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SEISMIC: The Science Mindset Collaborative

SEISMIC: The Science Mindset Collaborative

Monday, August 1, 2016 - Friday, August 5, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences


SEISMIC is a 5-day program designed for high school students with a passion for science. Students will work under the guidance of real-life scientists to develop unique ideas that address problems within their own communities. Through this process, they will gain valuable leadership, communication, and project planning skills, and be exposed to a breadth of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math)-related careers.

During the SEISMIC program, students will develop an idea of their own to address a problem in their community. Under the guidance of scientists, they will participate in a range of hands-on sessions to expand their skills in multiple areas, including:

  • Resume development for college applications, emphasizing leadership on projects outside the classroom
  • Mentorship under the direction of real scientists
  • Communication, public speaking, and critical thinking skills
  • Hands-on experiments at real scientific laboratories such as the Cold Spring Harbor Lab on Long Island, NY

To Register

Parents and/or guardians may register a student by clicking on the "Register Now" button above, or by calling our Customer Service Department at 212.298.8640 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm). The fee for the SEISMIC program is $999.

Here's what you need to know

Dates: Monday, August 1 – Friday, August 5, 2016

Location: The New York Academy of Sciences, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor, New York, NY 10007

Cost: $999 (Lunch is included)


Who is eligible?

To be eligible, students must be entering the 10th, 11th or 12th grade in fall 2016.

How do I register my teen for the program?

Parents and/or guardians may register the student. Upon confirmation of payment, the parent/guardian will receive an email from the Academy, which details the next steps, which are:

  1. Parent and/or guardian signs a permission slip permitting the student to attend the program.
  2. Parent and/or guardian provides student's email address.
  3. Student submits a short project idea.

How many students can attend?

There is room for up to 60 students in the Summer 2016 SEISMIC program.

When is the deadline for registration?

Registrations accepted until the program is full or July 15th, 2016.

Are housing or travel costs included in the cost?

No; students will need to cover these costs.

Is there a dress code?

No, although students should aim to wear clothes that permit easy movement for activities.

General questions about the program that aren't answered here?

Call our Customer Service Department at 212.298.8640 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm) or email your question to with the word "SEISMIC" in the subject line.

At the end of the program, students receive a certificate of completion, are ready to implement the project in their community, and have a unique experience to add to their college application!

Session Descriptions

Collaborative Competition: The SEISMIC Mindset – Participants will work together to complete a group task that requires them to establish a team unit, improve their processes and response time, consult one another to approach the problem strategically, and come up with creative solutions to overcome difficulties added by the Instructor during the process.

Leadership Now – Participants will learn about what makes a good leader and what is involved in being a leader in the STEM world, with exposure to real world examples of teenagers who are STEM leaders. Furthermore, they will assess their own current leadership abilities and set a plan to develop and improve their leadership skills.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) & Project Planning – Participants will be introduced to the concept of a PLC, the ways in which having a PLC can help them achieve their goals while drafting an action plan and timeline for their big idea.

Literature Review: Formulating a Research Agenda – Using the outline crafted from the PLCs & Project Planning session earlier in the day, participants will determine their target area of research by brainstorming research questions they can answer via web research. They will then separate to complete as much useful research as possible in the allotted time to help them flesh out their project planning proposal.

Project Planning – Participants continue to use the principles of the PLC in order to complete their project planning, which will help shape their ideas and make them think critically about logical steps forward for their big ideas.

Peer Review – Participants will exchange information on their project proposals, which will then be constructively critiqued by their partners. Participants will analyze peer review feedback data, determining which is relevant and prioritizing changes and next steps to further hone their big ideas.

Project Presentations – Participants will present their PLC Action Timeline and their project proposals to a panel of experts made up of real-life scientists. The panel will then critique the presentations and their content, helping each group determine and hone their plan for next steps. Upon conclusion, the groups will receive their certificates of completion in a wrap-up ceremony.

City Growers Farm Explore – Students will learn about all the natural processes that occur on a green roof farm. Farm Explore provides a great introduction to urban agriculture, allowing students to witness a sustainable, working farm in action. Students will engage in hands-on lessons about where food comes from, plant science, composting, honey bees, and chickens. While specific activities change from season to season, Farm Explore lessons are structured around a comprehensive tour of Brooklyn Grange.

