To continually expand Brooklyn Tech's position as a leader in shaping the future of STEM education, it is essential that Technites receive the in-depth research, cocurricular and internship experiences that enable them to apply what they are learning in the classroom. Today, Brooklyn Tech’s 18 majors enable students to go deeper into a subject area and work on projects that put their classroom and laboratory learning into action and practice.
The Alumni Foundation works closely with school administrators, with support of our Hall of Fame alumnus, Josh Weston ’46, to advance the Weston Research Scholars Program (WRSP), now in its twelfth year. WRSP provides students with a three-year opportunity to participate in the creation of new knowledge. Students nominated by their mathematics, science or technology teachers are invited to apply in the spring of their freshman year. Selected students attend orientation sessions in the spring and as sophomores take a research class that emphasizes scientific reasoning and inquiry skills of value to research groups in the New York City area.
As rising juniors, students join research groups over the summer, beginning scientific investigations that continue through senior year. During their junior and senior years, students continue taking research classes that further develop their skills as scientific investigators. They are supported throughout the program by their Brooklyn Tech research teachers/mentors and in many cases an external mentor at a university research lab. WRSP students produce work they submit to local, national and international competitions such as the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, Regeneron Science Talent Search, and Google Science Fair.
The transformational learning experiences made possible by WRSP in turn enhance Brooklyn Tech’s position as a lead STEM high school. Most Brooklyn Tech students are low income (eligible for either free or reduced lunch), yet the program provides participants with rarified research opportunities more typically available to students from affluent homes. The WRSP structure, with its emphasis on mentorship and research classes, builds a community where students challenge themselves and each other as they are engaged in research areas of their choice. The support extended by our research community helps bring about accomplishments that would be otherwise impossible. Students learn from their Brooklyn Tech research teachers/mentors, their mentors at external placements, and one another.
Participant success is indicated by the colleges to which the 158 WRSP alumni have matriculated over the past dozen years, often on significant or full scholarship:
- 48 (26.5%) have attended or are attending an Ivy League institution
- 15 (8.2%) have attended or are attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- 128 (70.7%) have attended or are attending a university ranked in the top 50 nationally (including the Ivy League and MIT)
I have been fortunate to have been given the resources to develop the program and to serve as its Director. I have been equally fortunate to work with the Brooklyn Tech faculty who serve as WRSP teachers/mentors. Dr. MacRae Maxfield, who retired last June, continues to work with us, now serving as WRSP Coordinator and continuing as a mentor. Dr. Risa Parlo, who retired a year ago, also still serves as a mentor. Tech’s Dr. Elisa Margaritta, Dr. Michael Estrella ‘04, Ms. Stephanie Doire, and Dr. Horace Walcott all give exceptional service to the program as research teachers and mentors.
We can use your help. We can always use additional research opportunities for our students. Please email me the contact information of individuals interested in serving as mentors or if you are interested in providing support for the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diamond Club co-founder Dr. Mathew Mandery’61 is the only alum to have served as principal of Brooklyn Tech, is a co-founder of the Alumni Foundation, and serves as the Alumni Foundation’s Chief Educational Officer.
Please consider making a gift in support of the Weston Scholars.
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