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Columbia Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

SIAM Coding Bootcamp ?

The 6th Annual CU-SIAM Coding Bootcamp is a unique opportunity for high school students to receive FREE computer science training through Columbia University’s Chapter of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. CU-SIAM’s Coding Bootcamp will be held on Saturdays from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM on 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 3/26, 4/9.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Python
  • Calculus
  • Graph Theory
  • Differential Equations / Linear Algebra
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Data Science

If you are a high school student interested in participating, apply HERE by January 1st, 2022 at 11:59 PM. If you are a Columbia University undergraduate student interested in teaching a session, email [email protected] for more information.

Columbia Space Initiative Shares Passion for Space with Students

This month the Columbia Space Initiative (CSI) has been busy! Not only are they preparing an experiment to be carried aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS), but they have also visited local schools to talk about the project. The launch is scheduled for December 21 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.    

As part of the build-up to the launch CSI visited two DOE schools to talk about the project and lead fun STEM activities. On December 2nd CSI members visited MS 302 in the Bronx and met with the school’s entire 7th grade consisting of 100+ students. Theo Nelson, a team member who serves as the organization’s Outreach Lead and Protocol Biologist, summarized the experiment by saying, “We hope to contribute significantly to current understanding of bacterial transcriptomics in microgravity environments with extensive RNA sequencing, given that there are fewer than five comparable pre-existing datasets for any and all bacteria. We will be able to hypothesize the new rules of the road for these bacteria in space.” The 7th-grade students were most impressed by the fact that CSI won a NASA-sponsored competition to be included in the launch.

After the presentation, each CSI member took a group of students to a different part of the auditorium for a paper airplane challenge. Students learned the differences of three different models of planes and how lift applies to wing design. The excitement grew even more when students could test their airplanes while a drone flew overhead.  The event concluded by students learning that the lessons and data collected from the SpaceX launch would be shared with them as part of Citizen Science project CSI would be facilitating in 2022.

A week later CSI visited PS 126 in the Lower East Side to lead the same event. These events are generously supported by Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth which identifies high-quality programs and matches them with NYC schools.

Pictured Left to Right:Matthew Werneken, Tyler Burkes, Swati Ravi, Theodore Nelson, James Pan, Hunter Wilder

Pictured Left to Right:

Matthew Werneken, Tyler Burkes, Swati Ravi, Theodore Nelson, James Pan, Hunter Wilder

CSI student talks about the design of three different paper airplane models.

CSI student talks about the design of three different paper airplane models.

TOM Innovation Challenge ?

The TOM: NYC Innovation Challenge (NYC IC) is a 10-week project where NYC students will design assistive technology to address overlooked challenges that Need-Knowers – people with disabilities or another unmet need – face on a day-to-day basis.

The TOM NYC Innovation Challenge is open to students from the New York City area. You can be a student with a passion for engineering, design, architecture, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and more! If you have a passion and ability to create and problem-solve, you are welcome to join. Go to their website for more information.

Tikkun Olam Makers

Highlight: Kristian Breton

Recently, Outreach Director Kristian Breton was interviewed for a feature on the Columbia Engineering website. Click here to read more about him and his vision for Outreach Programs.

Kristian Breton headshot

Thankful for CU!

As we head into the holiday season, the Outreach Team would like to say thank you to all the members of the CU community. From faculty, to students, to folks from local organizations, we appreciate your unique contributions to Outreach. We are so excited to continue to work with all of you.

Coming Soon: Engineering Speaks! ?

Last week we presented to 100+ DYCD COMPASS Organizations throughout upper Manhattan and the South Bronx. We are thrilled to be able to bring Engineering Speaks to sites throughout the community. If you are a teacher or other K-12 provider, keep your eye out for a link to sign up for sessions when they go live on Explorable Places this winter!

Queen Public Library

Volunteer Opportunity at QPL ? 

Queens Public Library is looking for STEM enthusiasts in NYC to volunteer as mentors for this fall/winter.  For 1.5 hours each week of the 6-8 -week program, running from 11/29 through 1/31, mentors will virtually support a group of 4-6 young people in collaboratively producing a personal assistant, similar to Siri or Alexa for their peers. Interested volunteers can sign up using this form. For questions, reach out to Tienya Smith at tienya.[email protected]

Set Your Sights on Summer ☀️?

With the dawn of daylight savings and many of us putting on our puffer coats, summer seems a long way away. However, we are excited to announce that applications for our summer programs, SHAPE and ENG, will be launching soon! Keep an eye out for more information in early 2022, and in the meantime, take a look at our website to get an idea of which program is right for you or a student in your life.

Swati Ravi

Student Highlight: Swati Ravi '22

How did you get involved with CSI?

I saw a poster for CSI in my dormitory during my first semester at Columbia and was excited by the hands-on space projects CSI was working on along with the openness of the club to welcome members with little prior engineering experience. In my first and second years, I participated in and led the Micro-g NExT mission, which focused on building and testing astronaut tools in partnership with NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab. Last year I served as club president and also started a new mission focused on sending a payload to the International Space Station to study antibiotic resistance in microgravity.

