In 2010, the Greenpoint YMCA partnered with ExxonMobil and New York University (NYU) to create the Summer Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (SYSTEM) program. This paid internship offers local high school students intense, hands-on exposure to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) while also helping them develop a direct connection to the Greenpoint community.
On July 10th, the third summer of SYSTEM programming kicked off with ten teens selected from a pool of 116 applicants, including two who participated last year. It was a busy first week for the students, who worked with a diverse field of experts. They visited the ExxonMobil facility at Kingsland Avenue, learned about urban gardening at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, toured new SYSTEM partner Broadway Stages’ sets of The Good Wife, Royal Pains, and Blue Bloods, learned about the history of Greenpoint with the Brooklyn Historical Society, worked with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to refurbish compost bins at Lentol Garden, and helped transform it with a newly mulched trail and a new planter made out of a salvaged wheel-barrow.
The participants’ highlights from the first week were as varied as its schedule. Green School student Nathan Cloud said his “favorite part was being able to create a beautiful garden space out of a wheel-barrow,” while Emily Vargas, a student at Northside Charter High School, preferred the tour of Greenpoint. “I got to learn about the history and culture of the place that I’ve lived in for the last five years,” she said.
Kevin Thompson, the Community Affairs Liaison for ExxonMobil said the goal of SYSTEM is to “instill in these eager students a real appreciation for the scientific disciplines. We try to create interest through hands-on activities that are engaging, interesting and fun in order to show that focusing on the STEM disciplines can result in incredibly rewarding and satisfying careers in the future.”
SYSTEM continues this week with the teens visiting NYU-Polytechnic Institute to complete a four-day Mechatronics Program. The students will revamp the soil moisture sensors that were built by last year’s participants, and will reinstall them at Lentol Garden when the six week program wraps up on August 17th.
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