Announcements

BEAM Is Expanding!

For some time now, BEAM has been brainstorming ideas about how to reach students nationally.  Recently, part of this expansion idea received pilot funding through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation! The funding allows BEAM to develop materials for school districts, community groups, and universities to directly run summer programs modeled on BEAM Discovery, our nonresidential program for rising 7th graders. As part of the grant, Mathematica Policy Research will evaluate the results; we will be carefully monitoring the project’s progress.

We are proud to have two partners for summer 2020: Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) in Tennessee and Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico. They will select staff, recruit students, and coordinate with local partners. Meanwhile, BEAM is busy packaging courses and developing training guides for faculty and staff at our partner sites. It's an experiment, but an important one. If it's successful, we can bring BEAM-style learning to many more students.

Today, we’re excited to introduce the Marjorie Lee Browne STEM Education Fellowship.

Named after a prominent African-American mathematician and educator, the Marjorie Lee Browne STEM Education Fellowship (or the Browne STEM Fellowship) is a six-week internship program and partnership between BEAM, MTR, and the National Civil Rights Museum. Fellows will receive intensive training in pedagogy, cultural competency, and math content, and will serve as counselors at MTR’s STEM Discovery Camp during summer 2020.

The National Civil Rights Museum will also be equipping fellows with a broad, historical perspective of the civil rights movement and its intersection with education.

The Browne STEM Fellowship is designed for college undergraduates who are people of color interested in teaching secondary math and science.  Applications are being accepted until January 15, 2020.

Interested in the Browne STEM Fellowship? Click here for more information.


MTR visits BEAM Discovery NYC to see the program in action.  (From left to right: Chuck Butler, Austin Bettis, Caroline O’Hare, and Jordan Latham.)

MTR visits BEAM Discovery NYC to see the program in action.
(From left to right: Chuck Butler, Austin Bettis, Caroline O’Hare, and Jordan Latham.)

Check back soon for a partner spotlight on Albuquerque Public Schools.

Congratulations, 8th Graders!

This month, BEAM students found out where they will be attending high school.  We are pleased to announce that, so far, 51% of our 8th graders will be attending Tier One high schools and 56% will be attending either Tier One or Tier Two high schools. At this point, 67% will be attending "trusted" schools, which meet BEAM's minimum standards for college preparation. We say "at this point" because every year a few students are under-matched in the process. We are currently working with students who were not admitted to high schools that meet our standards to make sure that they can navigate the appeals process and find a good fit for the next four years.

BEAM students were admitted to: 

  • Bard High School Early College (15)

  • The Beacon School (4)

  • Brooklyn Latin (4)

  • Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (4)

  • Manhattan/Hunter Science High School (4)

  • Brooklyn Tech (3)

  • The Laboratory School for Finance and Technology (3)

  • NEST+m (3)

  • University Heights High School (3)

  • Benjamin Banneker Academy (2)

  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (2)

  • Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science (2)

  • Millennium Brooklyn High School (2)

  • NYC Museum School (2)

  • Baccalaureate School for Global Education

  • Bronx Science

  • Midwood High School

  • Millennium High School

  • NYC iSchool

  • NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies

  • Stuyvesant

  • Central Park East High School

  • East Side Community School

  • Bedford Academy

  • Collegiate Institute For Math And Science

  • High School for Health Professions and Human Services

  • Urban Assembly NY Harbor School

Aamirah, Brooklyn Tech

Aamirah, Brooklyn Tech

Ahmed, University Heights

Ahmed, University Heights

Kathy, Brooklyn Latin

Kathy, Brooklyn Latin

Ethan, Bard High School Early College

Ethan, Bard High School Early College

“At first I was overwhelmed and confused but BEAM gave me good advice and I ended up getting into my first choice school!”
— Ethan, 8th Grade

These 79 8th graders join 300+ BEAM students already in high school. We're so proud of you all!

New Names, Same Great Programs!

At BEAM Discovery 2018, two students work together to solve a math problem.

At BEAM Discovery 2018, two students work together to solve a math problem.

Here at BEAM we are incredibly excited for the new year! We are already diving into hiring our summer staff and admissions for our summer programs. We anticipate many highs and lows as waves of college and high school acceptances for our current BEAM students roll in. As BEAM braces for all the fresh and familiar that the new year is bound to bring, this seems like the perfect time to debut our programs’ shiny new names. Throughout the fall of 2018, BEAM staff spent some time carefully thinking about how to update our program names to make sure they truly showcase what our programs are about. After much thought, we are excited to announce our new program titles.

