Monday, July 20, 2015
Pinkerton Expands Science Mentoring for High School Scholars
The Pinkerton Foundation announced that it will make grants of up to $10 million over the next five years to provide authentic and intensively mentored science research experiences to at least 2,000 talented New York City high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The initiative—to be called The Pinkerton Science Scholars Program—builds on the success of the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) developed by the American Museum of Natural History. For the past three years, the Foundation has supported the introduction of the AMNH model at fourteen other science-related institutions in the city. To date, 385 students have completed the program, and the Foundation’s goal is to extend the opportunity to at least 2,000 more students by June, 2020.
“We’ve loved the research mentoring program from the beginning—and now it’s time to double down,” said Rick Smith, president of The Pinkerton Foundation. “We hope this transformative experience will give the Pinkerton Science Scholars the tools and the confidence to go on to college success and, for many, careers in science.”
“The American Museum of Natural History is committed to providing New York City youth with substantive science research experiences and intensive access to scientist-mentors, experiences not otherwise readily available to them,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “We are thrilled that the Pinkerton Foundation shares our vision for the Science Research Mentoring Program at a time when science achievement is more important than ever to our youth, our nation’s global leadership, and our shared future. We are proud that our program has become a model for other institutions and a catalyst for Pinkerton’s new commitment to broader impact."
While each participating institution tailors the mentoring program to its own strengths, all programs serve students from under-resourced and economically challenged neighborhoods. The core elements of each program remain the same. To be named a Pinkerton Scholar, each student must:
- Successfully complete a minimum of 70 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction on scientific principles, research methodology and laboratory techniques.
- Take an active role in an authentic scientific research project.
- Work under the guidance of a scientist/mentor on a one-to-one or two-to-one basis.
- Prepare and deliver a concluding presentation on his or her research project to an audience of peers and professionals.
There are currently fifteen members of the Science Research Mentoring Consortium. In addition to AMNH, participating sites include: The Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai; the Zuckerman Mind-Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University; the Earth Institute at Columbia; the CUNY Remote Sensing Earth System Institute; the NYU School of Engineering; the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Rockefeller University; DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Wave Hill and the City University of New York College Now Programs at Lehman, Brooklyn, City, York and Queens Colleges
AMNH educators Ruth Cohen, Preeti Gupta and Christine Banks Calderón coordinate the programs and, with additional support from Pinkerton and other funders, will design and direct research on student outcomes over the years. Pinkerton Senior Program Officer Laurie Dien has helped shape the mentoring initiative from the beginning and continues to supervise the program for the Foundation. In addition to funding from Pinkerton, the AMNH Science Research Mentoring Program is supported by major grants from an anonymous Museum Trustee, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Bezos Family Foundation.