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Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP)

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Academic Level:
High School Students
K-12 Educators
Undergraduate Students

During the SSFRP students and teachers work together on real science projects. Together, they generate professional quality data, are compensated for their time, and work on research teams where they establish peer relationships with Lamont scientists and graduate students. Students learn science as a process, gain life skills outside the classroom, and come to see science, engineering and math as realistic career options. Teachers reconnect with their enthusiasm for scientific research and gain confidence with project-based learning techniques.

Our primary educational partners are collaborating schools such as The Young Women's Leadership School, the New York Harbor School, the Heritage School, the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, Curtis High School, and a large number of middle schools for which we help to conduct integrated learning workshops. In four years since the program was established, we have worked with 50 students, 90 percent of whom are members of ethnic groups under-represented in the sciences. To date, every graduate of this program has gone on to college, and at least four are now majoring in environmental or marine science.

We operate a 6-week full-time summer internship program, in collaboration with the Harlem Childrens' Society and the Columbia Summer Research Program. Teachers and students work in the field, collecting samples of water, soil, air, plants and animals in local wetlands, forests and even urban environments. Teachers and students measure many of their own samples in Lamont laboratories, where they receive training in basic laboratory skills from our research staff. Through the Columbia Summer Research Program, teachers can participate in collaborative professional development workshops.

$50,000 per year covers teacher stipends (@$5,000), student stipends (@$1,500), equipment, laboratory supplies, transportation, etc. ($10,000 per summer) for approximately 5 teachers and 10 students.

Participating Institution(s):
(Click an institution to see all programs it hosts)
Columbia University (Lead)

Program Materials:
 • Program Website 

This Program can be Described by:
Academic Disciplines:
STEM Fields

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This program is funded by:
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Page last updated 8/2/2021
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