Yonkers Middle School Students Dive into Science and Research with Help from Sarah Lawrence College

Students from middle schools in Yonkers, participating in a summer STEM enrichment program, convened at Sarah Lawrence College last Tuesday to “Ask a Scientist” their burning questions about careers in the sciences, curiosities of everyday life, or their observations of important scientific matters in the world around them and beyond.

The 150 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are participants in the Yonkers Public Schools’ “Summer Science Research Academy,” a collaboration with Sarah Lawrence College and its Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB). During the four week intensive program, students visit CURB to seine in the Hudson River and collect water sample data that they analyze for further research at Yonkers Middle High School. The students also work in the classroom with Sarah Lawrence faculty members Marek Fuchs and Linwood Lewis where they discuss and write about environmental justice issues their community. Additionally, CURB staff and the faculty members provide professional development for teachers and assistance to the students on their research projects.

A highlight of the program is the “Ask a Scientist” panel where Sarah Lawrence faculty members Drew Cressman, Kanwal Singh, Vicky Garufi, Fuchs, and Lewis shared their own experiences in science and research and the middle schoolers queried the panel whose disciplines include biology, physics, marine science, psychology, and writing. The lively Q&A gave the students an opportunity to hear from college teachers and help the middle schoolers envision their futures.

This program was initiated and supervised by Alex Servello, Yonkers Public Schools’ director of Science and Sandy Hattar, an assistant principal at Lincoln High School in the district. A student symposium on July 28 will display the students’ final projects and presentations bringing the program to a close.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.