Since 2015, February 11th has been recognized as “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”— a day aimed at ensuring full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls.
At AC, however, students of all genders have full and equal access to STEM every day. Starting in our Lower School curriculum, STEM is a piece of every unit and is tightly integrated across K-5. As students advance to Middle and Upper School, our curriculum allows for an even deeper study of the sciences.
Did you know, AC offers science electives, including:
- AP Computer Science A
- Video Game Design
- AP Computer Science Programming
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- Science Writing and Research
- Biochemistry of the Cell
- Human Disease
Over the course of just three years, enrollment in AC’s STEM electives has gone from 100% male to approximately 50% male and 50% female. In fact, this year’s enrollment in our culminating science course, Science Writing and Research, is comprised almost entirely of females, with only one male enrolled.
Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, recently said, “The key to getting more females interested in science isn’t just having more female teachers in STEM. It is an identity you’re trying to build. Students build their formative ideas of what a scientist is over time, and it is not just what they look like and how to act, it has to do with their [the student’s] confidence level and personal interests.”
This is no different from AC’s overall philosophy of making students feel like they belong here. Our teachers inspire students and build their confidence to make them believe that yes, they can do math and science and become a mathematician or scientist.
If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
An integral and unique part of AC’s STEM program is our focus on authentic and individualized learning. These opportunities not only provide teachers with a variety of ways to measure student progress, and thus remove gender and race bias, but they also allow our students to actively see and do the things they are learning about. This year alone, students have had the opportunity to participate in partnerships with RIT and U of R to dig deeper into their study of STEM topics and career paths.
“I am a science and technology evangelist,” said Crosby. “It’s my passion to get people excited about all things STEM and make fresh connections to the science and technology in their daily lives. It was evident before I even walked through the door that AC was a special and unique place. I am thankful for my incredibly talented and accomplished colleagues and the atmosphere of encouragement and confidence we are building around STEM for our students.”
Get to know AC’s inspirational women in STEM
“I am not a woman in science. I am a scientist.” — Donna Strickland
On February 1st, AC students hosted their eighth-annual TEDx event, an independently organized event run exclusively by students and licensed by TED. This year, eleven speakers took the stage, including retired U.S. Army Colonel Mark Kortepeter, Adrian Hale, Kerry Dunn, and numerous students and community members. This is one of only three TEDx events scheduled in Rochester this year and the only one exclusively organized and run by high school students.
TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool 2020 was incredibly successful this year. We are very grateful for all the speakers and volunteers who made a large impact on our event by working hard in all the preparation that took place. Without combined team effort, the event would not have been as successful as it was. New experiences and ideas were brought out this year and many minds were opened because of it.
We were glad to hear that most of you enjoyed your time in your interactive labs! We were excited to have several willing lab hosts for our event. Some of this year’s labs included an intro to screen printing by Tiny Fish, A mini hour of code by STEM and Innovation Director Maya Crosby and AC sophomore Mary Cotter, and a virtual reality experience by Alejandro Perez. We are so thankful for all of our lab hosts for donating their time and knowledge to this year’s event.
We would also like to congratulate all of our speakers for doing an amazing job presenting and sharing their ideas. Speakers from this year were unforgettable and that is why this was one of the best years for TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. This year, 11 speakers took the stage, including Adrian Hale, Kerry Dunn, Lissarette Nisnevich, Jack Jiao, Yueying Bai, Olivia Van Gemert, Autumn Flowers, Mfon Akpan, Andrew Brady, The Garth Fagan Dance Company and Mark Kortepeter.
And, finally, thank you to everyone who attended our event this year!
We plan to share all of our event photos and videos soon so stay tuned via our social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).
Allendale Columbia School was recently ranked as one of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America. More than 30,000 high schools in the country were analyzed over a three-year period to determine the rankings. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.or to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools.
Recent AC STEM Activities
NASA Thanks AC Sixth Grade Citizen Scientists for Their Research
AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies. Read more
“Girls Who Code” Club Represent AC at Rochester Maker Faire
This past November, Allendale Columbia School was a sponsor at the Rochester Maker Faire, where our “Girls Who Code” club taught visitors how to make brush bots and paper circuits. Read more
AC Robotics Teams Compete at Local FIRST Robotics Competitions
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the lower school in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Read more
Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!
Second graders met with Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the City of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville. Read more
AC-RIT Collaboration Continues to Thrive and Enrich Learning Opportunities for Students
Students in Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, and Honors Algebra II continue to participate in a series of classes with RIT. Most recently, students conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment, and they have also recently learned about cryptography and the use ciphers to create and crack codes. Read more
Students in Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, and Honors Algebra II continue to participate in a series of classes with RIT. Most recently, students conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment, and they have also recently learned about cryptography and the use ciphers to create and crack codes.
RIT Light and Color Collaboration
This past November, Allendale Columbia School was a sponsor at the Rochester Maker Faire, where our “Girls Who Code” club taught visitors how to make “brush bots” and paper circuits. The students guided participants through the process of building “brush bots” made from tooth brushes, a small vibrating motor, and fun decorations. “I had a lot of fun watching and helping kids make their brush bots,” said AC student Harmony Palmer. “I loved watching their smile grow as their bots moved and helping them helped me learn things as well.”
“Girls Who Code” was established by members of the upper school AC Codex club (Liza Cotter ’20, Anna Blake ’20, Mary Cotter ’22, and Harmony Palmer ’23) as a way to develop their coding skills, while sharing their experience with younger students through mentorship.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with younger girls because I see a lot of my younger self in them. I’m glad I can support these girls to explore something new that they could become passionate about,” said Mary Cotter ’22. The lower school girls seem equally pleased with the collaboration saying, “We love working with the upper school girls because they will help us if we don’t understand what to do, but they don’t do the work for us.”
The club has future plans to participate in various coding competitions, including Lockheed Martin’s CodeQuest later in the year.
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the Lower School in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge.
The “Lightning Boltz” team received the Rising Star award at the competition. This award is given to rookie teams that show promise to go on and do great things. Nice job Boltz!
The “AC Aces” alliance lost their semi-finals match to the eventual tournament champions. It was an excellent first run of the year, and we look forward to participating in the Corning Qualifying event on January 12th.
“Team 11779” had a successful event, participating in the final qualifying matches with teams that consistently qualify for the state level tournaments.
Students also celebrated International Education Week November 18th-22nd. The week was dedicated to celebrating the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a globally interconnected world and encourage the development of global leaders. AC celebrated the week by conducting a Kahoot! cultural trivia contest in the middle school and upper school. There was also a middle and upper school international photo contest. Our Lower School students participated by bringing in photos of their international or domestic travels. Photos are displayed on the Global Engagement bulletin boards in each division.
Last Friday, December 13th, the Middle School ceramics class presented The Willow Center of Rochester with a donation of $1,368, which they raised at their fifth annual Empty Bowls event at Allendale Columbia School on November 26th. The class made a lot of ceramic bowls and worked with AC faculty and students to help them make items for the fundraiser. They also wrote letters asking local artists to donate items to the raffle.
Empty Bowls is a worldwide grassroots movement to fight hunger and provide items for basic needs. The Willow Center is a nonprofit organization in Rochester that offers a variety of services to families and children. The AC ceramics class was happy to donate all of the proceeds from the event, in the amount of $1,368, to the Willow Center.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Entrepreneurship, Kid Kudos, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches