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NYSCI Celebrates Corona’s STEM Advocates at Community Appreciation Day

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The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) held its second annual Community Appreciation Day on June 13, 2018 from 3 – 6 pm. The event celebrated the educators, students, organizations and funders that partner on NYSCI Neighbors, a multifaceted initiative of creative educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The work of NYSCI Neighbors is targeted at a network of 20 elementary and middle schools located in the museum’s immediate community. Through NYSCI Neighbors, NYSCI serves as a dynamic and welcoming community hub, offering the museum as a resource to more than 5,000 children and their families, teachers and other members of the Corona, Queens community.

Community Appreciation Day included free hands-on activities for families to enjoy, a special dance performance by second grade students from P.S. 28 in Corona with the Alvin Ailey Residency, and award presentations to nine educators, business leaders and community leaders in Corona who have done exceptional work in STEM learning and with the NYSCI Neighbors initiative.

A group of foundations and corporations have provided support totaling upwards of $1 million in the 2017-2018 year for the NYSCI Neighbors initiative, including the Simons Foundation, the Kupferberg Foundation, Google, BNY Mellon, The Dassault Systemes US Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Richmond County Savings Foundation. Because of their support, more than 1,700 children from a network of 20 schools in Queens have participated in NYSCI Neighbor programs at no cost. Programs include after-school STEM enrichment camps, workshops and activities, parent engagement programs, and free entry to the museum on weekday afternoons (Monday – Thursday) throughout the school year.

At Community Appreciation Day, many of the NYSCI Neighbors programs were highlighted, including:

Science Ambassadors
Most of the families who will be in attendance during Community Appreciation Day are part of the Science Ambassadors program. This program allows more than 1,700 students from Corona, Queens, along with their parents and caregivers, to visit NYSCI for free during the school year (Monday – Thursday; 2 – 5 pm). While at the museum, students can explore NYSCI exhibits, engage in engineering challenges at Design Lab, learn new tools in workshops at Maker Space, listen to science stories, receive homework help, and learn from live science demonstrations. Activities during Science Ambassadors hours are available in both English and Spanish. Science Ambassadors is supported by the Science Sandbox initiative of the Simons Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and The Dassault Systemes US Foundation.

Parent University
This parent engagement initiative helps parents and families become empowered as active change-agents for their children’s outcomes in school and as they find their paths to future careers. Within Parent University, parents have the opportunity to learn about STEM concepts in a hands-on science center environment and grow as leaders and STEM advocates in their community. One of the core components of Parent University is Parent Ambassadors, which engages parents as learners and provides them with rich opportunities to gain the knowledge, confidence and expertise to help other parents in their community and schools become interested in STEM.

Creative Computing Academy
Two students who participated in the spring session of Creative Computing Academy displayed their final projects at Community Appreciation Day. The Creative Computing Academy, an innovative after-school program held during the 2017-2018 school year, was attended by 40 students from Corona, Queens. The students learned digital skills and explored computer science and computational thinking in a fun and creative informal learning environment. The program was supported by a $100,000 grant from Google, which funded the development and implementation of this new program. The program aims to bridge the computer science gap by igniting student interest in computer science and supporting young people from immigrant communities. In addition to the Creative Computing Academy, Google’s support also included digital learning workshops and a Community Student Showcase event that celebrated student projects and achievements. In total, more than 250 students and families participated in these activities.

Girls in Tech
Girls in Tech will engage approximately 90 young women to learn digital and entrepreneurial skills, and explore computer science. The curriculum will focus on computational thinking, app development and entrepreneurship. Supported by BNY Mellon, approximately 75 middle and high school students will participate in Girls in Tech programs. In addition, 12 – 15 female NYSCI Explainers (high school and college-aged participants of NYSCI’s Science Career Ladder) will be trained on how to deliver hands-on activities, and how to serve as role models and mentors for the young women participating in Girls in Tech. A series of community student showcase events will celebrate the projects and achievements of students participating in Girls in Tech. At Community Appreciation Day, two participants from the spring cohort of this program shared the app project that they built during the program.

NYSCI Neighbors is made possible with leadership support from Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science; and funding from BNY Mellon, The Dassault Systemes US Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Estate of Max Kupferberg, Google, the National Science Foundation, The Pumpkin Foundation / Joseph H. and Carol F. Reich, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Robin Hood Learning and Technology Fund, Sara Lee and Axel Schupf and the Lubin Family Foundation, STEM Funders Network and 100kin10.

About The New York Hall of Science

The mission of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers and active citizens through an approach called Design, Make, Play. Design, Make, Play emphasizes open-ended exploration, imaginative learning and personal relevance, resulting in deep engagement and delight in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NYSCI was founded at the 1964-65 World’s Fair and has evolved into New York’s center for interactive science.

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Mary Record, New York Hall of Science