SEMAA York College/CUNY

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York College/CUNY

Established in 1999, the NASA SEMAA project site at York College is the only fully funded site in the Northeast. The site offers two eight-week Saturday sessions in the spring and fall for students in grades one-nine.

The vast majority of students at this site come from underserved and underrepresented populations from approximately 125 schools within the Jamaica/Queens area. Of the children attending NASA SEMAA classes, nearly 65% are African-American and 10% are Hispanic. Roughly 21% of these students are living below the poverty level. Additionally, 45% of the student participants are female.

To date, the site has served over 12,500 students in formal NASA SEMAA classes and many hundreds more through various outreach activities. The site also offers a unique program called the Family Café, which provides a venue for parents and caregivers to discuss issues on the health, safety and the education of their children.

During the summer months, registered SEMAA students receive lunch from the Department of Education.

The NASA SEMAA project has been nationally recognized for its positive impact on communities like Southeastern Queens. In 2003, the Project was ranked by NASA as the Agency's top K-12 educational project. Over the years, the site at York College has maintained excellent annual reviews. The York College NASA SEMAA project site has been recognized for its diversity and its cost efficiency.

The central facility for the NASA SEMAA project at York College is the Aerospace Education Laboratory, or AEL, which was installed by NASA. The AEL contains a wind tunnel, weather station; aircraft design station and a virtual reality flight simulator. Registered NASA SEMAA students in the sixth grade and above plan and execute a cross-country (or even space shuttle) flight while familiarizing themselves with the underlying science. Younger students conduct activities inside the STARLAB, the College's portable planetarium. In addition, students are guided through several aerospace activities in the College's science labs. The grade-appropriate curriculum enhancement activities designed by NASA are hands-on, inquiry-based and fun.

The distinctive Family Café offered during the academic year gives parents and caregivers an opportunity to meet while their children attend SEMAA classes. The Family Café coordinator, a dedicated NASA SEMAA parent, was recognized with the NASA SEMAA Family Leadership Award at the 2006 National Directors' Meeting in Washington, DC. In 2008, the Family Café offered workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including drug awareness, immunization, problem-solving techniques, new academic standards, and other topics suggested by parents. This aspect of the project is very successful, with the number of parents staying for the Café growing every term.

York College continues to provide a significant in-kind contribution of space, partial released time from teaching for the directors, telephones, postage, copying, a van and other support services. Without these contributions, the SEMAA project at York College would not be able to survive. However, the AEL and STARLAB host several hundred students in turn annually in outreach events (also required by NASA) for recruitment and community service purposes. We continue to apply widely for grants, to assist the national program in its efforts at sustainability, and work with our Congressman's office to secure consistent funding for SEMAA.

York College SEMAA Web site:
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Calendar of Events

Session Dates
Session 1: July 8 – 12, 2013
Session 2: July 15 – 19, 2013
Session 3: July 22 – 26, 2013
Session 4: July 29 – Aug. 2, 2013

Contact Information

Dr. Timothy Paglione
Room AC-2F09
94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard
Jamaica, NY 11451
Phone: 718-262-2580
E-mail: tpaglione@york.cuny.edu
Grade Levels: 1-9
Dr. Nazrul I. Khandaker
Room AC-2F09
94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard
Jamaica, NY 11451
Phone: 718-262-2581
E-mail: nkhandaker@york.cuny.edu
Grade Levels: 1-9

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator