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Academy Expands NYC Science Education Initiative with Lead Funding from Infosys and Goldman Sachs

New York area graduate students and postdoc members of the Academy will provide afterschool science mentoring to underserved students.

Published July 07, 2010

Having enrolled nearly 1,000 New York-area science and math teachers in its NYAS Science Teachers Program within the past year, the New York Academy of Sciences today announces plans to expand its New York City Science Education Initiative to provide underserved students in the five boroughs with afterschool science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) mentoring from Academy members.

The NYAS Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), will match graduate student members of the Academy’s Science Alliance with afterschool programs in New York City. The program will address the dearth of access to hands-on science for underserved communities by delivering new and engaging curricula to afterschool students.

The new afterschool program will exist under the umbrella of the New York City Science Education Initiative alongside the NYAS Science Teachers Program, which was designed to build a community of science educators and connect educators and their students to scientists and their research. The teachers program provides sponsored memberships to the Academy for teachers with free admission to education events and other Academy meetings; the chance to learn about the latest groundbreaking research from scientists; and an online portal that includes a continually updated calendar of science education events in the city and a social networking platform.

The Academy’s newly-appointed K-12 Science Education Initiative Manager, Meghan Groome, PhD, will coordinate both programs. Leading the Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program, Dr. Groome will coordinate graduate students and curriculum partners—including Cornell University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and FIRST—to develop lessons that bolster fundamental science education. Under her guidance, the Academy will also foster mentoring relationships between a diverse group of enthusiastic young New York area researchers and the city’s next generation of science and technology innovators.

“New York City is home to a large community of working scientists and abundant scientific resources including nine major science research institutions and 25 National Medal of Science recipients—more than any region in the US. And yet, New York City public school children lag by most measures of scientific literacy,” said Dr. Groome, who holds a PhD from Teachers College Columbia University and most recently conducted research and analysis on local, state, and national science education reform for the American Museum of Natural History.

“The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress ranked New York City’s 4th and 8th grade students 20 or more percentage points below the national average in scientific achievement,” Dr. Groome added. “Through its long-established, deep-rooted relationships with the scientific community and its strong partnerships with New York’s institutions of learning, the New York Academy of Sciences is in a position to remedy this crisis.”

Dr. Groome will manage the New York City Science Education Initiative in consultation with an Honorary Committee that includes:
Russell Carson, Chairman of the Endowment for Inner-City Education, a Director of the Partnership for New York City, and Co-Chairman of the New York City Investment Fund
Dean Kamen, Founder DEKA Research and FIRST
Herb Kayden, Professor Emeritus of Medicine/Clinical Professor, New York University
General Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State
Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO, Verizon
Ashok Vemuri, Executive Council Member, Infosys Technologies Ltd.
Dennis Walcott, NYC Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development
Paul Walker, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
Iris Weinshall, Vice Chancellor, City University of New York
Anthony Welters, Executive Vice President, UnitedHealth Group

“For students and teachers in New York City, this initiative is sure to create access to top-quality science education and build understanding and enthusiasm about science and math at a time when science literacy could not be more important,” said Honorary Committee member and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott.

Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, added, “This new program is sure to strengthen our ability to provide high-quality afterschool programs throughout the City. The Academy’s thorough knowledge of STEM education will be an asset to our technical assistance portfolio and a great resource for our community-based partners. On behalf of everyone at DYCD, I am proud to welcome this partnership into our portfolio. Working together, I know we will have great success bringing a new level of science education to the youth of New York City.”

Leading funders of the New York City Science Education Initiative include the Infosys USA Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, and Drs. Gabrielle Reem and Herb Kayden. Other major supporters include Verizon Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, Thomas and Pamela Jackson, Laurie Landeau, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Speaking on the Infosys USA Foundation’s grant to this initiative, Ashok Vemuri, Executive Council Member, Infosys Technologies Limited, said, “As an organization, Infosys has always laid emphasis on encouraging interest among students and researchers in science and technology, through the Infosys Science Foundation and the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award. As the Infosys USA Foundation evaluated programs for its first grant, this initiative stood out with the unique way it aims at providing underserved children exposure to science and technology. We are pleased to be associated with this program which will enable these communities to develop a strong foundation in science.”

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. With close to 24,000 members in 140 countries, NYAS is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. NYAS' core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large.

The Academy has a long history of promoting science education in New York City and beyond. In 1948, the Academy launched the first Science and Technology Exposition, NYC’s high school science fair. In recent history, the Academy also administered a program that placed high school students in laboratories to perform hands-on work with scientists. Today, the Academy’s New York City Science Education Initiative aims to bring New York’s scientific capacity to bear on the needs of New York City schools.

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About the Department of Youth and Community Development
The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was created in 1996 to provide the City of New York with high-quality youth and family programming. DYCD’s central task is administering available City, state, and federal funds to effective community-based organizations. DYCD’s Beacon programs are collaborative, school-based community centers designed to provide quality services to youth and adults after school, in the evenings, and on weekends. Beacons were introduced in response to widespread concern about crime and drugs in New York City during the early 1990s. There are currently 80 Beacon sites, 15 of which also host Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) foster care prevention programs. Together, these programs serve more than 96,000 participants annually. The programs are operated by 44 community-based organizations. In September 2005, DYCD launched the Out-of-School Time (OST) initiative to provide a mix of academic, recreational, and cultural activities for young people after school, on holidays, and during the summer. Today, the OST system consists of 504 programs citywide, all of which are provided at no cost to participants. The programs are operated by 164 community-based organizations and located in schools, community centers, settlement houses, religious centers, cultural organizations, libraries, and public housing and Parks facilities. This year, OST has served over 74,000 young people citywide.