November 8, 2023
On November 4, the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) NSF-funded project, “Bridging the Gap: BMCC Technology Learning Community” hosted a “STEM Innovation Challenge for Social Good” in Richard Harris Terrace and Fiterman Hall.
About 65 students in STEM and other majors formed 16 teams to brainstorm and apply technology to address topics including Zero Hunger and Environmental Sustainability, as well as areas that relate specifically to BMCC, such as Diversity in STEM Careers, Student Housing Resources, and Addressing Misinformation and Disinformation on Campus.
Over 100 people attended the event. In addition to students, participants included faculty and volunteers. The event was also made possible by the attendance of over 25 industry mentors, judges and data scientists from Google, Meta, the NYC Department of Planning, the United Nations, Axon, the MTA, BetaNYC, Spectrum, AWS and CITE.
BMCC Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Erwin Wong delivered keynote remarks, and the activities concluded with an award ceremony in Fiterman Hall.
This event was primarily supported by a $500,000, three-year grant awarded by the NSF in Fall 2021 to engage underrepresented and women students in STEM courses, activities and career paths.
Additional support was provided by CITE, BMCC, the BMCC Computer Information Systems Department and BMCC Programming Club. Industry volunteer support came from Google, Meta, the NYC Department of Planning, the United Nations, Axon, the MTA, BetaNYC, Spectrum and AWS.
The overarching NSF-funded project, “Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Implementation and Evaluation: Bridging the Gap: Designing a Technology Learning Community Integrating Computational Thinking to Improve STEM Engagement Across Disciplines,” represents a collaboration between CIS Professors Mohammad Azhar (Project Lead and Principal Investigator), Younes Benkarroum (Co-PI); Sociology Professors Elizabeth Wissinger (Co-PI) and Rifat A. Salam.
“The November 4 event provided a learning environment where students from diverse backgrounds could practice workforce-relevant skills such as data assessment and problem-solving,” said Professor Azhar.
He explains that the day included a Data Science Hack League track where students were introduced to exploratory data analysis, data visualization and machine learning skills, all of which they applied to a given dataset related to their challenge topic.
“The students also applied what they know about teamwork, developed computational thinking skills and cultivated their own leadership while solving real-world problems,” said Professor Azhar.
The winning teams will be eligible to apply for Tech Learning Community Internship opportunities funded by NSF. As interns, they will have the chance to work with faculty, mentors and industry professionals to develop prototypes based on their initial solutions developed in the November 4 BMCC STEM Innovation Challenge.
Professor Azhar added that the event was “a testament to the power of collaboration and ideation. Our BMCC students brought their unique perspectives, expertise and experience to the table to create innovative solutions that could eventually benefit the BMCC community at large. Working closely with industry experts, our students had an opportunity to develop real-world skills and gain valuable industry insights.”
To learn more about the students’ projects, visit here. To read about the May 2023 NSF-funded Ideathon at BMCC, visit here. For more information on the Technology Learning Community at BMCC, contact Dr. Azhar at email@example.com.
On November 4, the NSF-funded project, “Bridging the Gap: BMCC Technology Learning Community” hosted a “STEM Innovation Challenge for Social Good” event in Richard Harris Terrace.
- Student teams brainstormed to create innovative solutions using technology and addressing topics such as diversity in STEM careers, student housing resources and more
Over 100 people attended the event, including 65 students who formed 16 teams, as well as faculty, volunteers and industry mentors from Google, Meta, the NYC Department of Planning, the United Nations, Axon, the MTA, BetaNYC, Spectrum, AWS and CITE