CREST, under the leadership of Dr. Shakila Merchant successfully completed the 2023 Bridge to College (B2C) on December 8, 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, B2C kicked off on October 20, 2023 and eight students along with their teacher(s) participated in this 7-week long seminar style learning that focuses on ‘Earth Observation and Surveillance.’

Students participated in sessions including: 

  • Classification using Satellite Data with Dr. Brian Vant-Hull – learnt the basics of remote sensing, explored how satellite data is used to monitor deforestation and growth of urban areas, devised mathematical rules to classify regions by their spectral signature, and tested on a mystery image.
  • Making a STEM Vision Board – learnt the importance of vision boards and created one based on self goals, personal & professional interests, and aspirations.  
  • Geospatial Analysis with Dr. Jose Pillich – learnt about analyzation and visualization of geospatial data 
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) – learnt the basics of Python Programming language 

Students were deeply engaged and inquisitive to learn. 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.” 

Gain insights into last year’s B2C in this report.