Briefly noted in Woodstock (11/10/21)

Onteora High School graduate Ema Marter is seen preparing the cockpit for a flight.

Ulster BOCES aviation graduate takes flight

BOCES means different things to different people. For Ema Marter, who was once a young student struggling to charter a course for her future, it meant winding up behind the controls of an airplane at age 16, thanks to the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center’s Aviation program.

But how does someone with a dream of flying actually get wings so young, especially since across the aviation industry in the US, fewer than six percent of all pilots and flight engineers are women? With a father working as a commercial pilot, flying was on Marter’s radar from a young age. She started flying alone as a passenger on commercial flights at age 12 in order to visit family. Enjoying the whole flight experience, she felt excitement whenever she flew. The Ulster BOCES Aviation program was a perfect way for her to nurture her interest in flying while in high school.

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In 2013, she finished her two-year Ulster BOCES program, completing the challenging curriculum and logging the necessary flight time to receive her private pilot’s license. Fast-forward to today, when Marter has amassed nearly a decade of experience in the aviation and aerospace industries. She is currently employed as an associate program manager for the Moog, Inc. Space & Defense Group in Buffalo, where she oversees client proposals regarding missile, naval and control-system defense products. Among other responsibilities, she facilitates bids, strategic collaborations, estimates and cost reviews.

“Before I attended Ulster BOCES, I did not have much of a direction regarding what I wanted to do; but once I started flying, I had to show up to class and do my work in order to fly, and it was rewarding,” she said. The responsibility of flying a plane is “monumentous,” she said, and drastically life-changing for a high school student. “I had to pay attention, because if I didn’t, I would be putting my life in danger.”

To earn flight time towards licensing, a student must be high-performing. Aviation students train on virtual flight simulators and equipment in the classroom. Ulster BOCES partners with Richmor Aviation in Kingston to give the students time in the skies.

Marter also said that, although she wouldn’t have guessed it at the time, the technical writing portion of the Aviation program was extremely useful for the writing she does at her current job, as it was in her previous positions.

Anxieties soared before Marter’s first solo flight when she began to experience tremendous self-doubt, jet-fueled by the pressure of her upcoming license test. Unsure if she could even do it, she went to her then-BOCES aviation instructor and personal mentor, April Albanese. “Her response was super-pivotal at that point, because she reassured me in a way that no one else could,” Marter said, noting the significance of having a female teacher when the aviation industry was so male-dominated. Feeling both validated and reassured, she got back in the cockpit. She was successful with her flight and in passing her license test.

Marter went on from the Ulster BOCES Aviation program to Dutchess Community College, where she studied Aviation Science, served as the president of the Hudson Valley Aviation Club and worked as a receptionist at the flight school. She later obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University at Buffalo.

“My pilot’s license was the ultimate gift from BOCES – what I most appreciate BOCES for – and will always appreciate,” she said. “I am also grateful to BOCES for connecting me to women in the industry who are always going to be part of my life in some way.” Those women are Albanese, the Richmor Aviation flight school director Lisa Litts and classmate Angelica Dickerson, who is the current instructor of the BOCES Aviation/Drone program (drone-piloting was added to the Aviation program several years ago).

Passion for the industry is Marter’s motivation. She appreciates combining her technical and interpersonal skills and sees herself going further in business development with her current company. While her dream goal once was to venture into outer space, she has decided that there is enough on Earth to enjoy for now. She ultimately desires one day to work for herself in the aviation field.

Phoenicia Grade 2 students (clockwise, from left) Madeleine Haas, Carrie Roefs, Ximena Garcia Rosas and Abbi Lynch working with Karen Hadley (far right), a teacher on special assignment, to answer the question, “What symbol best represents the United States?” As part of their investigations, the students examined quarters and dollars, which featured the American bald eagle, among other symbols. (Valerie Havas / Ulster BOCES)

New Social Studies approach at Phoenicia, Woodstock schools

Social Studies is being taught in a new way this year at Phoenicia and Woodstock Elementary Schools. Karen Hadley, an Onteora teacher on special assignment, is helping Grade 2 and 3 classroom teachers weave Social Studies content into other subject areas, like English Language Arts (ELA), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Civics.

The inquiry process, which involves students asking questions, examining sources, making discoveries and drawing their own conclusions, is central to this new approach. “Students will be examining primary sources and evidence related to a focused question around New York State Standards-based content,” Hadley explained. “This taps into their natural curiosity to explore artifacts, maps, posters, images, musical recordings and a wide variety of other firsthand accounts of events to construct meaning.”

Guiding the approach are sample inquiries, or questions, found in the New York State Education Department’s Social Studies Resource Toolkit (https://bit.ly/SocialStudiesToolkit), which Hadley helped develop as part of a 16-member team hired by the State in 2015/16 to write inquiries for Grades K-12.

One of these inquiries recently took center stage in Allison Mitchell’s Grade 2 classroom at Phoenicia, where students investigated the question, “What symbol best represents the United States?” The students began by examining the American bald eagle, which is found on our nation’s coins and dollar bills, is part of the Presidential Seal and serves as Onteora’s official mascot. This led to conversations about how this symbol is used and what values are important to the students as citizens of the US.

Stephanie Laffin, Onteora’s assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, is pleased with the new approach, which is being piloted in Grades 2 and 3 this year, with plans to expand and integrate it in every K-6 classroom in the future. “We are excited to make Ms. Hadley’s experience and expertise available to support our K-3 instructional staff as we work to integrate instruction into Social Studies, Social and Emotional Learning, Literacy and Civic Readiness,” she said.

Christmas Shoppe at Shady United Methodist Church

The Shady United Methodist Church will hold its annual Christmas Shoppe on Saturday, November 13 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event will feature a baked-goods table with cakes, pies and cookies for sale. A light breakfast and lunch will be available. Crafts will include quilted items, wood arts, knitted, crocheted and other crafts.

The Church is located on Church Road off Route 212, about five miles west of the Woodstock Village Green. For additional information, call (845) 679-4039.

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Author Sheila Isenberg will read and sign books November 14

Thirty years after first asking the question, Why do women fall in love with convicted murderers? Sheila Isenberg answers it anew in our age of the internet, smart phones, social media, mass shootings, celebrity worship and modern prison dating. This updated edition of Women Who Love Men Who Kill is a compelling psychological study of prison passion in the new millennium, perfect for fans of true crime.

Isenberg, also the author of four biographies, will read from the new edition and sign books on Sunday, November 14, 2 p.m. at Nancy’s Ice Cream at the Bearsville Center, sponsored by the Golden Notebook. Isenberg is a member of the Authors’ Guild, PEN and Women Writing Women’s Lives, and has been interviewed by national and international media and for many documentaries.

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