Twenty-three New Rochelle students from Columbus, Trinity, Jefferson, and Ward elementary schools, Albert Leonard and Isaac E. Young middle schools and New Rochelle High School wrapped up an exciting educational opportunity last weekend at Mercy College - a four-week STEM program entitled The Saturday STEM Academy. The Academy, hosted by the college's Center for STEM Education, gave the students an opportunity to engage in hands-on STEM learning led by distinguished STEM educators over four consecutive weekends.
The Academy aims to excite participants about opportunities in STEM fields, while preparing them with the tools they need to pursue them in both college and career.
"We are extremely proud of the enthusiasm and engagement our STEM education program has elicited from students districtwide," said Trinity Elementary Principal Michael Hilderbrand. "The Mercy program has been a tremendous complement to our curriculum; a great way for them to expand their learning."
"They've become even more charged up about STEM by attending the Academy," added Dr. Tawanda Robinson, Interim Principal at IEYMS. "They learned new STEM concepts and skills and put them into practice these past four weekends, and they've loved it!"
Each session, led by Mercy College faculty or other experts in STEM fields, focused on hands-on, collaborative learning based in the scientific method. Week to week activities included smashing geodes to observe the crystals inside; understanding physics by building catapults; coding robot finches to make them dance; programming robots built of LEGO; creating models of human body systems and even performing neuroscience experiments.
"What these students experienced was incredible," said Columbus Elementary School Principal Michael Galland. "Coding, examining microbes, learning about energy and motion from college professors and folks from Westchester Children's Museum - it was a remarkable opportunity to develop skills, at such a young age, which are critical in today's collegiate and career world."
The Academy included an information session by Mercy College admissions about what it means to go to college, how to prepare for it and setting goals to get there.
The Saturday STEM Academy wrapped up on April 6 with a certificate ceremony. It will return again in the fall of 2019.