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The New York Academy of Sciences Named Finalist in STEM Education Competition

Mentoring program recognized for democratizing science education.

Published November 10, 2011

NEW YORK, October 27, 2011-The Academy is pleased to be recognized as a finalist for a Special Focus Prize for democratizing science education in the U.S., sponsored by the Jhumki Basu Foundation. The special focus prize is part of a competition centered on efforts to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning, hosted by Ashoka's Changemakers, in partnership with Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) and The Opportunity Equation.

The Academy was recognized for its STEM Mentoring Program, which recruits, trains, and supports young scientists, placing them in educationally underserved schools and afterschool programs where they can interact with and inspire students. Through this program, students get to experience science as it really is-intriguing, hands-on, filled with questions-at a critical time in their identity development and school choices. The mentors also receive valuable skills-teaching, mentoring, and an understanding of student needs-with the goal of cementing their sense of professional responsibility to the next generation of citizens.

"Since the STEM Mentoring program started in fall of 2010, the Academy has received a flood of applications from young scientists who feel it is their professional obligation to directly and positively impact the course of STEM education in this country. All of the negative press around the state of education in the U.S. can feel overwhelming to many young scientists and participating in our programs helps them understand that they too can be part of the solution," says Meghan Groome, director of the Academy's Education Initiative.

The Special Focus Prize is sponsored by the Jhumki Basu Foundation, which honors the memory of Professor Jhumki Basu, who believed that the most effective way to engage students in science is to partner with them and give them a voice in what they learn and how they learn. Basu was committed to bringing high-quality science education to children from low-income minority backgrounds. For Groome, being a finalist for the Special Focus Prize is both an honor and bittersweet. "I was lucky enough to attend graduate school with Jhumki and her work made an enormous impact not only on my research but on the way I viewed the world."

Two Special Focus Prize finalists will be named winners on November 15. Each winner will receive $10,000 to support their efforts of spreading STEM education.

The Academy will further extend its ability to impact STEM education by participating in CCNY's newly created Partnering for Excellence community. CCNY was one of the initial funders for the Academy's Afterschool STEM Education Program, providing a seed grant to help launch the program. The Academy, through this now-successful program, will join CCNY and other prestigious organizations in effecting widespread STEM education innovation.

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 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's 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. Please visit us online at