Our summer program after 6th grade, formerly BEAM 6, will now be known as BEAM Discovery. We’ve made an even bigger change to our other program, BEAM 7. Recognizing that we now support students from 7th grade through college, we’ve renamed it the BEAM Pathway Program, which comprises the summer program and all that comes beyond. The idea behind these new names is that first you discover BEAM, then you walk down the pathway with us, which culminates in college graduation! There are many steps in the BEAM Pathway Program, each with its own name: BEAM Summer Away (the residential summer program), BEAM 8th Grade Support, BEAM HS Support, BEAM College Prep, and BEAM College Support.

Of course, being our usual nerdy selves, we had to throw around some rather mathy name suggestions before we settled on this sensible line up. While we ended up choosing names that are a little more practical and prosaic, we felt these whimsical, mathematical suggestions deserved an honorable mention as runners-up:

  • 7th Grade Summer Program: BEAM Axiom

  • 8th Grade Saturdays: BEAM Hypothesis

  • 9th-10th Grade Saturdays: BEAM Conjecture

  • 11th-12th Grade Saturdays: BEAM Infinity

  • College Support: BEAM Omega

As fun as these names were, we wanted to make sure that our new names clearly conveyed what each step of our pathway is really about. We believe we have captured each BEAM program with the name we have chosen, and we are excited to fully transition to using our up-to-date names here in 2019!

Students at BEAM Summer Away 2018 explore a waterfall together!

Students at BEAM Summer Away 2018 explore a waterfall together!

Aisha's Off to Northwestern!

BEAM 7 back in 2013; Aisha is standing in a pink t-shirt about one-third of the way from the left. 

BEAM 7 back in 2013; Aisha is standing in a pink t-shirt about one-third of the way from the left. 

Five years ago, 39 seventh graders had just completed their first summer at BEAM. For some of them, it was their first time out of the city, or their first time away from their family. All of them were going to spend three weeks now living away from home and learning advanced math.

This summer, those same students graduated high school (including three with an Associate's Degree) and are just now starting college. Meanwhile, 370 students completed their own first summer at BEAM. It’s a time for looking backward and looking forward, so we asked one of our rising college goers, Aisha, to reflect on the last five years, from the start of BEAM 7 to her journey to college this fall. 

Aisha and Shikya learn to solder, July 2013

Aisha and Shikya learn to solder, July 2013

In spring 2013, Aisha decided to attend BEAM because she really loved math, especially geometry puzzles. The program also promised a chance to get away from home, make new friends, and have fun. She figured she would learn some new skills, but other than that she wasn’t sure what to expect. 

At BEAM, Aisha took courses on Proofs, Circuit Design, Statistics, and Math Team Strategies. Her instructor in Math Team Strategies described her as “intent on understanding and solving problems.” She loved the math, which she found to be different and more challenging than what she saw in school, but it wasn’t just the math that altered her trajectory. When asked how she had changed during the summer, she wrote, “I have changed because now I don’t give up. I used to give up a lot, so for me to keep going even when I get frustrated is different.” 

Aisha quote.jpg

We asked all our students what BEAM could do to support them after that summer, and Aisha responded: “I would like to stay in contact because I think I might need help and this camp helped me understand a lot of things I was confused with.”

Aisha, June 2018

Aisha, June 2018

And stay in touch she did! In 8th grade, we helped her pick a high school, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics. In 9th grade, long before BEAM offered such comprehensive support, we encouraged her to apply to a mentoring program, Minds Matter, where she spent her summers and Saturdays for the next three years. In 11th and 12th grade, when her high school guidance counselor didn’t have the time to give her personal attention, Aisha turned to BEAM to be her college adviser. After being admitted to Northwestern University on a full scholarship, she turned to BEAM again to evaluate her financial aid package and get advice on applying for a summer bridge program to work on her writing skills. This summer, she will be working at BEAM 6 as a Junior Counselor, teaching and inspiring the next generation of BEAM students. 

