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Rochester Roots: Empower citizens and communities, starting with youth, to create agency for their own sustainable wellbeing.




Sustainability Education & Entrepreneurship (SEE) Event
9:00 am09:00

Sustainability Education & Entrepreneurship (SEE) Event

  • Rochester Museum & Science Center
There is a great need to provide youth with opportunities to experience self-determination; to develop a growth mindset; and to build job skills and exposure to alternative career paths - all in a safe place where they can team with peers, teachers, college students and professors, business people, and experts - and to take an active part in producing something positive for themselves and their community.
— Jan McDonald, Executive Director



Judged Competition, Student Entrepreneur Exhibits and Student Product Sales are free and open to the public. 


SEE Community and Professional Learning Lecture Series is $20 per person and features lectures and presentations by Jan McDonald, Don Sweet, Thomas P. Seager, Monica Smith, John Erhart, and our featured guest lecturer, Ben Sawyer. 

Pre-register by credit card by clicking on ADD TO CART link below. Walk-ins welcome.

See below for additional details and schedule. Address inquiries about professional development credit to

SEE Community & Professional Lecture Series Registration
from 20.00

12:30PM-5:00PM - Lecture Series featuring: Jan McDonald, Don Sweet, Thomas P. Seager, Monica Smith, John Erhart and Ben Sawyer.

Add To Cart



Recycled Blue Jean Paper baskets and Seed Pods


RCSD's Montessori Academy 3rd-6th students will present their Bringing Science to Life (BSTL) entrepreneur business prototypes to a panel of national judges. The ROOTS’ BSTL after school program offers student's the ability to develop businesses supported by college engineers, professors, business mentors and experts. The students will present their product, knowledge and outcomes through a poster and demonstration. Criteria for judging are based on their critical thinking and sustainability decision-making skill in addressing seven wellbeing indexes, 1) Financial, 2), Employment, 3) Education, 4) Health, 5) Ecosystem, 6) Public Safety, and 7) Sense of Community. 

The competitors are:


  • Ronan Eckle-MonroeTwine Expertise, Learn how to use Twine to develop a decision-making story

  • Subash Rai - My Future Self TM Game: Life-course decision-making

  • Rusquel Ramirez - Plant Racer TM Game, Learn about plant growing dynamics

  • Areana Soto - Farm Market Rodeo TM Game, Teaches life cycle of a farm from seed to market


  • Setr Multhana - Flowers = Happiness TMHeirloom flower plants and flower earrings
  • Ana Baurouth & Ryan Gregorie, The Balm! TM Lip Balm

  • Jaslyn Branch & Quentin Nowden, Worm Composting Bin, Recycles plant and paper waste into compost

  • Rachel Gregorie, Yah’Tiara Wilson-Lewis, Khiara Baldwin, Peacemakers Papermakers TM, Made from Recycled Blue Jean Linters

  • Blythe Fisher, Bunny Girl Raised Beds TM, Designed for adaptability and ease of movement

  • Dominic Dyer, Invention Creation Center TM, Helping others with their entrepreneur businesses


  • ECOSYSTEM: Sarah Brownell, Lecturer, Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT
  • EDUCATION: Walter Huebscher, Head of School, Montessori School of Rochester
  • FINANCIAL: Ira S. Miller, Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
  • PUBLIC SAFETY: Thomas P. Seager, Associate Professor, Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University
  • SENSE OF COMMUNITY: Jennifer Sertl, President, Agility3R, Executive Coach, Speaker, Author
  • HEALTH: Dr. Peter Simon, Medical Director at Rhode Island Department of Health, Retired
  • EMPLOYMENT: Michael Crowley, Research professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at RIT


Stand On My Own Two Feet Squared Entrepreneur Learning Garden, May 2016


From many of the 90 RCSD Montessori Academy students building the youth entrepreneurs Stand On My Own Two Feet Squared (SOMOTFS) learning garden project. They will present their research and entrepreneur business concepts through a PhD-style poster. The SOMOTFS project is a yearlong project in which students participate in the research, design and build of a new 75 raised bed learning garden being built on the RCSD's Montessori Academy school grounds. Through this project student’s self-determine a 2’ x 2’ square garden within a 4’ x 4’ raised bed. All students are provided with a $5 seed budget, start seedlings in the classroom horticulture laboratory and are challenged to develop an entrepreneur business concept that generates income from the sale of their produce, value-added product or service. 

