• Pinkerton Science Scholars

    We are excited to share that with the Pinkerton Foundation's generous support all of our student participants - current and alumni - are officially Pinkerton Science Scholars. We are consistently inspired by our community of scholars! 

     

    For more information on the Pinkerton Foundation's support, please see this press release: http://www.thepinkertonfoundation.org/news/pinkerton-expands-science-mentoring-for-high-school-scholars

    NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium
  • Welcome to the new Consortium site!

    Check out the website's new look. You'll find we have changed not only our look but also our content with updated information about our programs, press, social media and most importantly how to get involved. Enjoy exploring our new and improved website!

    NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium
  • Congrats Class of 2016!

    Congrats to all our scholars who are graduating high school this year! As Director of Youth Learning and Research at AMNH, Dr. Preeti Gupta, stated at this year's Student Research Colloquium: "You are all not ordinary students. You have each made significant contributions to the field of science." We know that you each will continue to lead the future of STEM! 

    NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium

An Interview With Jennifer Negron By Isabel Abonitalla

  

 

 

The Pinkerton Foundation is an independent grantmaking organization that started in 1966 by Robert Allan Pinkerton. Robert Allan Pinkerton is the great grandson of Allan Pinkerton who was the first detective in the United States of America. Allan Pinkerton served under Abraham Lincoln and after Lincoln’s death, he created the first secret service in the country. The legacy of Pinkerton continues after the sons of Allan Pinkerton turn their father’s detective agency into a security company; to this day, the company still runs and functions for purpose of security. The foundation itself, however, is not connected to the security company. It retains no ties to the firm and its main goal is to support community-based program for children, youth, and families in economically disadvantaged areas in New York City. Pinkerton specializes in direct-service programs that have one goal: to help the young people reach their potential. With these qualities in mind, the foundation generally looks for motivated people who are capable of not only higher-level thinking but also are very active. The point of this foundation is essentially to create a good base for an involved student. Most of the programs offered are either after-school, weekend or summer schedule. This provides the students quality knowledge that will not only be retained in their head but also provide them a good foundation for their future.

Jennifer Negron, a program officer for the Pinkerton Foundation, says “There are over 250 programs throughout the city and each program helps students learn throughout the summer.” She oversees finding community programs already in existence, seeing if they serve the young adult community of New York City according to the mission of the Foundation, and then pitch them so they can be funded by the Foundation. Negron also stated, “It’s bad enough these children are losing their knowledge over the summer. The foundation provides a fun environment for kids to practice not only education but sports and other STEM based programs.” Activities can range from helping the community to intensive lab oriented work. The programs at Pinkerton are based on the area the student is interested and the foundation will get connections based around that interest. The unique part of this is that it creates opportunities for people who can’t simply ask a friend who works in the lab for a favor. These programs provide the students an environment where he or she can thrive. This creates comfort for the student which leads the student to open and realize an inner potential they didn’t have before. The foundation also ensures that the students receive a stipend at the end of their program to motivate them as well as ensure that financial difficulty will not be a barrier for them to participate in programs that they genuinely find interesting.

The Pinkerton Foundation offers programs that are more than just internships. It’s also a job, a mentorship, a connection to the community, and a safe environment to excel. Each student that completes a program will find themselves discovering more about an interest or a field of study, which is not only good for resume building but also for character building. The program makes learning, interactive, and accessible; as well as inspires the next generation to stay motivated. The best part is, each program pays which means students are getting money for doing something they love and getting experience for the future.

Interview with NYCSRMC Isabel Abonitalla

Consortium Alumni Youth Council member Isabel Abonitalla talks about her experience in the Urban Barcode Research Project and the Hypothekids HK Maker Lab program. 

 

Olivia Asher speaks about her experience in the Science Research Mentoring Program and conducting research! 

Destiny Lugo: Alumna of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

 

   

After their time studying the environmental impacts of human diet in the Solomon Islands in the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP), Destiny Lugo decided to study not one but three scientific disciplines. They plan to get an associate degree in engineering, and to major in both anthropology and biology for her bachelor’s degree.

 

Destiny realized science would be part of their future when they started doing hands-on work in her 7th grade chemistry class. Inspired by their classwork, Destiny applied for SRMP as a “ better opportunity to get more science experience, as well as try something big and new.”

 

Doing novel research on the interaction of  biodiversity and eating habits with their mentor Georgina Cullman and another SRMP student was a dream come true for Destiny and helped solidify their plans to pursue science in college. “Being part of SRMP helped to influence and honestly help strengthen not only my future plans but also my love for science because it helped to give me this experience that I've always wanted.”

In addition to the research aspect of SRMP, Destiny enjoyed the community of other science-minded teens in the program. They said “It was always great seeing everyone and everybody in our SRMP class I considered my second family.”