We asked Aisha to look back and reflect. Here’s what she wrote:

From the summer of 2013 until now, BEAM has been a constant factor in my life. The staff at BEAM have supported me and been there for me during my achievements as well as during my failures. They have aided me in so many ways, enriching my ability and my personality. They helped me find a high school that best fit me and they presented me with opportunities for next steps, preparing me for college and the professional world. 

Most importantly, throughout the entire college process, BEAM has helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. The college process was one of the most difficult and draining times during my high school experience. However, what made it better was BEAM. When I had to change my college list at the last minute or when I was struggling to write essays, or when I cried because things were too expensive and I couldn’t handle the stress, BEAM helped me any way they could. I particularly appreciate the last-minute grant from BEAM’s Last Dollar Fund to cover $132 in SAT score reports that I needed to send in December 2017, just days before my Common Application was due. 

I am grateful to be part of BEAM. I know without them I could never have reached the position I am in today. BEAM has done so much for me. I love being part of this BEAM family. 

Now we’d like to turn around and share our appreciation with the entire community of BEAM supporters. Over the five years that Aisha has been part of BEAM, we have grown both the number of students we serve and the services we offer. When Aisha started BEAM, we didn’t even have an office; our two staff members each worked from home. Today, we have offices on both coasts. At the time, we had little high school support and no college support. Today, we not only offer college admissions advising to a core group of students, we are also adding advising through college to ensure that students like Aisha will graduate with STEM degrees. Aisha will get support from BEAM on how to choose classes, how to build relationships with professors, how to declare a major, and how to land an internship, along with regular reminders for all the logistics like filing her FAFSA. Already, at our 12th grade graduation party, Aisha sat down to discuss how an undecided student selects courses for her first semester. We feel confident that in four short years, we will be announcing her college graduation and exciting next plans. 

Aisha (right) discusses college plans with Ayinde, BEAM's College Support Coordinator.

Aisha (right) discusses college plans with Ayinde, BEAM's College Support Coordinator.

Thank you to each and every BEAM donor, summer staff members, family member, peer, and cheerleader. Your support of BEAM allows us to turn around and support Aisha in ways both large and small. Aisha says she wouldn’t be here without BEAM; BEAM would not be here without your support. 

PS: Where are the other BEAM students headed?

Aisha in Spain, during her 2017 summer program where she interned at a maker space. 

Aisha in Spain, during her 2017 summer program where she interned at a maker space. 

Aisha (center) rehearses for the BEAM 7 talent show back in 2013. 

Aisha (center) rehearses for the BEAM 7 talent show back in 2013. 

Zanahya, a rising 7th grader, learns to solder at BEAM 6 in 2018. Aisha, who learned to solder at BEAM 7 five years earlier was the teaching assistant for this course. 

Zanahya, a rising 7th grader, learns to solder at BEAM 6 in 2018. Aisha, who learned to solder at BEAM 7 five years earlier was the teaching assistant for this course. 

BEAM students announce their college plans at College Decision Day at the Apollo Theater, May 2018.  Back row: Elijah (Howard), Henry (UMass Amherst), Tanasia (Rochester), Ariel (Brandeis)  Front row: Vielka (SUNY ESF), Aishat (Yale), Will (Haverford), Aisha (Northwestern), Malachi (SUNY Binghamton)

BEAM students announce their college plans at College Decision Day at the Apollo Theater, May 2018.

Back row: Elijah (Howard), Henry (UMass Amherst), Tanasia (Rochester), Ariel (Brandeis)

Front row: Vielka (SUNY ESF), Aishat (Yale), Will (Haverford), Aisha (Northwestern), Malachi (SUNY Binghamton)

Aisha graduates from Manhattan Center School for Science and Mathematics, June 2018. 

Aisha graduates from Manhattan Center School for Science and Mathematics, June 2018. 

Aisha, front, second from left, sits on a panel of BEAM staff and alums providing college application advice to rising 11th and 12th graders, August 2018. 

Aisha, front, second from left, sits on a panel of BEAM staff and alums providing college application advice to rising 11th and 12th graders, August 2018. 

BEAM Faculty Doing Great Things: Ben Blum-Smith on Math and Democracy

Ben with students at Ted
ben_web.jpg

Our summer staff do amazing things! Recently, Ben Blum-Smith was named to the Spring 2018 class of TED Residents, which is a chance for big thinkers to workshop and share their big ideas with others. 

