St. Francis College Hosts Summer Science Academy
Crime scene analysis, investigations of water quality, and geodesic paper dome folding were just three of the dozens of scientific-learning sessions that engaged nearly 50 high school students in July 2020, as part of the Summer Science Academy hosted by St. Francis College.
For the twentieth year, SFC organized a two-week curriculum that allowed students who have completed at least one year of high school to gain hands-on experience with a range of scientific topics.
Under the instruction of College faculty, this year’s online curriculum covered the biodiversity of coral reefs, the physics of sound, and viruses’ effects on the human body, among many other topics.
“Summer Science Academy is a flagship event for St. Francis College, and I am proud to be part of the team that initiated it two decades ago,” said Kathleen Nolan, Ph.D., Chair of the SFC Biology and Health Promotion Department. “Our goal is to fuel passion for scientific learning that can open doors for further education and potential careers. We emphasize hands-on experiments that show students how science factors into so much of what they encounter in this world. It’s all about seeing science through a new lens and having fun with it.”
Daily one- to two-hour sessions each covered a different topic, during which students engaged in games, virtual displays, discussions and experiments that they conducted together and independently. This year also included a virtual field trip to the Clearwater Sloop on the Hudson River.
The final day culminated with student groups sharing presentations they developed over two weeks, featuring proposed three-day eating plans that meet the United States Department of Agriculture nutrition guidelines and cost about $100.
Students enrolled in the non-credit-granting Academy came from high schools in Brooklyn and other New York City boroughs and paid nothing to attend. This year’s instructors include Dr. Nolan; Allen Burdowski, Ph.D., SFC Dean of Sciences; Victoria Ruiz, Ph.D., SFC Assistant Professor of Biology; Noemi Rivera ’12, SFC Biology Department Assistant; and Michelle Batchu, SFC Adjunct Biology Instructor.
The 2020 Academy ran from July 6 to 17, 2020, for about five hours each weekday and, for the first time, was held fully online.