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CU Public School Partnerships in Science, Math and Engineering


Columbia ’s Double Discovery Center targets students at risk of not completing high school or entering college. DDC offers academic, career, college, financial aid and personal development services year-round with the goal of increasing the rate of high school graduation, college entrance and college completion.

Double Discovery Center For 40 years, this academic enrichment program has helped New York City students, particularly from communities surrounding Columbia, to graduate from high school and college at a rate significantly higher than the national average. The Talent Search Program offers academic, career, college, and high school preparation services to more than 800 middle and high school students, and young adult services. The Upward Bound Program offers career and college counseling services until graduation to more than 165 high school students.

Engineering Via Community Design The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is the only U.S. engineering school to require new students to take a learning design course that stresses community service and social responsibility. Area high school students in this program recently helped the Apollo Theatre develop and install a new computer ticketing system; designed and helped implement changes in a local playground and in a section of the Bronx Zoo to make these areas more accessible to disabled children.

Children play at Harlem’s landmark Marcus Garvey Park. A collaboration between The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Harlem community that brought together 40 junior and senior high school students to help design a playground for disabled elementary school students last year.

Columbia Kids Care Program Columbia Kids Care is an after-school learning program at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) for middle school-aged children of Columbia's support staff employees. Modeled on successful service learning initiatives for SEAS students, this program provides middle school-age students with the necessary skills to design and complete a community service project. Students learn teamwork, leadership skills, problem solving, computer technology, project planning, and presentation skills. Students make videos of their project and receive a certificate of achievement upon completion of the program.

Harlem Tutorial Program Started in 1982, HTP is a volunteer/mentoring program that works in partnership with the Life Sciences Secondary School, located in East Harlem, to provide one-to-one tutoring and serve as role models for high school students. The program is run by students in the School of Law and the School of Business.

Head Start and Early Head Start Program Started in 1992,Columbia University Head Start was founded as a partnership with General Pediatrics and the Mailman School of Public Health in 1992. Head Start provides home-based services to high-risk Latino children in Northern Manhattan. The families receive weekly home visits and center based services. Early Head Start is a relatively new initiative that operates in conjunction with two community based pediatric practices of the GPGP. The services emphasize parent-child attachment, child health and development, and adult vocational development. With support from the Mulago Foundation, Head Start and Early Head Start assist families with achieving economic self-sufficiency. Parents identify their goals and learn job readiness skills.

Hunter Program The 10-week program partners minority undergraduates from Hunter College with leading Columbia doctors and scientists for an intensive laboratory experience, designed to spur minority students to pursue careers in medicine and science. During the summer, under the guidance of the mentors, the students conduct intensive medical/scientific research. At the end of the summer, the students present their findings to P&S faculty members, students and other interested parties.

Lang Youth Medical Program Lang Youth Medical Program is a science education program at New York Presbyterian Hospital for middle school students from the local community entering the 7th grade. Participation extends through 12th grade. The program will encourage and prepare students for further education and careers in health care. On Saturdays during the school year and for four weeks during the summer, students will participate in hands-on science activities and experiments at the Hospital. Faculty and staff from the Health Science campus will work with the students and serve as mentors. There is a competitive application process for the selection of families.

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Outreach Program CU's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) outreach program brings the excitement of materials science and engineering to high school students in New York City through exciting demonstrations. The program is run through the MRSEC.

New York Schools Cosmic Particle Telescope (NYSCPT) NYSCPT program provides mentoring and educational support for middle school and high school students, offering students the opportunity to study complex astrophysics and evaluate unusual cosmic activity, such as the collapse of dying stars and the collision of black holes. This program is run through the Physics Department.

P.S. 128 Partnership The Public School 128 Partnership was the model program for the Healthy School Healthy Families Program. The PS 128 partnership began as an innovative model for elementary school health. PS 128 is one of the largest elementary schools in New York City with over 1,500 children enrolled. The partnership is a collaborative program of Columbia University General Pediatrics, the School of Public Health and the administration of Public School 128. This program uses a consult liaison model to address unmet health needs for students at this large elementary school. The partnership is guided by these objectives 1) help the school staff understand complicated medical issues and coordinate a plan to optimize learning for the child 2) communicate with the primary medical provider to understand how the medical problem affects school performance and coordinate a plan with the school staff 3) help families identify health services within the community 4) provide case management for children with ongoing complicated health issues.

