Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries

Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries

Igniting STEM in the Hudson Valley

Clarkson’s Beacon Institute ignites STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning for all ages. At our growing campus on Denning’s Point, you will discover robust community programming and hands-on, project-based learning opportunities for kids. Through enrichment programs like Mother Nature & Me and Hudson STEAM — just to name a few — Clarkson’s Beacon Institute provides tools to help young learners excel in STEM disciplines, leading the way toward success in school, careers and life. 

Rendering of New Building, Front Elevation

Our Growing Hudson Valley Campus:
Building a Park Campus Where Everyone is Welcome

The Beacon Institute has recently broken ground on the Beatrice G. Donofrio Environmental Education Complex at Denning’s Point. Made possible through support from the Donofrio family in memory of their mother, the park’s abandoned paper clip factory will be restored and transformed. The new space will offer modern classrooms, meeting and administrative spaces, advanced laboratory facilities for water-related research and a new Welcome Center with hands-on exhibits for park visitors — all overlooking the park and the Hudson River. Learn More

Currently, Clarkson’s Beacon Institute offers K–12 environmental and STEM education programs, public and family programs, and professional graduate programs at our locations in Beacon, NY. See our Events Calendar for details and registration information. 

 Water Ecology Center
199 Dennings Avenue, Beacon, NY, in Dennings Point State Park

Hours of Operation and Visitor Information

STEM Educational Opportunities

P–12 Environmental Programs

River of Words — River of Words (ROW) is a New York state aligned curriculum that connects school-age children to the Hudson watershed, educating them about Hudson Valley ecology and empowering them to understand and protect natural resources. ROW educators work with local classroom teachers to help students gain proficiency in English language arts (ELA) and science through nature-based workshops. Students produce writing and art pieces that transform fun ROW experiences into serious learning outcomes. ROW trains teachers to use nature as a learning laboratory. Its nature-inspired, outdoor-based programming is aligned with the New York State P-12 Learning Standards for ELA and science.

Tributary Assessment Program (TAP) — Clarkson’s Beacon Institute works with Hudson Valley area high schools to conduct tributary assessments in the Hudson River watershed. TAP is a two-day project- and place-based learning module. Students spend one day in the field using equipment to gather data and samples and one day in the lab analyzing samples, collating data and publishing results.

Professional Development for Educators — Clarkson’s Institute for STEM Education and the Beacon City School District have partnered to offer Hands-On, Minds-On: Modeling Across STEM Disciplines, a teacher training program funded by the New York State Education Department. In this Mathematics Science Partnership professional development program, Clarkson faculty train science and math teachers to use modeling effectively in their lessons.

Public and Family Programs

Child holding a crab

WOW! for Kids — This hands-on nature education program brings children face to face with live animals

Summer Programs — Summer camp programs deliver fun, science-focused learning experiences. Clarkson’s Beacon Institute collaborates with school districts in the Hudson Valley to tailor programming led by water scientists, zoologists and educators.

Walk & Talks — These informative and engaging naturalist trail walks around Denning’s Point are led by regional experts. Private, tailored tours are provided for large groups by request.

Annual Park Cleanup — This initiative is a volunteer opportunity to give back to the community and maintain the beauty of Hudson Highlands State Park, Denning’s Point State Park and Clarkson’s Water Ecology Center.

Thought Leadership & Research

Research lies at the core of Clarkson’s mission and vision and aligns with our focus on healthy world solutions.

Sustainable Solutions in New York State

CU Honors Student in lab for Summer Research Program

Clarkson, in partnership with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is leading New York state’s new Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions. This collaboration focuses on addressing complex challenges around aquatic systems and water infrastructures, and allows experts and students to deliver technology innovations and research-based solutions with local partners. The Center works with industry and government to develop early warning systems to monitor, model, predict and avoid threats to water and the natural environment. The Center also develops management best practices and ecosystem designs to improve the resilience of New York state’s water assets.

Impacting the Hudson Valley
Clarkson faculty are currently working to remedy environmental challenges that are impacting Hudson Valley communities and ecosystems. Such research projects include:

  • Providing expertise for the timely removal and effective management of invasive European Water Chestnuts in the Hudson River
  • Developing approaches to treat PFASs in groundwater, the same suite of more than 3,000 contaminants that has tainted the water in Newburgh, NY

Professional Graduate Programs

Students in classroom at Beacon InstituteMaster of Science in Engineering Management 

Clarkson University has a long-standing tradition of developing advanced engineering, manufacturing and technological skills. In conjunction with industry partners, Clarkson has designed a truly interdisciplinary program that spans the boundaries of engineering and business specifically for technically focused organizations. Our partnerships ensure that this program meets the 
demanding and evolving needs of the engineering industry.

The Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) program addresses complex management and leadership issues in technical environments. MSEM students in this blended learning, cohort-based program are immersed in an authentic learning community that leverages the combined experience of the group. The resulting collaborative environment creates sustained discourse, allowing students to apply what they have learned in real time.

IBM, Turner Construction Company, United Technologies Corporation, Urban Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers help shape the program to ensure it meets the specific needs of industry leaders now and in the future. It’s a successful formula for companies and students. As their capstone project, Clarkson MSEM students take what they’ve learned and apply it to a project developed in conjunction with their companies.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science

Demand for data science and analytics professionals in the U.S. is quickly outgrowing the supply of such talent. The number of data science and analytics job listings is expected to increase by 364,000 openings to 2,720,000 by 2020, according to a 2017 report published by IBM.  

Clarkson’s 36-credit Master of Science in Applied Data Science degree program consists of six 3-credit core graduate courses, four 3-credit graduate elective courses, and one 6-credit capstone course based on a sponsored project or internship. Students can complete the program 100% online. Additionally, online students can build part-time or full-time schedules that work for them. Part-time students generally finish the program in about two years.

While data scientists work within large data sets, the end result is more focused on technical skills, creating tools, systems and frameworks to help address theoretical situations and problems on a larger scale. Data scientists have an extensive background in statistics, computational methods and programming, enabling them to determine what approach is most appropriate for a given data set and analytical goal. 

"New York and the U.S. face a shortage of millions of STEM workers. Worldwide, water is an ever-increasing focus of research and restoration efforts. We can inspire young people to enjoy, pursue and stay in the sciences by integrating enrichment programs with real-world experiences and the arts. The next generation of STEM students and professionals is poised to make major positive impacts on water science and beyond for New York, the U.S. and the world."
Portrait of Asher Pacht, Director of Environmental Programs
Asher Pacht
Director of Environmental Programs