What's it like to lead the organization?

Leading CSI, especially through the pandemic, helped me appreciate the resilience, creativity, and passion everyone in the club brings to the projects we work on. Even after getting into the routine of the day-to-day work organizing mission meeting logistics, planning social events, and developing materials for outreach opportunities, something would always come up to surprise me. For example, we once got contacted by the office of our U.S. congressional representative to share our thoughts on future aerospace projects!

What has been the best part of CSI for you? 

The best part of CSI has been watching the continual growth of the club over time. Around half of the current missions only started since I joined the club three years ago and have already gone on to be presented at research conferences, win NASA competitions, and earn research funding. Similarly, the club has strengthened outreach partnerships with organizations like Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth (SGHY) and has expanded into offering multi-week educational programs for high school students through the Tides program, working with Girl Scout troops to help students earn space science badges, and advising a number of robotics and rocketry teams. It has been gratifying to bring these new projects to life and exciting to think of what the future has in store for CSI.

CSI has closely collaborated with schools and SGHY. How did those partners come together and what have you learned through the collaboration?

CSI has been working with SGHY since before my time in the club, and the partnership has always been a great way to help club members share their passion for aerospace with a broader audience of students who might not otherwise have exposure to the field. Since the inception of that partnership, other schools and organizations have found us thanks to the hard work of our webmasters in making an easy-to-find and easy-to-navigate website. Working with schools and organizations like SHGY has taught me the value that just a few hours of our time can provide to students. STEM can often feel esoteric in a classroom setting, so helping students feel excited about space through hands-on activities can substantially reshape students' relationships to STEM.

CSI has multiple "missions."  What would you say to someone who is "space curious" but isn't a STEM major? Could they be involved?

Absolutely—I started out "space curious" and ended up starting a mission focused on aerospace microbiology despite having zero prior experience in the field! CSI's unofficial motto is "space is better together," and this philosophy has guided the club's decision to not require any membership application or prerequisite skills to join the club. Missions meetings are structured to help people of any level of experience learn fundamental technical skills such as CAD, 3D printing, and machining, and missions are always in need of people with non-technical skills such as videography, education, finance, and graphic design. 


As a senior what are you most looking forward to this year, and what do you plan to do after graduating?


I'm most excited to see the payload project I worked on for the past 1.5 years launch to the International Space Station in December. I'm currently in the process of applying to aerospace-related graduate programs which I hope to attend after graduating this spring.

Get Excited about Engineering Speaks! ?

We are so excited to announce that Engineering Speaks will be returning in the Spring Semester. Look out for the first sessions which will take place in January 2022. In the meantime, if you are a teacher or other K-12 school staff member interested in signing up, fill out this form to have an info session with the Outreach Team to talk about what you're looking for.

Justice Through Code

Join Justice Through Code ⚖️

Justice Through Code is a free full stack web development intensive that provides opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to begin to grow and develop into the technology leaders of tomorrow. It is jointly ​offered by Columbia University’s Center for Justice, and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. They are seeking TAs for their Spring 2022 Cohort. Sign up for their upcoming info session on 11/18 here!

Khannah Shaltiel

Spotlight on SHAPE  ?

We recently checked in with one of our alumna from the SHAPE Class of 2021, Khannah Shaltiel. Khannah is currently a senior at Forest Hills High School in Queens, NY. She has a passion for computer science that she was able to explore through her SHAPE courses and undergrad-led electives.

What was the best part of your summer learning experience?

The best part of my experience were the lectures and the game design elective. I love computer science so having the opportunity to learn more at a college standard really made my day, every day.

Describe what a typical day this summer at Columbia looked like for you.

A typical day at Columbia consisted of me waking up, eating breakfast, and then jumping on my laptop to wait for class to start. We then would have time to work on our assignments in the morning, a quick lunch break, lecture (where we learned new topics), and finished off with our electives. Even though staring at a computer screen for that long can get tiring, I enjoyed every second of it and couldn't wait for the cycle to start again the next day.

How has this experience influenced your post-secondary plans?

This experience has ensured me that computer science is a field that I want to pursue in college. The topics were captivating, inspiring me to do my own research on them in my free time.

In what ways were you challenged this summer? How did you overcome these challenges?

I was challenged this summer by topics like alpha beta pruning and heuristics. However, with the help of my professor, the EEUs, and some YouTube videos, I managed to get a grasp on the topics.

How did you see yourself grow this summer?

I saw myself grow not only in knowledge but also in social skills. Participating in SHAPE and studying one of my greatest interests after a long year of online school with no human interaction helped me to rebuild the social skills I have lost over quarantine.

What advice would you give to your friend considering the program for next summer?

I would tell my friends to go for it! The Columbia community is nice, understanding, and above all, welcoming. The memories I made at SHAPE will be held with me throughout my life. I would highly encourage my friend to apply.

What are you proud of accomplishing this summer?

