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The Science Leaders of Tomorrow

At our inaugural SEISMIC and SALT programs, a passion for science unifies high school and PhD students.

Published August 15, 2016

The Science Leaders of Tomorrow

Communication and leadership aren't often on the curriculum of science programs, but recently some high school and PhD students received valuable lessons in these and other critical skills during the inaugural Science Education Mindset (SEISMIC) and Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT) programs at the New York Academy of Sciences.

During SEISMIC, high school students from across the New York City region gathered to learn how to transform a problem or need within their own community into a practical research proposal. The SEISMIC students were advised by real-life scientists while also gaining experience in skills like public speaking and critical thinking. At the end of the five days, students presented their research plans ranging from reducing food waste at high schools to bee awareness and preservation to smartphone apps for mental health.

Concurrently, as part of the SALT program, PhD students became prepared to assume leadership roles as both students today and the science leaders of tomorrow. Through team-building exercises like building towers with only straws, paper, and tape, as well as improvisation to learn the ins and outs of communication, the students left the program armed with the skills and knowledge to advance institutional transformation.

Over the course of both programs, the SEISMIC students received mentoring from the SALT participants, ranging from research plan feedback to discussions about college and career planning. Regardless of their differences, a passion for science united these students at the Academy.

Many thanks to the Alcoa Foundation for supporting scholarship grants for SEISMIC.