COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY NEUROSCIENCE OUTREACH
2nd grade students make pipe cleaner neurons
and hold them together to form a "brain."
Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach (CUNO) seeks to foster in New York City school students a lifelong interest in the brain and in science. Scientists at all training and professional levels are encouraged to bring their expertise of the brain and the extraordinary resources of the university to the wider community. At CUNO, we believe that bringing scientists to education and bringing science to children results in a rich experience that both enhances the communication ability of future scientists and improves the scientific literacy of future citizens. CUNO seeks to achieve these goals by placing graduate students and other scientists in K-12 classrooms throughout New York City to lead workshops about the brain.
For more information about volunteering, see http://blogs.cuit.columbia.edu/cuno/. CUNO has a growing list of teachers seeking volunteers to visit their classes, and new volunteers are needed! Most workshops are single visits to several classes at a school- for example, two volunteers might teach the same 1-hr lesson to all three 7th grade biology classes at a school. In addition, a new multi-visit workshop is currently being developed to work with the same class of students once a week for several weeks. New volunteers are trained and may be paired with experienced volunteers for their first classroom visit, and a bank of successful past lessons is available to all volunteers to use and modify. A highlight of our program is a collection of preserved animal brains, from frog to human, that volunteers bring into the classrooms and is always a hit with students of every age.
CoSMO is a free clinic established by Columbia University Medical Center students, that provides high quality primary healthcare to the uninsured population of Washington Heights. Within the clinic, there is an excellent opportunity for Graduate Students to get involved and work directly with patients as Health Educators. The role of Health Educator is critical in providing our community with the knowledge of preventive activities, as well as illness awareness on topics such as Diabetes, Hypertension and Hypercholesterolemia. Every new volunteer receives thorough training on an individual basis. The clinic is open every Saturday morning from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM in the UrgiCare Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
MOTT HALL SCIENCE MENTORING PROGRAM
A quality science education provides children with the tools they will need to succeed professionally and lead healthy lives. Graduate students at Columbia have enormous potential to help surrounding New York public schools motivate and inspire their students to succeed in the sciences.
The mission of this program is to help public school students learn more about the scientific process. Our Ph.D. students volunteer to mentor local 7th and 8th grade students at Mott Hall II middle school in preparation for their science fair. Volunteers each pair with a group of students working together on their science fair project, and help guide students from conception to presentation, making sure hypotheses are testable and students are thinking about all angles of their project.
Mott Hall Mentoring was established in 2004 as a collaboration between a Columbia M.D./ Ph.D. student, Stuart Weisberg, and a science teacher at Mott Hall. Since the program's inception, Mott Hall has expanded to several schools and volunteers now work with Mott Hall II in Morningside Heights.
NYAS AFTERSCHOOL STEM MENTORING PROGRAM
The program runs for 6-8 weeks every spring semester, and consists of once-weekly, hour long sessions where the mentors assist students directly in their science class at Mott Hall. Mentors are directed by the science teacher, and work towards the defined goal of helping students complete each stage of their school science fair project. The program culminates in a school-wide science fair, judged by volunteers from the Columbia scientific community. Judging of the final science fair provides an additional opportunity for Columbia students who could not commit to weekly sessions to participate in the program on a one-time basis.
In collaboration with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, the New York Academy of Sciences places graduate students in afterschool programs in New York City to address a dearth of science education support in this area. Graduate students complete workshops on pedagogy, child development and curricula and are matched with an afterschool site and instructor. Students who complete 24 hours of teaching and training will receive the New York Academy of Sciences Education Fellow Teaching Credential. For further information contact email@example.com.
STEP into Research is a component of S-PREP (the State Pre-College Enrichment Program), which seeks to introduce underrepresented high school students to biomedical research. The Office of Diversity at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons recruits Ph.D. students to serve as mentors for the Program.
As a mentor, you work with one student for 8 sessions January thru May. Sessions last at least 2 hours, and meeting times are coordinated between you and the student. Mentors receive a stipend for their efforts.
SOCIAL IMPACT PROJECTS
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, six Ph.D. students decided they would no longer remain as spectators watching the devastation on television. In the summer of 2006, these students from Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Urban Studies, Biological Sciences, and Physiology Graduate Programs flew to New Orleans to aid in the rebuilding.
Our students quickly got to work in the ravaged Lower Ninth Ward renovating a First Aid Clinic. At the clinic, they plastered walls, put up sheetrock, de-nailed old floorboards, painted and installed insulation. In addition to working at the health clinic, they also helped gut, clean, and repair the roof of a new neighborhood distribution center.
Here at the Medical Center, Ph.D. students are routinely involved in clothing and food drives, campus “green” campaigns and community volunteering. SUMMER MEDICAL and DENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (SMDEP)
The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is a six-week summer academic enrichment program here at the Medical Center that offers freshman and sophomore college students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation. The goal is to increase diversity in the medical and dental professions and provide support to students from a wide range of backgrounds who would otherwise find it difficult to prepare properly for professional school.
Ph.D. Students are routinely tapped to be Instructors for courses in biology and physics and receive a stipend for their efforts. These basic science courses are intended to teach (or reinforce) fundamental concepts in the field and to prepare the students for increased success in their home institutions.
SCIENCE MATTERS RESEARCH INTERNSHIP
The Science Matters Research Internship (SMRI) program aims to develop interest and confidence in the sciences within underrepresented and underprivileged New York City high school students. SMRI selects enthusiastic 11th grade (Junior Year) students from the NYC Minds Matter Chapter (www.mindsmatter.org), who first attend a rigorous Bio-Boot Camp where they receive lectures given by CUMC graduate students on a wide range of biological topics and are introduced to a laboratory setting during a tutorial workshop. This important training element to the internship provides the interns a baseline level of knowledge and skillset that prepares them to excel when they start their research project. Secondly, they begin the three-month research internship where they are paired with a Columbia graduate student mentor to engage in a research project that culminates in a final presentation. SMRI interns earn valuable research experience in a Columbia University laboratory, develop professional speaking skills, and participate in active discussions on scientific research, career goals and life in the sciences. A quality science education provides children with the tools they will need to succeed professionally and lead healthy lives. Graduate students at Columbia have enormous potential to help surrounding New York public schools motivate and inspire their students to succeed in the sciences.
If you would like to be a mentor or instructor for the SMRI program please contact the SMRI directors, John Smerdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Katherine Xu (email@example.com). SMRI thanks the fervent support of our program by all of the past mentors and funding agencies (GSAS at CUMC, Women in Science @ Columbia and the Department of Pathology and the Institute of Human Nutrition).