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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Harrisites participate in Cooper Union’s STEM Summer Program

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Anthony Ciafone
Cooper Union Highschool STEM program
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The Cooper Union Albert Nerken School of Engineering offers an annual STEM summer program for all high school students. This past summer, numerous Harrisites participated in the program. 

The program consists of  different courses depending on the students’ grade levels,varying its course offering slightly each summer. The program structured for 9th and 10th grade students included a three week course focused on redesigning and creating environmentally friendly plastic designs. For 10th and 11th grade studies, students were offered a 6-week course where participants collected data for NY: they drew designs for engineering,  mycomaterials, and prototyping with extended reality, racecar research, and a robots crash course. 

Sophomore Anthony Ciafone, a summer 2023 research participant, took an Environment-Friendly Plastic Design Redesigning Plastic Recycling course. He and his teammates investigated the relationship between elongation and load for 100% recycled specimens using an Instron machine. This involved making slingshots from recycled plastic. They tested various combinations of pure and recycled plastic in slingshots. Their results showed that recycled plastic exhibited identical performance to 100% pure plastic. 

Anthony said, “I plan on pursuing the legal field…[but] even something as simple as slingshots is important in particular areas of material sciences, which made me realize the impact that the law has on shaping scientific innovation. Constructing innovative materials requires judicious and informed laws that foster creativity and make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Senior Andy Chen participated in the Maker XR program during the summer of 2022. The program was considerate of the students’ social well-being, along with their innovative development. 

Andy said, “Everyone got well acquainted in programming, prototyping and other skills which really helped our final project. We had plenty of social activities that allowed us to be creative before class started and there was even a football table that everyone played together with. I think that really helped with the synergy of the class especially since you would be in the classroom for a majority of the day.”

As for the other projects throughout the program, Andy tested virtual and extended reality apps, visited the MakerSpace Labs, observed laser-cutting and 3D-printing, and used Oculus Headsets, which were “surprisingly disorienting, confusing yet intuitive all at the same time,” said Andy. 

Andy’s participation culminated in a final project– creating an origami paper creaser and virtual reality instructions. The purpose of this project was to help younger kids with ADHD as it is more difficult to learn origami from picture instructions with this developmental disability. 

The application process included two essay questions, a general application, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher in a STEM-related field. “The application process was very straightforward and easy to navigate,” Anthony added. 

“I would strongly recommend the summer program to other students,” said Andy. “It’s a busy program, but there are field trips, hands-on activities, and the other students and TAs of the program really make the experience enjoyable and something you can really learn from.”

 

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Aastha Patel
Aastha Patel, Science & Technology Copy Editor
Aastha is a junior at Townsend Harris High School. Her favorite activity is watching horror movies at night. She also enjoys going to theme parks.
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