 

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Andriy Repik: Alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

   

“[The Science Research Mentoring Program] influenced me to continue pursing a career in the biological field. It showed me how much fun the work is and it makes me want to continue it.” says Andriy Repik, an alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

 

Throughout SRMP, Andriy, his mentor Bernardo Santos, and another SRMP student, studied the crypoterix wasp, a type of wasp found in the Andes Mountains. It is currently unclear if the cypoterix wasp is its own species, or if it is the same as other wasps living in the Andes. Andriy and his SRMP team were resolved to solve this mystery. Andriy says the best part of this research was “working in the lab ‘cause everything that we did would lead to a result in the research we were doing.”

 

 

The genetic testing needed to prove an organism is a unique species is labor-intensive and time consuming. Andriy and his team came close to determining if the crypoterix wasp was a distinct species but they “ need to do more research on the nuclear genes and compare them with the other wasps.”

 

Andriy’s enthusiasm for science started early. He says “I was interested in science from a young age, my father had a huge impact in this cause he was trained to be a doctor and this was really cool to me. Plus it helped that science was one of my strong suits in school.”

 

SRMP fostered Andriy’s science bent and inspired him to study the sciences at Hunter College in New York City.

 

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Bayleigh Murray: Alumna of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

  

 

 

“[The Science Research Mentoring Program]  did a very good job of uncovering the sometimes mysterious and elusive scientific process.” says Bayleigh, an alumna of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

 

During the program Bayleigh, her mentor Sara Oppenheim, and another SRMP student studied “two species of Noctuid moths of the genus Heliothis.”

 

Bayleigh says this family of moths “ is large and its species can be found virtually worldwide, but the two species we worked (H. subflexa and H. virescens) on were special because they could interbreed, were closely related, looked incredibly similar, and yet they had completely different diet breaths. H. virescens is a generalist that damages tons of species of crops and costs billions of dollars worth of damage, while H. subflexa is a specialist that sticks to a single genus Physalis (also known as the ground cherry).” Bayleigh and her SRMP team’s purpose  “was to try to find genetic clues that could explain their [the moth’s] dietary needs.”

 

Bayleigh says “One of my favorite memories [from SRMP] is also kind of a gross one. I was working in the lab with my mentor, learning how to extract DNA from dead, frozen moths. A part of this procedure was beheading the moth, and essentially grinding it into a paste, which leads to a purple solution. My mentor asked my research partner and I why the solution was purple, and I soon learned that it was from the pigment in their eyes! That was a special moment because I learned more about how moths perceive the world, and because it forced me to recognize beauty in insects I thought of as furry flies.”

 

Bayleigh’s interest in science started early with “a book about bruises.” In the book Bayleigh “learned about capillaries and cells, and I couldn’t believe that there were these really complex structures making up the human body that we couldn’t see. I talked about it for days.”

 

Inspired by her older brother who is also a SRMP alumnus, Bayleigh applied to SRMP. Bayleigh says her experience during SRMP “ allowed me to hone in on the science I was truly passionate about [...] and made me more ambitious when pursuing future research opportunities.”

 

Now, Bayleigh writes about science on her blog! Click this link to read what she’s written.

 

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Edwin: Alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

  

 

“I wanted to further my knowledge in all specialities of science not just those taught at school.”

Says Edwin, an alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) as he reflects on why he joined SRMP.

Before SRMP, Edwin was involved in an after school science program at AMNH focused on developing a mobile app called “"MicroRangers.” During this program Edwin found a flyer for SRMP and decided to apply.

Once he joined SRMP, Edwin, his mentor David Kizirian, and another SRMP student researched a genus of snake called Hebius from Southeast Asia that is frequently misclassified. Edwin and his team worked to clarify knowledge of the Hebius snakes. Edwin says “I took the lab skills I learned with my mentor and applied them to school.”

Edwin says his experience during SRMP “opened up doors for me.” He presented his research at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, a science competition for high school students. Edwin says “[I]  made it to the preliminary round with my project. That was one of my first science competitions.”

 

  

Black Rock Forest.

The best part of SRMP, according to Edwin, was the trip to Black Rock Forest, a nature preserve just north of New York City. All SRMP students go to Black Rock at the beginning of their internship to help with ongoing research on the flora and fauna in the nature preserve. At Black Rock Edwin “was exposed to an environment completely opposite of NYC which influenced what type of colleges I would eventually apply to.”

Inspired by the Black Rock trip and his work during SRMP, Edwin plans to major in biology for his undergraduate degree to further his scientific knowledge.

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Gardner: Alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

   

“There is something very cool about being able to touch a rock that was formed at the same time as the Earth.” Says Gardner, an alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

 

Gardner, his mentor Amanda White, and a team of other SRMP students conducted research that was connected to the NASA mission Stardust.  Their undertaking was “to scan and catalog samples that were collected from the comet Wild 2 and brought back to earth.”

