The Pathway

Helping Students Navigate High School Admissions

On September 21, BEAM hosted its annual High School Information Session to help BEAM 8th graders and their families navigate the New York City high school admissions process.

BEAM staff broke down the application process step by step, while four BEAM high schoolers talked about their admissions experiences.

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Hawa, who is now in 9th grade at Beacon High School, told BEAM students: "Keep in contact with the BEAM staff because they will help you if you have an issue. When I was applying to Beacon, I almost did not apply, but because the BEAM staff helped me with my mailing, I was able to get accepted."

What’s next for BEAM 8th graders?

BEAM staff are meeting one-on-one with 8th graders and their families to develop their lists of prospective high schools. (BEAM offers advising in Spanish, Chinese, and English.)

Since August, students have also been taking Saturday classes to prepare for the SHSAT and to work on writing admissions essays for selective high schools.

 BEAM staff will also be taking students on school visits soon, and will review students’ final school rankings with them before they are submitted in December.

 For families who missed the High School Information Session, another session is planned for November.

BEAM College Prep Week

BEAM alumni, (clockwise from top left) Ana, Ariel, John, Crisleidy, and Quentin, speak with BEAM 11th and 12th graders about college admissions and college life.

BEAM alumni, (clockwise from top left) Ana, Ariel, John, Crisleidy, and Quentin, speak with BEAM 11th and 12th graders about college admissions and college life.

During College Prep Week, BEAM alumni offered great advice for the gathered 11th and 12th graders about getting into and through college.

Here’s just a little bit of what they said:

Question — What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d had while you were applying to colleges?

  • Get someone who doesn’t know you to read your essay; it can be uncomfortable but it made my essay better.

  • Find a set time and dedicate it to college stuff (like Thursday office hours at BEAM).

  • The library is your best friend. Use it during free periods, after school, whenever you can.

  • Don’t apply to 18 colleges.

In a week of workshops, BEAM students learned about college admissions, financial aid, choosing the right college, standardized tests, and more. Twelfth graders worked on college essays.

Oh, and there was Jeopardy!

Vanessa said about College Prep Week, “I learned about FAFSA, CSS, TAP, QuestBridge, and how BEAM will help me. I feel more prepared to approach the college process."

BEAM's Empowerment Groups

Recently, an article featuring Dr. Edray Goins, a Black mathematician and past speaker at BEAM, gave a glimpse into what it can feel like to be “the only one”. His perspective is a compelling reminder that while STEM careers can be rewarding and exciting, for students coming from historically marginalized communities, the world of STEM can also be incredibly lonely. When you look around a math class and find you are the only person of color or the only woman, it can be a demoralizing experience. STEM spaces are often dominated by people who either accidentally or overtly send the message that underrepresented minorities don’t belong.

Because of the social and emotional dynamics that come with pursuing STEM as an underrepresented minority, STEM preparedness for our students means more than academics. Beyond foundational math and science skills, students need opportunities to grow in their confidence and self-determination needed to excel in a social environment that can be hostile. Ayinde, our College Support Coordinator, and Sylvia, our High School Programs Social Worker, are tackling this aspect of STEM preparedness through a new BEAM initiative: empowerment groups.

Empowerment from within is something they have to keep moving at. And I think that is where it intersects with STEM.
— Sylvia
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Sylvia leads the Young Women’s Empowerment Group while Ayinde organizes the Young Men’s Empowerment Group. Sylvia and Ayinde share their thoughts on this special project, why they launched it, and what they have learned so far.

What is an empowerment group?

Ayinde: So I think for me, the core of it is, identifying your own viewpoints and your thoughts on yourself and where you stand in society at large. Because I think, especially at the time around high school (college too), there are so many factors that go into how you see yourself, and so many of those come from outside sources: friends, family, media. The point of an empowerment group is to center that, so that the primary source is internal, the primary source is coming from you.

Sylvia: For the women’s empowerment group, that [title] is word for word what we are trying to do; we are trying to empower women. I look back on myself in high school and I think if I had had a support group like that I would have been more confident. Girls are raised to be careful, and boys are raised to take risks. So we have conversations about this within group, and the goal is for them to feel empowered to do anything that they want to do regardless of gender. But also it is a safe space. So I think it is a very therapeutic space. But also a space for them to feel empowered to reach their goals, and reach their potential. I want them to get to a point where they want to accomplish goals not because they are perfect but because they are brave and want to do these things for themselves.

Why empowerment groups? How did you get this idea?

