Nine unique STEM opportunities for Harrisites

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This fall, students entered the halls of Townsend Harris brimming with both nervous and enthusiastic energy for their newly restored in-person classes and extracurriculars. Despite being commonly known for its intensive humanities curriculum, among the returning students were members of Townsend Harris’s active clusters of STEM enthusiasts.

Even with such a diverse range of STEM clubs and class offerings such as Anatomy and Physiology and AP Computer science, many Harrisites may find that they long for more— they need to see their curriculum come alive outside of the classroom and school lab. 

The Student Union (SU) compiles a list of various STEM opportunities in their annual guide for extracurricular activities, programs, and internships, but it never hurts to search beyond the SU’s list and our school community for ways to participate in STEM programs. 

When researching programs that require applications, the best practice is to keep an open mind and cast a wide net:  Apply to a variety of programs early on, and always ready yourself for rejections. That being said, don’t be afraid to aim high and convey your passion for programs which truly speak to you— even if they seem selective. You don’t know if you will end up building robots to further your interests in engineering, or attending a lecture series about oncologists who study cancers you’ve never heard of before— and find their work unexpectedly enticing. 

Here are nine additional STEM opportunities to look into:

 

SCIENCE

Biobus Junior Scientist High School Internship 

Description: This program provides local high school students (grades 9th to 11th) with an opportunity to be mentored by experienced scientists in conducting and presenting an independent research project. In addition to this, interns are expected to take on the role of mentors working as assistant instructors in BioBus courses offered to middle school students.

Type: Research, Teaching and Tutoring

Format and Location: In-person, at the BioBase Harlem laboratory at Columbia University

Timeline:  Over the academic year or during the summer, Mondays or Tuesdays from 4:00-6:00pm

When to Apply: Applications open January 2022

Cost: None, participants are paid by the hour 

Link: Program Website 

Summer Neuroscience Program (SNP) at The Rockefeller University 

Description: This program invites NYC public-school  students to attend neuroscience lectures and discuss both existing scientific literature and current research in the field. Students are also guided in creating plans for a neuroscience experiment and dissecting a brain— all in the span of two weeks. 

Type: Lectures and Learning 

Format and Location: In-person, at The Rockefeller University 

Timeline: Summer 2022, in-person with vaccination requirement (due to change)

When to Apply: Applications open January 2022

Cost: None

Link: Program Website

Army Educational Outreach Program – High School Apprenticeships 

Description: This program provides high school students with the opportunity to apply for the opportunity to be mentored by one of the research scientists or laboratories listed here by the US Army. This year’s local opportunities include a project about animal mucous secretions based in the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center and a quantum programming and materials science project conducted at New York University. 

Type: Research  

Format and Location: In-person, hours and dates vary based on mentor 

Timeline: Summer, 5-8 weeks and at least 200 hours 

When to Apply: Applications close February 28, 2022

Cost: None, participants earn a stipend 

Link: Program Website

State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) at Columbia University 

Description: This program invites students (grades 7th to 12th) from economically disadvantaged or historically underrepresented backgrounds to further their interest in science or medicine through taking classes in topics such as Organic Chemistry, Brain and Cognitive Science, and Calculus and Statistics. Attending S-PREP also allows students to partake in SAT and PSAT prep, advising and workshops which pertain to college preparation, along with exclusive invitations to apply to the BRAINYAC and HICCC CURE research programs. 

Type: Lectures & Learning

Format and Location: Virtual 

Timeline: Summer or Academic School Year 

When to Apply: Check the program website for updates.

Cost: None

Link: Program website 

Garcia Summer Scholars Program

Description: This program is held over the summer at the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces at Stony Brook University. Students work in groups with mentors to conduct and present materials science research for a symposium that culminates the experience. The program typically takes place at Stony Brook University, but its format 

Type: Research, Lectures & Learning 

Format and Location: Check website for updates

Timeline: Monday to Friday, 7 weeks in the summer 

When to Apply: Check website for updates 

Cost: $2500 lab usage fee 

Links: Website 

 

TECHNOLOGY 

Devpost (Online Hackathons)

Description: This is an online database used to search through various ongoing hackathons— which are contests held for students interested in computer science and programming to create themed projects such as apps or websites over a limited period of time. Hackathons may focus on anything from climate justice and artificial intelligence to the creative applications of very specialized programming languages. 

When searching for Devpost hackathons to enter, be sure to verify that you are able to adhere to age requirements for participation and other guidelines included in each event listing. 

Type: Contests and Competitions, Freely accessible online resource or database

Timeline: Hackathons are held year round with varying timelines

Cost: None, monetary prizes are available for select competitions 

Kaggle 

Description: Access data science and machine tutorials, resources, and discussion boards to help you learn how to apply data science and machine learning principles. Participants can engage in online competitions surrounding the classification, prediction, and analysis of various public datasets. This may include anything from creating a model to predict the likelihood of heart failure to classifying cat meows. 

Type: Contests and Competitions, Freely accessible online resource or database

Timeline: Competitions are held year round with varying timelines

Cost: None, participants receive medals for placing in competitions or for contributing popular code snippets and discussion topics. 

Cornell Video on Demand, MIT OpenCourseWare, and edX.org

Description: These sites are perfect resources for the self-motivated at Townsend Harris to explore, among other topics, programming languages and principles which are not covered by Townsend Harris’s course offerings. This can include Python, genomic data science, and much more. 

These sites house archives of free lectures, research poster sessions, and course materials (this includes free homework!) from Cornell University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and give students the opportunity to audit college-level material for free. 

Type: Freely accessible online resource or database

Cost: None, even most of the premium courses on eDx.org can be audited for free 

Links: To start your search off:  the Video on Demand series for CS 1110, MIT OpenCourseWare, and another basic Python course from eDx.org 

Kode with Klossy 

Description: This program is open to female or non-binary students interested in learning to build an app in Swift, learning the basics of data science, or creating a website in HTML to generate a finished project by the end of the program. Students do not need prior experience in programming. 

Type: Lectures and Learning 

Timeline: Two weeks, Monday-Friday, 9AM – 3PM in the Summer

When to Apply: Check website or subscribe to newsletter for updates on application deadlines 

Cost: None 

Link: Program Website

Stay tuned for our upcoming list about opportunities to get involved in engineering, medicine, and math.

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