Due to underfunding, science and math courses can involve a lot more reading than hands-on work — and two Manhattan College students are seeing this firsthand.  

So now, they’re working to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, not only more engaging, but more attainable for everyone.

It might seem like rocket science, but the process to get here doesn’t have to be.

What You Need To Know

  • Sarah Rosen and Kate Cappabianca were inspired to give back to groups that are underrepresented in the STEM field by providing a full day of hands-on activities

  • The goal was to excite the 50 students ranging from sixth grade to 12th grade to engage with math and science and eventually, with the STEM field

  • STEM is often underfunded in schools, and makes the subjects less exciting when children can only read about experiments instead of participating

“We wanted to run this event to give the students the opportunity to be exposed to all the different things in STEM, and have the opportunity to explore and have a good time,” said Sarah Rosen, a student at Manhattan College majoring in math.

With that mission in mind, Sarah Rosen and Kate Cappabianca started brainstorming. What they came up with was a day-long event where students could experience hands-on experiments covering engineering, math, biology, chemistry, physics and computer science.

“My passion is STEM," said Cappabianca, a senior at Manhattan College. "And I really just wanted to do something my last semester to unite our community as a whole.”

“Especially because these students come from underrepresented areas with low college attendance rates, so we wanted to give them the opportunity to see what it would be like to be in a college environment,” Rosen said.

More than 50 kids joined in, ranging from sixth through 12th grades, with a special emphasis on individuals who are often underrepresented in the STEM field. They're changing the mindset of students with every new class.

“Well from my experience in science in fifth grade, it was really boring, said Judalyz Jiminez, a sixth grader. "We just had to do all this writing and not really hands-on with experiments and stuff. So now that we're here, it’s like really fun."

It’s a blueprint Cappabianca and Rosen hope can continue after they graduate, allowing for even more kids to increase their interest in STEM.

“It’s such an important field in general," Rosen said. "STEM people change the world in so many different ways, and it’s really important to get that excitement from a young age, because then they can grow up and have that in their careers."

"We’re hoping to introduce this demographic of students into the STEM world," Rosen added. "Give them the opportunity to explore and hopefully have them consider a STEM career in their future.”

“And hopefully, they’re as excited about it as we are,” Cappabianca added.

For finding the formula to engage everyone in the STEM world, Sarah Rosen and Kate Cappabianca are our New Yorkers of the Week.