Yonkers Public Schools and SLC Center for the Urban River at Beczak present STEM environmental studies after school program

Fifteen seventh graders and two teachers from each of six Yonkers public schools are participating in a nine-week afterschool STEM environmental program at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) on the Hudson River, and on the College’s campus.

The program, running weekly from January 27 through the week of April 21, focuses on inquiry-based science, scientific research, math skills and research writing and includes interactive activities.

An “Ask-a-Scientist” component of the program will provide participants with an opportunity to question SLC faculty in a variety of scientific fields about what it is like to be a scientist. “Often kids don’t get to see the human endeavor, which is at the heart of scientific investigation. This will give them a glimpse of the people who actually do the work,” said Kanwal Singh, a physicist, and associate dean of the College.

The seventh graders were selected by their teachers on the basis of their interest in science. About half of the 90 students participating in the program will have an opportunity to continue their work in a week-long, summer science research writing seminar through an application process

The Yonkers schools selected for the program by the district are Enrico Fermi School, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Microsociety School, Scholastic Academy, Yonkers Middle High School, Cross Hill Academy, and Robert C. Dodson School.

Julie Verville, Assistant Director, Science Education and the Arts, noted that the program supports the ELA Common Core Standards that emphasize writing of nonfiction texts such as research findings, as well as the forthcoming Next Generation Science Standards. “This program offers the perfect integration of expository writing and inquiry-based, hands-on science, and prepares students for college and career readiness.” she said. Sarah Lawrence College is known internationally for the excellence of its writing program and for writing across the curriculum.

The STEM after-school and summer science writing programs build upon many years of involving Yonkers high school students in SLC’s annual summer science research program in biology, chemistry, physics, robotics, and computer science.

Ryan Palmer, director of CURB, said, “This special program is a perfect example of the synergy the partnership between Sarah Lawrence College and the Hudson River Valley Environmental Education Institute created in establishing the Center for the Urban River. We thank Yonkers Public Schools for the opportunity to demonstrate the educational advantages of this alliance.”