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion within schools and industry. Her research interests invites opportunities to publish and conduct a host professional training workshops in the local community and abroad.

Cognitive Consultant

Sybillyn Jennings, Ph.D

Dr. Jennings coordinates the research arm of CIPCE. She is fascinated by inquiry and problem-based learning approaches to mathematics and science in an applied engineering context. She has studied learning and teaching in classrooms, labs, on-line discussions, workshops, with interactive multimedia, and through clinical interviews with children and adolescents. She has contributed to CIPCE's model of situated professional development for K-12 teachers working to connect LEGO® Robotics technologies with the Common Core standards. In her other life, she is Professor and Chair of Psychology at The Sage Colleges and directs the core general education program, WORLD (Women Owning Responsibility for Learning and Doing). Sybillyn earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara and conducted research in cognitive and social development during post-doctoral work at the University of Denver.

Founding Director

The late Lester Rubenfeld, Ph.D

Dr. Rubenfeld was a Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Rensselaer for 43 years. He was awarded the 1987 Rensselaer Distinguished Teaching Fellowship, was the recipient of the 1992 Community Service Award from the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities for his work with Capital District schools, and received the 1999 Jerome Fishbach Faculty Travel Award from Rensselaer. He conducted numerous workshops and institutes on mathematics inquiry. Sadly, Dr. Rubenfeld passed away suddenly in July 2010.