York College to honor 10,000th SEMAA Program Student
The York College SEMAA site strategically operates in Queens, the most diverse county in the nation, and has served over 10,000 urban minorities for more than 10 years as not only the sole SEMAA site in New York state but in the entire Northeast region.
The SEMAA mission is to increase the participation and retention of historically underserved and underrepresented youth in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas. The free National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) program traditionally welcomes middle school students to the campus. But the program has recently expanded to include 1st grade students as well.
Of all the 1st – 9th grade students attending SEMAA classes, over 21% live below the poverty level (the average in Queens is 15%), 45-50% are girls, approximately 60% are African American, 10% are Hispanic and 25% are Asian. Classes are offered on 8 Saturdays during each academic semester and in three intensive, full-week sessions during the summer. The site at York College has received excellent annual reviews from NASA, cited for the College’s diversity among participants, cost efficiency, use of NASA content and family participation.
In addition to engaging school children in STEM and more deeply involving the parents in their children’s education, SEMAA at York fulfills one other important community need. Pre-service teachers from the College also work for the program; in part, fulfilling their fieldwork requirements and becoming trained City science teachers.