Examples of the 90 student entrepreneur businesses in development: 

  • Bunches of Blueberries, If you're feeling berry blue, my berries promise to cheer you
  • Livi’s Tomatoes, Naturally grown without chemicals or artificial plant fertilizers
  • Be-Rock Burdock, Be in love with my burdock and be in love with your health
  • Zooming Zucchini Jam, Sweet & Sassy
  • Flying Saucers Herbal Tea, Tea that is out of this world

RIT Multidisciplinary Senior Design Team Engineered Systems:

  • Robo-Composter, Grinds paper, plant and food waste and activates composting process
  • Stackable Seed Starter Laboratory, Controlled horticulture test lab

Robo-Composter prototype inspired by JJ Buffum and Subash Rai featured at Imagine RIT

Thomas Seager teaches Quentin about System Dynamics Modeling


These learning lectures will provide a deep learning context for the community and professionals.

The presenters are:

  • Overview of SEE Programs & Judged Competition Winners. Jan McDonald, Executive Director, Rochester Roots, Inc.
  • Systems Education: Influence Models, Games, and Ideas to Help Parents and Students Identify with College Students. Thomas P. Seager, Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; Associate Faculty, Arizona State University
  • Model-Based Inquiry & Entrepreneurism. Don Sweet, CEO Sustainable Intelligence
  • Human Development: Intersection Between Children, Adults and the Learning Environment. Monica Sullivan-Smith, MS Ed, AMI-Montessori Teacher Deputy and John F. Erhart, MD, Executive Director, Montessori Intervention


- Featured Guest Lecturer -

Ben Sawyer, Digitalmill

Ben Sawyer, Game Designer


Two game lectures for parents, educators and community with Ben Sawyer, Co-Founder Digitalmill, a Nationally recognized developer of Serious Games for Health and manager of ROOTS student SEE games.

Ben will be presenting:

  • From Videogames to Science, Careers, and The Bigger World: See how a young people's love of videogames can turn into more than fights over screen time.
  • Building Videogames for Science and More:  Learn how videogames are being developed with, and for science and education.




9:00 - 12:00  SEE Judged Competition, Student Poster Session and Product Sales and Demonstrations. Montessori Academy Students

12:00 – 12:30  Lunch Break

12:30 – 1:00  Welcome and overview of ROOTS programs. Student competition winners announced. Jan McDonald, Executive Director, Rochester Roots, Inc. 

1:00 – 1:30  An approach to systems education, influence models, games, and ideas to help parents and students identify with college students. Tom Seager, Arizona State University                                                                                          

1:30 – 2:00   Model-based inquiry & entrepreneurship. Don Sweet, Sustainable Intelligence, LLC

2:00 – 2:20   Human Development: Intersection Between Children, Adults and the Living Environment. Monica Sullivan-Smith, MS Ed, AMI-Montessori Teacher Deputy & John F. Erhart, MD, Montessori Intervention Programs

2:20 – 2:40   Student Poster Session, Product Sales & Break

2:40 – 3:40   From Videogames to Science, Careers and The Bigger World. Ben Sawyer, Digitalmill

3:40 – 4:00   Break

4:00 – 5:00   Building Videogames for Science and More. Ben Sawyer, Digitalmill 


The SEE game development is funded through the generous support of the Farash Foundation and managed by Ben Sawyer, Co-Founder of Digitalmill.

The SEE event is funded through the generous support of the USDA/NIFA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants program awarded to Rochester Roots in 2015-2018.

3D award portraits provided by Solidiphy.



Jan McDonald, Executive Director

(585) 802-0843