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About Sheldon Institute

About Sheldon Institute

Sheldon Institute has for nearly four decades honored the legacy of college founder Edward Austin Sheldon, who was recognized around the world as a visionary in teacher education. Originally conceived as a program for gifted and talented students nominated by their 4th through 6th grade teachers, the Sheldon Institute initially offered classes in art, biology, creative communications, electronics, industrial arts, math, and music. At its founding in 1978, students participated in two subjects per two-week session.

In the early 1980s, the format changed to an all-day, two-week program, expanding to reach youths in 2nd through 10th grades from varying backgrounds. In 2015, the Tarandi Foundation — established by the late Oswego physicians Ravindra and Manjula Shah — expanded opportunities for children from low-income families with a $50,000 gift to establish the Sheldon Institute Endowed Fund.

In summer 2018, the Richard S. Shineman Foundation provided a $1 million gift to enhance the Institute and rename it Sheldon Institute for Barbara Shineman Scholars. The Shineman Foundation's gift — given in honor of Barbara's 90th birthday and the Institute's 40th year — enabled the Institute to enhance learning experiences, grow its reach and increase access through need-based scholarships.

Today, hands-on projects in cooking, martial arts, wellness, and the arts excite the imaginations of students, reduce "summer setback" and help combat childhood obesity. For older children, such classes as computer animation, aerodynamics, robotics, renewable energy, video production and game design lead to a deeper understanding of mathematics and scientific concepts, which lays the foundation for young people to strengthen their skills in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) disciplines.

Experiences at the institute also familiarize children with the SUNY Oswego campus, and plant the seeds of thought for a future college education. 

Administration and Funding

Sheldon Institute is administered by Team Sheldon and the School of Education with generous support from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation and the Tarandi Foundation. In summer 2018, it was renamed to honor SUNY Oswego professor emerita and alumna Dr. Barbara Palmer Shineman '65, M '71, who helped establish Sheldon Institute in 1978. She personally developed its curriculum for young students and delivered teacher training for those leading the Institute's programming for decades.