Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy at York College. We've served over 14,000 students since 1999!

Spring 2014 Session underway

Thanks to the diligence and passion of our NASA partners, the York College SEMAA program is continuing in 2014. Starting February 8, classes will run for 8Saturdays from 9 am-noon (please note no classes on February 22, 2014) and end on April 5, 2014.

Applications are available here.

Classes are offered for 1-8 grades.

Call 718-262-2580 or 718-350-5998 any time for more information.

York's 15th summer session a huge success

The York College SEMAA program was in full gear this summer.  Classes run for three weeks (July 8 through July 26, 2013), Mon-Fri, from 9 am -noon, with lunch included.   Thanks to a $11,000 award from our faithful partner ConEdison, we were pleased to offer classes for over 350 3rd through 6th grade students.

Fall & Winter bustling after a record 2011 summer

Our Fall session was a great success with over 300 kids enrolled once again.  Our summer 2011 session saw a record number of over 830 students thanks to the support of York College, NASA, ConEdison, Time Warner Cable, our SEMAA families and other partners!  This caps our exciting year in which we served a record 1,554 students from the greater Jamaica area.

We are very appreciative of our devoted SEMAA families who have donated thousands of dollars to the program.  We're sincerely moved by your generosity.  We also thank our partner, Time Warner Cable, for a $15,000 award last year, and especially ConEdison for once again supporting the program with a $10,000 grant.  Finally we thank NY City Councilman Leroy Comrie for a $10,000 award and City commendations for our teachers, vital staff and top students.  Councilman Comrie has been a devoted advocate for SEMAA and York College for many years.

Major milestone: our 10,000th student!

We honored our 10,000th student at the graduation ceremony for our spring 2010 session!  This was a significant milestone after a decade of service to the Jamaica community.  We heard inspiring words from Congr. Gregory Meeks and York's Provost Griffith.  We also recognized our sponsor ConEdison, and heard from NASA representatives.

STS130 launch

Co-director Tim Paglione attended a NASA Education Forum and the nightlaunch of the Shuttle mission STS-130.  A SEMAA 5th grade girl witnessed the launch as well, and followed the mission on-line.

SEMAA at York College

Once again Congressman Meeks secured our site record funding for 2010.  We gratefully acknowledge his advocacy and the work of his staff and York College in improving our site's sustainability.  We are also grateful to ConEdison for a $10,000 grant last year.  Their support allowed us to expand to include two new first grade classes last fall.  The children of Jamaica and SEMAA staff are deeply appreciative and thank everyone for the support.  We acknowledge all our sponsors in the video as well as at the bottom of this page.

If you haven't already viewed our exciting SEMAA videos, please click on the links in the side banner.  Special thanks to Daniel Phelps and the rest of the York TV Studio crew for their vision and talented work.

From the York College 2006-07 annual report

At York College of the City University of New York, the SEMAA program has become a relied-upon institution for the school and the community.  We had an incredibly exciting year both in and out of the classroom with many visitors, special events, new schedules, new fund raising activities, new faces, broad support from the College, and enhanced interaction with elected officials.  In sports terms, we emerged from a “rebuilding year” in which we welcomed many new families (our SEMAA alumni have grown up!), and laid plans for recruitment, partnerships, and fundraising that are sure to help SEMAA at York truly take off in 2008!

paper planes

Special Events & Program Highlights

By far, our most exciting event this past year was hosting the inspirational and record-setting aviator Barrington Irving.  NASA, SEMAA, College, and community officials were on hand to welcome Mr. Irving and over 200 participants to a rousing luncheon.  SEMAA and the College received wonderful TV exposure, and it was the perfect venue for ConEdison to announce its financial contribution to the site as well.  All of our new partners attended including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum.

Other highlights included:

  • Served over 700 3rd–9th graders from southeast Queens, the most diverse county in the nation, plus over 200 of their family members
  • Ran our first winter session overflowing with participants
  • Created a vigorous fundraising program with the College’s new Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs
  • Hosted the Ash Institute evaluation visit for the Innovations in American Government Award
  • Hosted Congressman Gregory Meeks several times
  • Participated in community events for careers and education
  • Included York College Teacher Academy students as SEMAA summer aides
  • Produced a new marketing video for the site

The SEMAA Experience at York College

The program continues to offer the great hands-on activities and curriculum developed by NASA and specifically targeting students from backgrounds not well represented in the sciences.  As in the greater Jamaica area, our participants are primarily minorities.  The unique feature of SEMAA is its inspiring and engaging activities and the involvement of the parents:

  • The Parent Cafe, with our award-winning coordinator Unadai Deepan, hosted Congressman Meeks, Assemblyman Scarborough, the Day Care Council, the Early College Academy, the GRADS Foundation mentor group, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, among others
  • Students designed, constructed and operated various aircraft, robots, rockets, chemistry experiments and more
  • 6th – 9th grades participated in the Aerospace Education Lab (AEL) stations with robotics, GPS, weather monitor, wind tunnel, and flight simulator
  • 3rd – 5th grades took part in Starlab activities to recognize constellations, discover how the Moon goes through phases, and why the seasons happen
  • Outreach milestones included CUNY month tours, and daily use of the AEL by 12th graders from the summer College Now program at CUNY

Hopes for the Site’s Future

We anticipate a full program for the coming year with stable funding, rejuvenated recruitment, and an excellent experience at its heart.  We look forward to reinstating the full-day summer program in 2008, and to enhancing innovative partnerships with the Intrepid, GRADS Foundation, and the FAA.  We are excited to offer a 2nd grade class for the first time.

AEL sim robotics

Please feel free to contact us any time for information and applications.

Financial Supporters of SEMAA at York '07-'12

NASA, Glen Research Center
US Congressman Gregory Meeks
York College, CUNY
Time Warner Cable
New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie
SEMAA Families
NYC Dept. of Ed. Summer Lunch Program
Port Authority of NY & NJ

Thank you!

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What is SEMAA?



SEMAA at York College
  • 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
    Jamaica, NY 11451
  • 718-262-2580, 718-262-2580
  • Fax 718-262-3751