Volume 80, Number 14 | September 2-8, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Engineering a winning summer

By Cynthia Romero

The summer engineering internship program at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art recently offered a select group of New York City area high school students a taste of college life with a scientific twist.

The program, which enrolls roughly 70 to 90 students each summer, focuses on giving high schoolers interested in the field the opportunity to work closely with faculty and staff at The Cooper Union to develop their engineering skills.

“What we want to do here is to really give students from different boroughs the chance to see what learning at an institution such as The Cooper Union would be like and to really give them access to the tools they’ll be using to become engineers,” said Jolene Travis, a Cooper Union spokesperson.

The school’s summer engineering internship program, which began in 1987, is free, something Travis said the school is very proud of.

“It’s great that these students get the opportunity to explore different fields of engineering at such an early age and all at no cost, which is something The Cooper Union has been dedicated to,” said Travis.

The students, who this summer included sophomores and juniors from private and public high schools, worked in groups during the six-week program. They were given the option of choosing from a variety of projects to work on.

The projects gave the students a chance to explore chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, neurophysiology and mechanical engineering.

Physics professor Robert Uglesich has been teaching at Cooper Union for five years and said he loved instructing the high schoolers.

“I was impressed with the level of students I got to work with,” he said. “It’s nice to see students engage themselves and commit an entire summer to this program.”

During the month-and-a-half-long program, the students had complete access to Cooper Union’s computer, chemistry and engineering labs.

At the program’s end, the students presented their projects in front of family and professors. One of the projects was the improvement of the “Red Hen” service architecture. A social media-powered Web site, the “Red Hen” is a project within the school’s chemistry department that aids in the positive identification of chemical compounds.

“I was in the audience watching and just thinking how truly amazing all the students were,” said Jaylin Trumann, from the Lower East Side. “My favorite project was the Red Hen because it’s just pushing the limits of what technology and chemistry can achieve, and I have no doubt in my mind that these students will go on to be amazing chemists and engineers.”

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