High School Students Participate in Two-Week Summer Science Academy at St. Francis College
Leah Schmerl


Two dozen area high school students are immersing themselves in hands-on scientific learning at St. Francis College, thanks to the two-week Summer Science Academy organized by Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Chair of the Biology and Health Promotion Department, who started the annual program nineteen years ago.

The Academy's primary instructors this year are Noemi Rivera, Biology Department Assistant and Michelle Batchu, Adjunct Biology Instructor. Dr. Nolan and Dr. Victoria Ruiz, Assistant Biology Professor, also provide instruction.

Summer Science Academy students kayaking

From July 8th to July 19th, participating students – all of whom have just finished their freshmen, sophomore, junior or senior years of high school – complete projects on nutrition – which involves creating a wholesome three-day meal plan – and on marine biodiversity – which requires that students kayak and seine (capture sea creatures with nets) in local waterways.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has collaborated with St. Francis to create additional programs for the Summer Science Academy since 2011. This year, those include sessions to study sustainability through the Park's solar-power system and to create homemade water filtration systems.

Students also work on DNA barcoding, a method of species identification, under the direction of Dr. Ruiz.

The Summer Science Academy is free and open each year to any eligible high school student, pending available space and the completion of a submission essay. For more information, contact Dr. Nolan (knolan@sfc.edu).