Category Archives: Students

This Is What You Need to Know about 3 Citizen Science Programs that Target Urban Youth

This Is What You Need to Know about 3 Citizen Science Programs that Target Urban Youth

“Citizen science” is currently a popular buzz phrase in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research. The phrase refers to projects in which everyday citizens participate in scientific research by collecting data that scientists later analyze.

A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine highlights some of the benefits of citizen science. These benefits include enriching the everyday citizen’s scientific awareness, engaging the public in science, contributing to a community’s scientific literacy, and advancing scientific research.

Another of the report’s findings is that when citizen science projects are carefully designed to involve underrepresented populations, they can successfully help these populations become more involved in STEM. The report explains that designing projects to take into consideration matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion can go a long way toward encouraging diversity in STEM fields.

Among the many citizen science projects currently underway, several focus in particular on underrepresented urban youth. Read on to learn more about three of these projects.

1. Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds (CUB) is offered through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The program targets urban residents new to scientific research. Participants, who can start when they are as young as preschool age, collect data that allows scientists to understand how different environments influence the location of birds in urban settings.

CUB has been active for 10 years and in that time has distributed more than 500,000 education kits to participants. CUB has also partnered with over 12,000 community organizations and awarded dozens of grants.

Only five steps are required to participate in CUB. The first is to learn how to identify the birds most commonly found in the participant’s area. CUB sends a list of these birds to each participant and provides educational resources that teach how to identify birds.

The second step is to choose a time and place for watching birds. The place should not be larger than 50 feet by 50 feet, or the size of half a basketball court. The third step is to set aside 10 minutes to watch and count birds in the chosen location. The fourth step is to repeat the third step on three different days, preferably in the same week. The fifth step is to report the findings.

In addition to the day-to-day activity of watching and counting birds, CUB also facilitates special events. These events include bird festivals, clubs, workshops, and pedagogical projects that take place around the globe, including in Mexico, Peru, Panama, and Colombia, as well as in several locations within the United States.

CUB also provides online resources related to birds, including bird count participant kits, resource kits for hosting events, FAQs about leadership workshops, a list of recommended reading materials, and links to live and recorded webinars.

2. City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge 2019

City Nature Challenge is sponsored by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. The purpose is to find and document animals and plants in cities worldwide.

People in more than 100 cities, including Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Maui, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, are scheduled to participate in 2019. Visitors to and residents of these cities will explore their natural urban environments and record every species seen between April 26 and April 29.

In 2018, more than 17,000 people in 68 cities around the globe participated, submitting more than 431,000 reports. In 2017, meanwhile, 4,525 observers participated by submitting more than 128,000 reports that documented over 9,000 species of plants and animals.

Each year, the participating cities compete with each other to see which one can attract the most people and record the most species. The aim of City Nature Challenge is to find and document species existing in cities in order to study and protect each one. It depends on scientists and citizens alike to carry out its mission.

3. Urban Archeology Corps

Urban Archeology Corps

Urban Archeology Corps (UAC) is run by the U.S. National Park Service. Open to youth aged 15-26, participants take part in archeological research projects in urban national parks.

Participating parks are Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in Chickamauga, GA, and Chattanooga, TN; National Capital Parks-East in Washington, DC; Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond, VA; and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Calabasas, CA. At each of these sites, local organizations in recruit participants from the surrounding urban communities.

UAC has several aims. One is to enhance connections between these urban national parks and their surrounding communities. Additionally, the program aims to provide employment opportunities in archeology and the National Park Service to diverse youth.

Finally, the program aims to increase caretaking of these urban national parks and their surrounding communities. The youth who participate in the program gain valuable skills and experience in historical research, interpretation, excavation, outreach, and teamwork.

The Exciting Way Intel Is Making STEM More Accessible to Students

The Exciting Way Intel Is Making STEM More Accessible to Students

Though women and non-Asian minorities are woefully underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, many companies are working to diversify the STEM workforce. One example is Verizon,which has implemented student programming to attract underrepresented youth to STEM careers. Intel, another well-known tech company, recently announced the launch of its mobile Tech Learning… Continue Reading

Exciting New Initiative Funded with $2.6M for Hispanic STEM Education

Exciting New Initiative Funded with $2.6M for Hispanic STEM Education

In recent years, specialists and the public alike have acknowledged that American schools need to do more to encourage diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in order to create a more diverse STEM workforce. In response, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has emphasized its commitment to increasing the access of underrepresented groups… Continue Reading

Spotlight on the New Female Packard Fellows in Science and Engineering

Spotlight on the New Female Packard Fellows in Science and Engineering

In recent years, efforts have been made to encourage girls to become interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The reason is because more men than women are employed in the booming STEM industries. In order to even out these employment figures, exciting STEM programs for girls are growing in number around the country… Continue Reading

FIRST to Celebrate 30 Years of Inspiring Students’ Interest in STEM

FIRST to Celebrate 30 Years of Inspiring Students’ Interest in STEM

Committed to inspiring youth to become interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—is a worldwide organization that is preparing to observe its 30th anniversary. Established in 1989 as a not-for-profit charitable organization, FIRST provides youth with opportunities to work hands-on with mentors in the fields of… Continue Reading

Spotlight on the New EHTP Scholars Academy II Middle School

Spotlight on the New EHTP Scholars Academy II Middle School

The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) prepares youth in need for success in college. EHTP coordinates four initiatives to reach its goal of increasing college graduation rates for youth from East Harlem. The initiatives include a no-cost after-school and summer tutoring program for public school students, a teaching residency that builds a pipeline of educators… Continue Reading

Spotlight: Coed STEM Programs in the Boy Scouts of America

Spotlight: Coed STEM Programs in the Boy Scouts of America

Currently, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) offers several programs for both boys and girls: Cub Scouts for youth aged 5-10, Venturing and Sea Scouts for youth aged 14-20, and Exploring for youth aged 10-20. Additionally, in 2019, the BSA will begin offering Boy Scouts to girls aged 11-17. Because BSA’s scouting programs include activities… Continue Reading

This Online Program Matches Scientists with Kids around the World

This Online Program Matches Scientists with Kids around the World

With science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers plentiful, many are focusing on how to get students excited about STEM. One way to spark students’ interest in STEM is to emphasize hands-on learning. Rather than associating STEM with the boredom of long, dry lectures or multiple-choice tests, students can find the fun and excitement in… Continue Reading

Here’s One Organization Bringing STEM to Both Rural and Urban Youth

Here’s One Organization Bringing STEM to Both Rural and Urban Youth

Over the past several years, school districts, educators, and the U.S. Department of Education have emphasized the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction. One particular area of interest has been increasing the diversity of people who pursue careers in STEM fields. As a result, many national youth organizations have begun emphasizing programs… Continue Reading

9 of the Best STEM Books for Young Adults

9 of the Best STEM Books for Young Adults

One way that parents can involve themselves in their children’s learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is to provide access to necessary resources, such as books. For parents looking for a selection of quality STEM books, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) nominates a number of young adult nonfiction books for its… Continue Reading