Course Instructors

Antonia Florio, PhD

St. Francis College, Brooklyn

Antonia Florio will be helping to implement the Science Mindset Collaborative (SEISMIC) 2016 workshop for the New York Academy of Sciences. Antonia's background is in research, having received a PhD in Comparative Biology from the American Museum of Natural History. During her graduate studies, Antonia researched the processes leading to chameleon diversification in Madagascar, and described several new species. Since this time, Antonia has also become a dedicated science educator because she's found that a great way to conserve the animals she loves is to teach people why those animals are awesome. This has included successfully managing and expanding education programs such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Urban Barcode Project, which allowed hundreds of NYC high school students to complete DNA barcoding research projects to identify species. Antonia earned her BS in Biology from the Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York (CUNY). She is currently a Lecturer in the Biology Department at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

Nathan Leigh, PhD

Nathan Leigh will be working as an instructor at the Science Mindset Collaborative (SEISMIC) 2016 workshop for the New York Academy of Sciences. Nathan is an active researcher in the field of theoretical astrophysics, having received his PhD from McMaster University in Canada in 2011. Since then, he has continued his research into gravitational dynamics through a number of prestigious international fellowships, including an European Space Agency Research Fellowship, a Canadian National Fellowship and, most recently, the Kabfleisch Fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History. Nathan studies high energy gravity in dense stellar environments, such as the nuclei of galaxies harboring super-massive black holes. These interactions can lead to all kinds of exotic astrophysics, including direct collisions between stars, the consumption of stars by massive black holes and the formation hypervelocity stars moving at speeds of up to 1000 miles per second.

Nicole Mihnovets

Nicole Mihnovets will be an instructor at the Science Mindset Collaborative (SEISMIC) 2016 workshop for the New York Academy of Sciences. Nicole is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. She uses genetic methods to investigate conservation concerns regarding population connectivity, relatedness, and fitness in the endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schuainslandi). She conducted her laboratory work at the American Museum of Natural History, and collaborated with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to monitor seals on a small island in the middle of the Papahānaumokuā Marine National Monument. Nicole is as passionate about piquing scientific curiosity through education and mentorship as she is about using science to inform conservation policy and management decisions. She taught at MS-88 in Brooklyn as a National Science Foundation GK-12 fellow in Columbia University's Learning through Ecology and Environmental Field Studies (LEEFS) Program. She is currently a Kluge fellow and Graduate Student Mentor with the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program.

Patti Murphy

Patti Murphy will be an instructor at the Science Mindset Collaborative (SEISMIC 2016) workshop for the New York Academy of Sciences. Patti is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. Her primary interest is nerve regeneration. Before beginning her graduate work, Patti conducted research at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she earned her BS in Biology in 2013. Her early work focused on understanding factors that inhibit nerve regeneration after injury and developing a viral therapy to override this inhibition. As a graduate student, Patti has developed scaffolds for nerve regeneration made entirely of living cells, and she is currently investigating genetic mechanisms of motor nerve regeneration in zebrafish. In the future, she hopes to use our basic scientific understanding of nerve regeneration to engineer cell-based therapies for nerve injury. Patti is a recipient of the Stamps Leadership Scholarship and has been appointed to NIH training grants in Developmental and Systems & Integrative Biology.


Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences

Grant Support

  • Alcoa Foundation

This workshop is supported by a scholarship grant from Alcoa Foundation.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

Directions to the Academy

Hotels Near 7 World Trade Center

Recommended partner hotel

Club Quarters, World Trade Center
140 Washington Street
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 212.577.1133

The New York Academy of Sciences is a member of the Club Quarters network, which offers significant savings on hotel reservations to member organizations. Located opposite Memorial Plaza on the south side of the World Trade Center, Club Quarters, World Trade Center is just a short walk to the Academy.

Use Club Quarters Reservation Password NYAS to reserve your discounted accommodations online.

Other nearby hotels

Conrad New York


Millenium Hilton


Marriott Financial Center


Club Quarters, Wall Street


Eurostars Wall Street Hotel


Gild Hall, Financial District


Wall Street Inn


Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park