As the culminating experience of the residency, Ben and his fellow residents each gave a TED talk (not online yet!). Ben invited three BEAM students to the talks, both his and the fellow residents, and they had this to say about the experience:

Attending this talk impacted me on a philosophical, emotional, and most importantly educational level. I met an urban planner, that was cool. I’m into math and politics, so that was cool. And revolutionizing data collection is awesome. I’m very excited about this opportunity. It was awesome.
— Abrahan, 12th grade
Abrahan cropped.jpg
Representation matters a tremendous amount to me and seeing people like me, as well as people from diverse backgrounds, was inspiring. I heard ideas on topics that matter to me, like an imbalance of resources to people of lower income as well as other amazing ideas that I haven’t thought much about.
The entire show, I visualized myself on stage. I imagined one day being able to give a TED talk myself. This experience has been so inspiring.
— Camila, 8th grade
Camila cropped.jpg
The best way to learn something new is to simply do more of it. Last summer, [at BEAM 7 at Union College,] I went to lecture on voting which was really interesting. Now, I’ve been to both of Ben’s talks on gerrymandering [at TED and at the Museum of Mathematics]. The thing that has helped me get better and be more interested in math is seeing the bigger things that I could do in math or physics once I learn the practical parts. These things can be fun and interesting, and last a long time in my mind.
— Porter, 8th grade
Porter Cropped.JPG

Ben: keep up the incredible work! Thanks so much for inviting BEAM students along for the ride. 

PS: Keep an eye on the Museum of Mathematics' YouTube page for a link to Ben's longer Math Encounters. 

Ben Blum-Smith is a teacher and mathematician who is exploring the interface between math and democracy. He also works to broaden access to the field, through organizations such as the Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics and the Bard Prison Initiative.

They're off to college! Congrats to BEAM 12th Graders

BEAM 2012

Five years ago, these students were 7th graders heading to BEAM for the first time. Today, they are 12th graders who are one month away from high school graduation!

While we haven't yet heard back from all 38 BEAM alumni, we want to take a minute to congratulate these students on their admissions results!  

  • Abdel: New York University

  • Abdoulaye: George Washington University

  • Amy: Fordham University

  • Ana: Barnard College

  • Angelina: University of Rochester

  • Ashlee: SUNY Albany

  • Derek: Colby College

  • Dominic: Pace University

  • Emalee: Hunter College (CUNY)

  • Greiny: SUNY Geneseo

  • Gustavo: Brooklyn College (CUNY)

  • Isaiah: SUNY Potsdam

  • Jahdel: City Tech

  • Jamila: Howard University

  • Joel: Wesleyan University

  • John: Fordham University

  • Kiara D: Lehigh University

  • Kiara J: John Jay College

  • Loquan: SUNY Albany

  • Nathaniel: Bronx Community College

  • Nicole: New York University

  • Quentin: Ithaca College

  • Salimatou: Baruch College (CUNY)

  • Shaunicia: University of Bridgeport

  • Stephanie: SUNY Plattsburgh

  • Taylor: Allegheny College

  • Zereena: SUNY Binghamton

Check back on this post throughout the spring: college decisions will be added as we hear back!

Thanks to Science Sandbox!

Science Sandbox

Announcing: New funding from Science Sandbox!

BEAM is proud to announce a $300,000 grant from Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science

The mission of Science Sandbox is to "unlock scientific thinking by engaging people with the process of science.
We support and help build programs that reinforce a powerful notion: You
don’t have to be a scientist to think like a scientist."

We are deeply grateful for their support and so pleased to have generous funding from like-minded organizations, enabling us to keep BEAM programs running for years to come. 

More About Science Sandbox

Science Sandbox is dedicated to inspiring a deeper interest in science, especially among those who don’t think of themselves as science enthusiasts. We support and collaborate with programs that unlock scientific thinking in everyone.  
Our partnerships invite a wide audience to engage in the scientific process — a process defined by curiosity, contingent upon asking questions, and informed by reliable evidence — to find solutions to everyday problems.
Funded projects include film and other media productions, informal education experiences, live science events and awareness campaigns.
Our funding criteria reflect our belief in the positive effects of infusing the culture with scientific thinking. We seek grantees who bring science to the people, tell science stories in innovative ways, and make science relevant to everyday life.