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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

STEM program keeps inner-city New Jersey students involved in science

By Carlos Avila, The Trentonian

TRENTON — Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are some of the most coveted and in-demand professional fields for young people. But many inner-city students and other underrepresented groups have little access to the education and training necessary to excel in those fields.

Company’s like Samsung are changing that and creating opportunities for students to tap into the potential of STEM fields.

On Wednesday, Samsung announced that the company has awarded 63 scholarships to New Jersey high school students to serve as Samsung Scholars at the Rutgers Summer Science Program in July, which provides participants with week-long science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) immersion sessions. Two former Summer Science Program attendees received the first Samsung STEM College Scholarship which grants $2,500 to New Jersey students pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields.

“This is a great opportunity. We have met many very nice people and engage in very interesting activities,” said Akil Roberts from Trenton who is working on a music and video game app.

This is the second year that Samsung has provided scholarships for under-served high school students to continue learning science, technology, engineering and math subjects during the summer. This marks the first year that Samsung offered Rutgers Summer Science Program graduates a college scholarship to help continue their education beyond high school.

“Through the Rutgers Summer Science Program and Samsung STEM College Scholarships, we hope to help foster student engagement and passion in STEM across New Jersey,” said Ann Woo, director of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics North America.

All of the scholarship recipients are from Mercer, Passaic, Middlesex, Essex and Union counties, and were chosen for their passion for STEM beyond the traditional school year, as well as their commitment to help improve learning among their peers across New Jersey. To qualify for a Samsung STEM College Scholarship, applicants must have previously attended the Rutgers Summer Science Program, been accepted at a four year higher education institution and plan to major in a STEM field.

Ten Mercer County students are part of the program.

“I found out about the program from my advisor who knew I was into science, math and technology,” said Zaire Bellamy who is also part of the award winning TCHS Inspirational Choir.

The 2014 Summer Science Program curriculum centers on biotechnology, biomedical engineering, environmental science, exercise physiology, mobile app development and marine science. Classes are taught by Rutgers University professors, with the support of graduate students. During the program, students live in Rutgers dorms and use Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, donated by Samsung, to collect and process data from lessons, share real-time updates and capture photos and videos from the program.

Upon completion of the Summer Science Program, the Samsung Scholars will share lessons from the program with high school students across New Jersey, which they hope will help increase academic awareness and interest in STEM subjects among teenagers.

The Rutgers Summer Science Program is a Samsung Solve for Tomorrow initiative, which aims to engage students across the country in active, hands-on STEM learning. Since 2004, Samsung has provided more than $15 million in technology to more than 750 public schools in the United States.

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