Precocious Entrepreneurs to Make Donation to York’s STEM Program for Children

York College, CUNY



Precocious Entrepreneurs to Make Donation to York’s STEM Program for Children

On Saturday, December 2, two young sisters, Asha Samuel, a sixth-grader and Saya Samuel, a seventh-grader will donate their young life’s savings to the STEM program they attend at York College, CUNY. The children are draining their savings account to donate to the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) MUREP (Minority University Research and Education Program) also known as the “MUREP Aerospace Academy” (MAA). The program, founded at the college in 1999, is dependent upon external funding for survival.

The girls’ parents enrolled the sisters in the York College program (formerly known as the SEMAA program (Science, Engineering Mathematics, Aerospace Academy), a Saturday and summer program for children K1-12th grades). The free opportunity, designed to cultivate an early interest in STEM education for children in Southeast Queens, was brought to York College in partnership with Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY 5th District). With minimal funding from NASA, the MAA program relies on corporate sponsorship via Con Edison and National Grid, and also depends on private philanthropy.

During fall 2017 orientation for Asha and Saya’s group, the director, Dr. Nazrul Khandaker, who is also a Geology professor at the college, talked about the struggle for funding to keep it running; and the role community can play to keep the program offering superior STEM education to school children in the area. Inspired, Asha and Saya told their parents, who were in the audience, that they would like to dip into their savings, accumulating since they were born, and donate it. Their goal is to help keep the program running so that many more children can get the best out of the reputed NASA opportunity at York College.  The parents agreed and the budding philanthropists will make a formal presentation of almost all of their savings — close to $3,000 to the MAA program on December 2.

To date, more than 24,000 public school children have gone through the STEM program since its inception 18 years ago. Consequently, many have chosen STEM majors in college; all have expressed the importance of their early exposure to the sciences in enriching their educational experience. The event will take place on Saturday, December 2, at 10 am in                                 Room 3D01 of the Academic Core Building.

York College, a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), offers baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, accounting and business, journalism, communications technology, computer science, social work, teacher education, various health professions including nursing and aviation management; and MS degrees in Pharmaceutical Science, Occupational Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies. Founded in 1966, the college boasts nearly 30,000 alumni succeeding in almost every professional endeavor.