I am proud of creating a text-based game by myself this summer. I am also proud of developing an Othello AI. Even though it doesn't win all the time, I am still proud that it works and that I understand how!

Hypothekids Science Club

HYPOTHEKids is Hiring ??‍?

HYPOTHEkids is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, Math)  education and youth development initiative that supports students of all ages from underserved communities across New York City. They are looking for folks who would like to spark a love of science and engineering in the neighborhood and can commit two hours per week to being a HYPOTHEkids Science Club facilitator. If that's you, send a resume and cover letter to [email protected].


Hispanic Heritage Month

In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, we are highlighting Columbia's chapter of SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers). Their mission is to changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development.

They also work with the national chapter to host the SHPE Convention, the largest gathering of Hispanics in STEM!

The convention is made up of five distinct conferences and has something for everyone: Pre-College, Academic, SHPEtinas, and Professionals in STEM. Beyond the educational workshops there are competitions, networking events, and the popular Career Fair & Graduate School Expo. 

Benefits of attending include-

  • 100+ hours of cutting edge content curated for Hispanics in STEM
  • 200+ world-class companies and universities recruiting
  • 1,000+ interviews and dream jobs offered
  • 9,000+ people to add to your network
  • Infinite impact on your life and career

If you're interested in getting involved, you can get in touch with them through email or Facebook.

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @CUshpe

From left to right: Analiese Barnes-Classen, Kris Breton, and Cassandra Barrett

Meet the Team

Back in July, SEAS welcomed a brand new Outreach team. Meet the new Outreach Director, Kristian Breton, and the new Outreach Program Specialists, Analiese Barnes-Classen and Cassandra Barrett. Head here to read their bios, and keep reading to learn more about their hopes for the school year.

What are you looking forward to this year?

"I'm looking forward to working with student clubs to find ways to offer outreach programs to neighboring schools and undergrads from colleges that don't have research labs." - Kris

"I'm excited about helping researchers on campus strengthen the broader impacts of their findings on the communities that are typically excluded from the benefits of cutting-edge science." - Analiese

"I hope to create programs that encourage Black girls to pursue STEM education and to make STEM a safe place for them." - Cassandra

What is your favorite science fact?

"The Earth's atmosphere is only about 60 miles thick. If you could drive a car to space it would take less than an hour on the highway." - Kris

"The eye is the only organ in the human body whose function cannot be replicated or replaced." - Analiese

"From earth, we can only ever see one side of the moon. You have to go to space to see the other side." - Cassandra

Covers from SHAPE elective courses. Top row: Codes of Ethics from Ethics in Engineering, Accessing Solidworks from Computer-Aided DesignBottom row: Reimann Sums from Multivariate Calculus, Welcome Back to Game Design from Game Design

Getting into SHAPE

For the second summer in a row, we hosted students virtually for SHAPE. Columbia Engineering Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) is a selective summer high school program for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. SHAPE is geared toward local students who have demonstrated an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Each 3-week session offers college-level courses in engineering, which are complemented by electives and workshops.

This year, for the first time, we were able to welcome international students to join the program. We had students from Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, and China, to name a few. Despite the distance, students were still able to participate in hands-on engineering activities from their homes. This year's courses included Advanced Computer Science, Innovation & Design, Electric Engineering, and Robotics. At the end of each session, students gave live demos of their creations and presented what they learned. Students also had the opportunity to take elective courses designed and taught by Columbia Engineering undergraduate- students. SEAS students from across all disciplines brought their interests and expertise to teach courses like Game Design, Multivariate Calculus, Computer-Aided Design, and Ethics in Engineering.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Professors Bauer, Yesilevsky, Vukelic, and Vallancourt for their involvement this summer, as well as all the undergraduate EEUs. Without them, this summer would not be possible! We are so proud of the work our students achieved this summer and we are already looking forward to Summer 2022.

Engineering for the Next Generation

Virtual Learn-ENG

This summer, six students representing Columbia Secondary School ELLIS Prep joined SEAS for four weeks to conduct research with SEAS faculty. Students worked with faculty with expertise in fluid mechanics, developmental biology, and data science. Though they spent the entirety of the program in the virtual space, students created a community with their mentors and their mentors’ labs, as well as their fellow ENG students. 

One student, Mannendri Olivares, notes that his favorite aspect of the summer was “to explore new exciting fields of STEM including the intersection between biology, physics, and engineering” in the Kasza Living Materials Lab. Mannendri’s day began with waking up at 9 AM and prepping for his morning mentor with his graduate student mentor Cole Allan. In this meeting, they discussed the progress of his projects and any obstacles he may have faced. 

Despite the challenges he faced, Mannendri notes that his proudest accomplishment of the summer was his final project. For his final project, he created a graphical user interface to help investigate the myosin network across cells in fruit fly embryos. His project will further help the Living Materials Lab determine the causes of dramatic tissue changes and how they occur at the subcellular level. 

We are so proud of our students for their hard work this past summer and praise them for their dedication to expanding their knowledge of engineering. We cannot wait for summer 2022 to welcome new students to Columbia’s campus.