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Climate research wins H.S. kids special honors

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Four high school students involved in New York City College of Technology’s Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) received a special award from the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF).

Three of the students live in Brooklyn: Christopher De LaCruz (Parkville) and Ayobami Fatade (Canarsie), both seniors at Clara Barton High School,901 Classon Avenue, and Keleca Benjamin (Brownsville), a senior at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services in Manhattan.

They, along with one of Benjamin’s classmates, Efrah Hassan (Harlem) earned college credits while still in high school and helped conduct award-winning scientific research on climate change in New York City.

More specifically, De LaCruz and Fatade studied the impact of global warming on New York City’s water resources, and Benjamin and Hassan explored how climate change affects energy consumption in New York City.

The four students have participated in the City Tech Office of Collaborative Programs’ STEP initiative for two years, earning high school credits and taking college credit-bearing courses (math, psychology, English and biology) and completing their science research projects. Two of the students — Benjamin and Hassan — will be attending City Tech full-time in the fall.

With grant funding provided by the New York State Education Department’s Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs, the students spent six-months preparing their research projects by working at least four hours a week with City Tech mentors Physics Professor Reginald Blake, who directs the college’s Black Male Initiative, and STEP Program Science Project Mentors K. Michael Sealy and Mark McCalmont.

Their work has given them a good start to their college endeavors and future careers; all have been accepted to the colleges of their choice. De LaCruz will attend Hamilton College this fall and looks forward to a career as an anesthesiologist or mathematician.Fatade will attend CCNY on a full-year scholarship through Myself Third and wants to be an engineer.Both Keleca and Efrah will begin City Tech’s nursing degree program this summer.

All four students credit STEP @ City Tech with helping them to prepare for college: not only will their college credits transfer when they begin school, but they have learned the tools they must use to excel in college courses.

City Tech’s Office of Collaborative Programs, part of the Department of Academic Affairs, develops, implements and otherwise supports City Tech’s precollege activities designed to enhance and increase college access. STEP assists students in acquiring the skills and attitudes necessary to pursue postsecondary education leading to careers in scientific, technical or health-fields, or the licensed professions.

In the 2008-09 academic year, the Office of Collaborative Programs — through College Now, STEP, Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Program (TLQP), and CARPE DIEM — served more than 51 partner high schools and provided direct services to 2,200 students.

For more, call Ivonne Barreras at 718-260-5212. City Tech is located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn

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