Middle School Students Enjoy Ocean Technology at Kingsborough

Brooklyn, October 6 — Kingsborough Community College (KCC), taking advantage of its idyllic maritime location, has, for the second summer in a row, conducted an environmental science and ocean technology program for middle school students that has drawn rave reviews from students, families, faculty and the community.

“These young students had fun and gained valuable and sustaining knowledge of environmental science and ocean technology through this special program designed and offered by three departments and continuing education,” said Dr. Regina Peruggi, president of KCC. “We salute the New York State Education Department for the funding that made it possible.”

The New York State Education Department awarded a grant in the amount of $506,000 to KCC’s Department of Physical Sciences and the college utilized the resources from credit and non-credit bearing departments to execute the program.

The Office of Continuing Education collaborated with the credit-bearing departments of Physical Sciences and Marine Technology for the second consecutive year to provide 192 middle school students with the hands-on opportunity to learn while sailing aboard a working vessel.

“This collaborative effort successfully engaged middle school students in an 8-week environmental science and ocean technology program offered in four two-week modules.” said Dr. Saul W. Katz, dean, Office of Continuing Education.

In 2007, middle school students experienced working aboard the 19th century schooner, the Pioneer; this summer, the students sailed aboard the 36-foot Valora vessel. Each day, six different students sailed out of the harbor for a minimum of two hours, twice a day, when the weather permitted.

The program provided instruction to students from middle schools from Staten Island to Far Rockaway. Programming was incorporated into the College For Kids (CFK) instructional program, which offers children six through thirteen years of age a diverse program of academic enrichment including developmental skill-building, test taking and a variety of recreational activities.

The instructional component was provided under the direction of Professor John Mikalopus, chair of the Department of Physical Sciences. In partnership with Professor Richard Graziano, chair of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Professor Mikalopus
solicited the maritime expertise of Captain Tony DiLernia, director of Maritime Technology, to develop a program rich in scope, originality and content. Under the direction of Dean Saul W. Katz, the Office of Continuing Education assumed all administrative operations, including programming for use of the pool and other supplemental educational activities.

This team, assisted by faculty, college lab technicians and student aids, afforded students the opportunity to navigate a working vessel, haul cargo, and practice skills such as knot-tying and chart reading.

Sailing out of Sheepshead Bay from the shores of the college, students gained unparalleled hands-on instruction in physical and environmental science. In alternating schedules on the vessel, the students also learned about the mechanics and operations of the sailing vessel, visiting points of interest, and logging in actual sailing time. Through their participation in custom education programming within a spirit of cooperative learning, the students increased their environmental awareness, and gained respect for nature, technology, and one another while learning about marine ecology, ecosystems, the New York harbor and its history. All students received certificates of completion.

Kingsborough hopes to offer this innovative program again in 2009.

About Kingsborough Community College:

Kingsborough Community College, one of the top ten community colleges in the country, is located on a 70-acre campus in Manhattan Beach, on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1963 and serves approximately thirty thousand students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts and career education, as well as a number of specialized programs. The breathtaking Kingsborough Community College campus overlooks three bodies of water: Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Contact: Ruby Ryles
Kingsborough Community College