 

Gardner enjoys scientific research but does not plan to pursue a scientific career.  He says “I'm currently studying sports management at NYU [New York University], but sciences, specifically Astro related things still peak my interest and have a special place in my heart.”Gardner found that participating in SRMP taught him valuable skills useful even in a non-scientific environment.

 

Gardner finds it “hard to pick a favorite part of SRMP, as all of it was so amazing, from the summer institute to making new interesting friends to the actual research itself.”

 

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Hannan Abid: Alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

  

 

Hannan Abid, a former student of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), devoted his time in SRMP to to re-categorizing the bird specimens obtained on the Whitney South Seas Expedition.

What was the Whitney South Seas Expedition?

Back in the early 1900s a crew of researchers from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) went to the south seas to study the biodiversity of the islands there.. On their journey, the scientists collected bird samples from the area and had countless adventures. However, the specimens the researchers brought back from their trip were not catalogued properly, making them difficult to use.The information needed to fix this categorization problem lies forgotten in field journals and hand-written inventories from their trip.

Hannan, his mentor Paul Sweet, and another SRMP student, painstakingly went through the field journals from the expedition and hand-written inventories of the south seas specimens to decipher exactly where and when each bird was found.

Why is it important to know such specific information about each one of the over 40,000 bird specimens from the Whitney South Seas Expedition? Here’s one example: the birds and information collected on the expedition are windows into the past preserving the biodiversity of the south seas in the early 1900s. This knowledge is valuable to any researchers studying the area now, or researching how the south seas have changed over time.

Hannan found that studying the Whitney South Seas collection was quite entertaining. While combing through field journals for data on the bird samples Hannan came across many stories about the escapades of the expeditioners in the south seas. One story about a cooking pot Hannan says he “will probably never forget.”

During their travels the researchers required assistance from the local inhabitants. These people were paid for their help in rice and other food.

After a hard climb up a mountain the local assistants wanted to cook the food they’ed received as payment, but no one in the village had a pot large enough for the meal they were going to make. Undeterred, the cooks went to the center of the village and beat a drum several times. Fifteen minutes later some villagers from a neighboring settlement arrived with the perfect sized pot and the cooking commenced.

Before SRMP Hannan said he didn’t even know that high school students could be involved in novel scientific research. “ I always thought it [research] was something for college graduates. When I did find out about SRMP, my interest shifted from just learning about science in a classroom to being part of the scientific community.”

Hannan found his work cataloguing the Whitney South Seas collection was the most fulfilling during the “final days of SRMP when everything is coming together. I felt really proud, because everything that my team and I worked on for a whole year was coming together and it was a huge accomplishment.”

Now, Hannan has graduated SRMP is in the pre-health track at Hunter College in New York City. He says “I’m still on the lookout for possible research opportunities.”

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Julian Perricone: Alumnus of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

  

Julian (center) and his SRMP team.

Julian’s science career started in Central Park. Spending time outdoors as a kid sparked his interest in nature, and good science teachers in elementary school solidified that interest. Julian calls his time in the park and science class “modest beginnings for a wannabe scientist in NYC, but [they] did the trick”

Julian’s early love for nature led to a high school internship in genetics and ecology as part of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). He collaborated on a research project focused on an invasive millipede, Boraria stricta with his mentor Anthony Caragiulo and another SRMP student. Julian says the best part of the internship was “definitely working in the lab and getting to sequence DNA”

SRMP helped Julian extend his interest in science into a possible career path. He says“[SRMP] made me think even more seriously about my prospects of a career in science. I also feel like I have a strong backing in research skills and more confidence as a SRMP alumnus.”

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Kaira Mediratta: Alumna of the Science Research Mentoring Program 2015-2016 at the American Museum of Natural History.

   

 

Kaira describes herself as “someone whose interests are a bit all over the place.” Kaira is an artist and she went to an arts high-school,  but she spent her spare time doing scientific research on European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

 

Kaira, another SRMP student, and their mentor Dr. Julia Zichello, studied the evolution and ecology of European Starlings in North America. Kaira says “A lot of our hands-on work involved measuring taxidermied starling specimens, which was really interesting. But one day we had the opportunity to actually STUFF the birds which was a whole different story. The process was gory to say the least (it involved turning the bird inside out) and I may have almost passed out, but it was definitely illuminating. And now I can say I know how to stuff a bird!”

 

Kaira illustrated the starling specimens she worked with during SRMP.

    

The connection between art and science fascinates Kaira and she says “that overlap is definitely something I want to pursue in college.”

