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Columbia Youth in STEM Initiative

Launched by Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, with support from corporate partners and community organizations, the Columbia Youth in STEM initiative addresses the persistent gender and diversification gap across science, technology, engineering, and math fields. It prepares students from underrepresented populations to enter college and the workplace with increased confidence and capabilities.

Mission: Prepare high school students from typically underrepresented populations for STEM studies in college, in collaboration with industry leaders nationwide.
Vision: Build a talent pipeline to address the persistent gender and diversification gap across STEM fields, and ensure greater access to and success in STEM education and careers.

Our Approach

Engage students from underrepresented populations through hands-on instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), while developing their leadership and communications skills. 

Support participating students with mentoring, special events, and other resources as they prepare for college and career. 

Build a community of lifelong connections. 

Our History

In 2016, Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and Dean Jason Wingard launched the Columbia Girls in STEM Initiative to improve STEM education to bridge the gender gap, particularly to better serve minority women. SPS, along with corporate partners and community organizations, piloted programs in STEM education for girls from underrepresented populations in three cities: San Francisco, Miami, and New York. High school students learned core competencies in the STEM fields, developed leadership skills, and established mentoring relationships with senior female executives.  

The initial curriculum advisory committee included James Applegate, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy; Rachel Austin, Ph.D., Vagelos Professor of Chemistry; Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine; Jeanini D’Armiento, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine; Dana Pe’er, Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Biological Sciences; and Sharyn O’Halloran, Ph.D., George Blumenthal Professor of Political Economics and Professor of International and Public Affairs.

In 2017, the program expanded to four cities—in Washington, D.C., with National Geographic; in New York City with Goldman Sachs; in San Francisco with Microsoft; and in Miami with the Miami Dolphins (NFL)—with approximately 20 girls in each cohort. During the summer of 2020, the program pivoted online and held a three-day virtual symposium, “Engineering Hope and the Future.” In 2021, SPS changed the program name to the Columbia Youth in STEM Initiative to be more inclusive and align with the School’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Initiative.

Program Highlights

As a program participant, you will:

  • Learn from scholars and practitioners who are experts in their fields.
  • Build a community of lifelong connections.
  • Participate in world-class cocurricular activities.
  • Differentiate yourself with a Columbia Certification of Participation and personalized evaluation letter.

This highly selective program is open to academically exceptional high school students, grades 10 to 12.

Program Requirements

  • Local NYC students
  • Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors 
  • Underrepresented in STEM fields 
  • Nominated by a high school administrator or nonprofit organization  
  • Must attend mandatory end-of-program residency

 

Hear from Partners and Participants

[The students had] never realized that there were so many opportunities and so many women in this field.

Elizabeth Byrnes, Goldman Sachs

It's really great to learn that there are so many powerful women and it's really inspiring—it makes me feel like I can do that, too.

Gizelle T., Girls in STEM participant

Initiative Presenters

2022 Presenters

Goldman Sachs

Google

NASA

National Geographic

Women Who Drone

 

2020 Presenters

Edge of Yesterday

Goldman Sachs

Microsoft

National Geographic

 

2019 Presenters

AT&T

Edge of Yesterday

Goldman Sachs

Miami Dolphins

Microsoft

NASA

National Geographic

New York Yankees

Seizing Every Opportunity (SEO)

Tesla

 

2018 Presenters

Bureau Veritas

Goldman Sachs

Miami Dolphins

Microsoft

National Geographic

WynCode

 

2017 Presenters

Brooks Brothers

Goldman Sachs

Johnson & Johnson

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Miami Dolphins

Microsoft

NASCAR

National Geographic

 

2016 Presenters 

Goldman Sachs

GoPro

Miami Dolphins

Microsoft 

National Geographic

Contact Us

Questions Regarding Admission

For questions concerning admissions requirements, please contact youthinstem [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu

How Educational Institutions and Organizations Can Support the Program

Please contact Vanessa Carrillo, Associate Director, Pre-College Programs at youthinstem [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.

Columbia University is committed to providing a learning, living, and working environment free from unlawful discrimination. 

Read the full Columbia University Nondiscrimination Statement and Policy.