Science Outreach at Weill Cornell Graduate School
The Weill Cornell Graduate School (WCGS) promotes public awareness and understanding of science through science outreach initiatives. By contributing to science education and mentorship in the broader community, the WCGS students, faculty and staff help to spread enthusiasm for the STEM fields among youth in the New York City area. Over 100 student and postdoctoral volunteers are coordinated through the Tri-Institutional Outreach Committee (TOrC) to conduct science outreach in the Tri-Institutional community and beyond. WCGS and TOrC initiatives include:
Big Red STEM Day
Held on the Weill Cornell Medicine campus, Big Red STEM Day is a collaborative effort run by students, faculty and staff across Cornell campuses and the New York City Department of Education. While Cornell Tech representatives taught student attendees to create their own Pokémon GO games and SnapChat filters, graduate and undergraduate students from the Ithaca campus showed teens how to use electroplating to make a silver penny and a copper nickel. Medical and biomedical doctoral students taught them how to use staining methods to differentiate bacteria from soil, yogurt and even their mouths, and a Cornell Cooperative Extension associate engaged them in cartography and mapping activities to create their own collaborative design for a neighborhood park.
Big Red STEM Day with the Young Women’s Leadership Network
For the second Big Red STEM Day on Friday, July 14, 2017, Weill Cornell Medicine’s Division of Government & Community Affairs, the Cornell Center for Materials Research, Cornell Tech, the NYC Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Weill Cornell Graduate School partnered with the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) to provide 80 girls from their summer Explorers Camp a full day of workshops to excite them about STEM related careers and education.
Hosted at 1300 York Avenue, participants were greeted by welcome address speaker, Dr. Nicola Dell of Cornell Tech. They participated in STEM education workshops ranging from “Tell Alexa What to Do: Building Skills for the Amazon Voice-Activated Personal Assistant” to “If You Build It, They Will Come,” “Diabetes: Exploring Advances in Long-Term Glycemic Control” and “Electroplating” according to personalized schedules built from their individual preferences. Workshop facilitators and WCM graduate students facilitated meaningful conversation about STEM education and STEM careers and Dean Augustine M.K. Choi provided remarks at the commencement of the lunch hour.
Another Big Red STEM Day was held on Feb. 27, 2018 with New York City high school students.
High School Science Immersion Program
The Weill Cornell High School Science Immersion Program is 7-week program designed to offer hands on biomedical research exposure to New York High School students. High School students must complete the application by April 6th, 2018. Priority will be given to students from self-reported underrepresented minority, disadvantaged, and first-generation immigrant backgrounds. High School students will work closely with Weill Cornell Graduate School (WCGS) students and postdoctoral scholars on a scientific project in a laboratory setting at Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Mentees and mentors will be paired as closely as possible on the basis of scientific interests and will work on a biomedical research project designed by the mentor. High School students are expected to learn about the research focus of the WCGS mentor’s laboratory, have hands on experiences in assisting with experiments under the guidance of his or her mentor, and present their findings at the end of the program. Each mentor should supply the high school student with the necessary reading materials and may recommend additional reading and/or assignments for their student to do outside of the time in the laboratory. Mentee/mentor pairs should follow the basic program guidelines but have the flexibility to exceed the minimum requirements listed below. We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic, and committed high school students and mentors to provide a mutually beneficial experience for all involved. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.
Student Application Link:
Children’s Health Council Family Science Day
TOrC assists the Weill Cornell Children’s Health Council in creating a morning of science events for elementary school aged children and their families. In February of 2015, TOrC members planned and implemented a rotation of four stations for older children and two stations for younger children. Activities for older children were: Microscope/Strawberry DNA activity (Molecular Biology), Molecular Modeling (Molecular Science), Brushbots (Physics), and Slime (Chemistry). Activities for younger children were Fossils (Earth Science) and Brain Hats (Neuroscience).
Brain Awareness Activities
Neuroscience related activities are carried out in public schools throughout the boroughs of NYC (including Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan) by graduate students, post-docs, and faculty from the Tri-I volunteer network. These events are planned in collaboration with Rockefeller Outreach and involve meeting with three or four classes of students per visit. Activities include: the jelly bean taste test, touch receptor test, reaction time test, sensory perception test, memory tests, comparative neuroanatomy, and a neuron card game. Approximately 825 students in grades 3-5 participated in these activities over the seven visits in 2015, and we expect to reach 1,000 students across the NYC area in 2016.
In collaboration with Rockefeller outreach, TOrC volunteers plan and host full days of science for classes of high school students. Activities have included a STEM-themed day with different hands-on stations representing each field as well as students isolating and visualizing mitochondrial DNA. During the lunch hour, volunteers interact with students, sharing their “scientific journey,” answering questions, and discussing various career options for students interested in science. Watch the video made by Cathedral High School students at the June 2014 event: http://animoto.com/play/S8qdy2MpmwroYJP2pioGsg
Students Modeling A Research Topic (SMART) Program & Symposium
The SMART program is run globally through the Milwaukee School of Engineering and involves high school students working closely with a scientific mentor to complete a research project involving the study of a protein through its structure and function. TOrC matches volunteers to mentor teams of students throughout the winter and spring. This experience culminates in a symposium attended by the students, teachers, and family members of the NYC area high schools. Students give brief oral presentations on their research projects followed by a poster session.
Cornell Science Sampler Series
The Cornell Science Sampler Series (CSSS) is a collaboration between several of the outreach offices of Cornell's research centers and departments to provide teacher professional development in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. For more information please visit: https://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/samplerseries
Other organizations working with TOrC
Women in Science, KIPP schools regional science fair, and many local high schools