CREST, under the leadership of Dr. Shakila Merchant, kicked off the 2023 Bridge to College (B2C) on October 20, 2023. The B2C initiative began in 2015-2016 to engage, inspire, and motivate a cohort of middle school (8th graders) students from the City College Academy of the Arts – an Early College School, in NOAA mission driven Science Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focused hands-on activities. This year, eight students along with their teacher(s) will participate in this 7-week long seminar style learning that focuses on ‘Earth Observation and Surveillance.’
The seminars and modules are carefully designed to ensure that the students are engaged and fully immersed during the once-a-week session that runs for 7-weeks in the fall semester each year. Modules are presented to the B2C students by the CUNY CREST faculty, scientists and staff members. Early engagement and inspiration help students to be better prepared in choosing the right STEM careers as they enter high school. B2C also serves as a recruitment pipeline for the CUNY HIRES program for the City College Academy of Arts students. HIRES is an out-of-school college readiness program for 9-12 graders. B2C adds value and knowledge for many traditionally underserved minority students who are curious to learn and gain STEM training and knowledge.
Commenting on the importance of programs such as B2C, Dr. Merchant said, “Early engagement of students in the STEM fields is pivotal to help them become college ready. B2C is an example that inspires a cohort of middle school students, particularly from underserved communities in STEM fields and thus empower them to be ready for STEM education at high school and college.”