Research Experience for Teachers (RET) RET enables four K-12 teachers to do research in the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) during the summer. The program is run through the MRSEC.

Science and Technology Enrichment Program (STEP) STEP provides supplemental basic education experiences to minority and economically-disadvantaged young people, giving them the opportunity for self-enrichment and the chance to acquire the skills necessary to continue their education at the college level in scientific, technical and health-related fields. This program is run through the School of Dental and Oral Surgery.

The Science Honors Program is a Saturday enrichment program in natural science and computer science for local high school students. Each year about 550 students from grades 10, 11 and 12 take courses in the physical, chemical, biological, behavioral and computing sciences. Instructors are scientists and mathematicians who are actively engaged in research at the University. The program has existed for almost half a century and grew out of the "Space Race," shortly after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik.

Linking Food and the Environment is a two-year inquiry-based science education and nutrition program for fourth through sixth grade urban children, teachers and parents. The program uses the study of food and food systems to teach the life sciences and nutrition through inquiry-based studies. The program encompasses a student curriculum that addresses many national science education standards and nutrition guidelines, a teacher component that provides education and support to teachers and a parent component that provides workshops and opportunities to assist in the classroom.

The K-12 Technology Integration Partnership is a project of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and is funded by a National Science Foundation grant, for middle and high school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers. Part of its mission is to increase the access to and integration of new technologies into the curriculum of teachers working in urban environments while deepening the science, math and engineering content knowledge of these teachers.

Service Learning in a Community Environment(SLICE) Participants, HS diploma or GED recipients mostly from low-income sections of the metropolitan area, in this Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science program develop valuable technical skills in software engineering, Web and database design, and Java programming while working on real-world projects. Participants work on real, socially oriented projects for real clients selected from the not-for-profit sector in the Columbia University area. This service-learning program involves six integrated courses, including academic and social mentoring and interaction with world-class companies. Using the Botwinick Gateway Lab, participants complete a final client-based application project that includes technical skill development, client relations techniques, measurements of project success, team-building, and problem solving. After successfully completing two classes in the first term, participants become eligible to apply for employment at Workforce Technologies, Inc (WTI), an outsource technology corporation in Harlem, NY.  Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive a Columbia University Certificate of Completion. This program is also run in collaboration with the Columbia University Employment Information Center.

State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) S-PREP is a rigorous academic program for minority and economically-disadvantaged high school students, grades 9-12, who are interested in science, medicine or related health professions. This program is run through the Office of Diversity at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Summer Research Program The primary aim of the program is to provide New York metropolitan area middle and high school science teachers with sustained hands-on experience in scientific research so they can better understand the practice of science, and better transmit to their students and fellow teachers a feeling for its practice. Each teacher spends two consecutive summers working as a laboratory research assistant under the supervision of a Columbia faculty mentor. Opportunities are available in astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, genetics, material science and engineering, medicine, microbiology, nanotechnology, physics, physiology, toxicology, and other specialties. 87% of the teachers who have participated in the program have been from New York public schools. The program keeps data on the impact of participating teachers and concludes that more students pass the New York Regents exam when after their teachers have participated in the program. 

Women in Science at Columbia University "A graduate student group has been organizing Women in Science at Columbia (WISC) since 2004. WISC is the only graduate-student run group for women in science that organizes an annual “bring-junior-high-girls-to-campus-to-learn-science day."

Chemistry High School Summer Program This four week program is a tour through the scientific world as seen through the eyes of a chemist. Through this journey, students get acquainted with the procedures and techniques mostly used by chemist in academic, clinical, and industrial environments, and also learn the theory and practice of modern chemistry as presented by faculty members from the Department of Chemistry here at Columbia University and other sister institutions.

In addition, the School of Continuing Education offers the following summer high school courses:

  • Biomedical Engineering: Physical Effects on Cells
  • Computer Graphics through Game Programming
  • Concepts in Computer Programming through Web Site Design
  • Engineering Design Via Community Service Projects
  • Engineering, Mathematics and Science
  • Explorations in Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Intensive Seminars in Modern Chemistry
  • Introduction to Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • Introduction to Physical Science
  • Introduction to Programming in C
  • Investigations in Theoretical and Experimental Physics
  • Issues in Biological Conservation
  • Survey of Modern Mathematics

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Published: Oct 03, 2005
Last modified: Oct 31, 2005

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