 Kaira is starting college in August, but in the meantime she took a gap year in India. She says: “This past month I was teaching at a school in rural India, and even there, things I learned from SRMP were always guiding me - namely, the importance of education and public speaking.”

 

Interested doing scientific research? Check out the science research internships for high school students listed under “Consortium Programs” on the homepage of our website.

 

This Alumni Profile was written by Olivia Allison Asher, SRMP alumna, member of the Consortium Alumni Youth Council, intern with the Gotham Coyote Project, and author of The Science Notebook Blog.

Urban Barcode Project Student Write Up:

At the Urban Barcode Project, Isabel and Tony have been working on some really great research!

Here is what they have to say about the work they are doing!

We have been working with Dr. Benjamin TenOever to identify and sequence a virus that affects bacteria, specifically Staph aureus. Staph aureus can cause minor infections, acne, pneumonia, and food poisoning. Our hope for that virus is that it can be programmed to kill bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics, since bacteria can evolve to become resistant to antibiotics.

We have collected numerous samples from all over New York City, filtered those samples so we would be left with only the virus, isolated the DNA of that sample, and sequenced the DNA. We found out that based on the NCBI BLAST database, the closest cousin of our sample is a bacteriophage named Bacillus AR9, a virus aptly named because it affects the bacteria called Bacillus. We are currently trying to analyze our data, as in understand the differences between our sample genome and the genome of Bacillus AR9 and see what has been affected by those changes.

Questions we are trying to address right now include: What genes have been inserted or deleted in our sample DNA that isn't present in AR9? What could be an explanation for those changes? If our phage affects Staph aureus, why is its closest relative a phage that affects a different bacteria altogether?" 

 

 

STEM Student Profiles: Why Choose STEM?

Kevin Zhang (Northeastern 2021)

I only got interested into data science and cyber security recently. Going up to NorthEastern for the weekend and learning about the various majors really opened my eyes to the data science field. Using statistics and algorithms, I can analyze data for companies and help coordinate the best course of actions to take for companies. For my interest in cyber security, learning about how to keep information safe through use of code and systems not only sounds awesome, but reminds me of the television series, Mr.Robot.

 

Andy Xu (Stonybrook 2021)

Chemistry had always been interesting to me. Arguably the most useful branch of science, chemistry proves itself to be much more than just pure theoretical speculation. A majority of human advances in the past centuries all focused on the concept of new materials, such as the creation of new drugs or metals to aid in construction (not to say that other fields of science don't make important contributions). Almost any STEM field would require knowledge from an introductory chemistry course. Moving on towards the engaging proportion, any sort of chemistry would involve laboratory work and I genuinely enjoy that (maybe not for computational chemistry and quantum chemistry). Of course it could be easily said that biology and physics also contain laboratory work but it doesn't feel as engaging to me.

 

Samantha Li (Barnard 2021)

I had an opportunity to work and volunteer at Weill Cornell Pathology and Medicine for bio research, and I've been working there for 3 summers on my own research paper on a gene that promotes cell death in cancer. Hopefully I can continue working on this in the future to help cancer patients live longer and help in the effort to find a cure.

 

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance

Check out the new Environmentor Team at Rockaway Waterfront Alliance RWA.
 
Here are youth who range from 14-17 years old at Marina 59 conducting ph level tests on the water. Some students are also taking measurements of the oysters for the Billion Oyster Project.
 
For more information on the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance please click here. 
 
 

Interview with mentor Dr. Burke by mentee Zahir Shadick

 

Project Background:

Over the course of 6 weeks Dr.Burke, his assistant Alex, myself, and my project partner, had the task of looking at and capturing the Diamondback Terrapin, a type of turtle that is slowly going extinct. Once we captured the terrapins, we checked their length and height and checked to see if they had eggs. If the Terrapins didn’t have any eggs we would release them back into the wild but if they did we would keep them for a few days until we believed it was safe for the turtle to go and lay the eggs.

When we were out looking for the turtles we had to be really quiet because they get startled easily. If we saw the turtle and it was in the process of nesting we left it alone until it was done and then let it return into the wild.

The purpose of this project is to help conserve the diamondback terrapin because it is slowly going extinct.

 

Below is a short interview with Dr. Burke regarding his work and this project. 

Who are you and what do you do 

Dr. Russell Burke, I am a Professor of Biology at Hofstra University 

1.When did this project start? 

1998 

2.How many people are involved? 

From 30-200 people are involved each year 

3.What are the benefits of this project? 

We have answered a lot of scientific and conservation-related questions about diamondback terrapins in New York. We have provided opportunities for lots of people to experience science and ecological research first-hand.

4.What is the main goal of the project? 

To answer scientific and conservation-related questions about diamondback terrapins 

5.Where does the project take place 

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 

Check out lots more info at http://jbtr.org