Sylvia: As the social worker in the office, and at first as the only not mathematical person in the office, it felt like BEAM was missing something and there was something in my toolbox that I could add. And so I was helping a student with a summer program application, and I really encouraged her and kinda pushed her. She got in and she said it was great, but privately she told me about a actually really traumatic experience that happened during the program. It got me thinking about what we do here at BEAM and how we sometimes put them [students] into places where they are the only one (race or gender), and it made me think about how we can support our students more holistically. And so I sat down with Ayinde.

Ayinde: Having experience with another non-profit (as an Oliver scholar), and part of my experience then was them preparing us to be in spaces where you are going to feel like an outsider or an outcast. So having had that experience coming to BEAM, I knew we needed to move in the direction of grafting conversations like that. But it wasn't until my conversation with Sylvia that I started to see how we can go about having those conversations. The other part was I went to an all boys middle school. So I have had thoughts about boys and how they perceive their ideas about manhood and how those ideas grow, and I wanted to have space to talk about grafting one's identity for a very long time.

I think both directly and indirectly they [empowerment groups] allow us to make sure our students know the importance of how they view themselves.
— Ayinde

BEAM is about math, right, and STEM access? Where do the empowerment groups fit into that mission?

Ayinde: One of the biggest things that, I think, is getting spoken about more these days, but still not enough in my opinion, is the aspect of what it means to belong and feel like you are a part of a specific career path: to feel as though you are a engineer or a mathematician or a scientist. And lot of things go into that. A lot of things affect what students believe about themselves. I think both directly and indirectly they [empowerment groups] allow us to make sure our students know the importance of how they view themselves. Specifically, because the majority of the students in the men's group are seniors, we talk a good bit about how they view themselves and when that view comes in conflict with how the people around them view them. What I am trying to do is prepare them for when they go to college, and they are away from their friends and family, and they are in that 100 student math class, maybe with only 5 or 6 people who look like them, and maybe feel like they are the only ones struggling, when that moment comes, that is not a reflection that they don't belong in that space.

Sylvia: I agree with a lot of what Ayinde is saying, I think with women there is the other layer, of the fact that women are not represented in STEM. Also I think that currently all of the women in the women’s group are women of color, which adds another layer. So making sure that they feel confident in themselves that they can succeed in STEM if that is what they want to do. Or, if it is not, that they still have that confidence in themselves and allowing them to feel comfortable in spaces that are predominantly male dominated. Little things like when they have a disagreement and they want to share it. Or if all of the people raising their hands in the class are male, that they can feel comfortable raising their hand. Empowerment from within is something they have to keep moving at. And I think that is where it intersects with STEM. Also feeling comfortable asking for help. When you have a space to talk about stuff that you can't talk about at home or school, then it leaves more space to get more out of school. They can unburden themselves, and concentrate more on school and applications and other stuff.

How has hosting empowerment groups changed you?

Ayinde: I always wanted to create a space for young men to talk about what it means to be young men and what that means for them specifically, not what they have observed, what they've been told, but internally. But beyond really being able to do that in a concrete way, it has been seeing what that impact means: what it is now. To see a group of young men who are open in various different ways. These weren't boys who I was ever worried about them expressing themselves or having emotions, but how much that has evolved in terms of how they talk about things with each other, and how much they talk about their issues, and what they are going through, and how much they trust each other with that and to some extent me as well, to share these kinds of things with each other. The idea of brotherhood and what that looks like in its most ideal form has been something that I have thought about for quite some time and it has really been a dream to kinda see that form in this group.

BEAM staff, Sylvia and Elyse, with the Young Women’s Empowerment group on a field trip to see Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, in conversation with Stephanie Ruhle from MSNBC.

BEAM staff, Sylvia and Elyse, with the Young Women’s Empowerment group on a field trip to see Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, in conversation with Stephanie Ruhle from MSNBC.

Sylvia: I think I finally have found my niche at BEAM. I have always helped with this and that, and was very passionate about helping co-direct a BEAM site. But in this I think I have found my baby. Because I can go up to a funder or a donor and say that this is what I am doing and why it is important. I think being able to impact the girls the way I do is really great and really powerful, knowing that they know they have a mentor in me and that they look up to me.

Can you tell me about a moment that was particularly beautiful or meaningful that happened because of these groups?

Sylvia: There was one silly moment, they girls had left and I overheard them saying “oh, this is actually really cool!” I have gotten text messages from students saying thank you. There was a particular group that got pretty emotional. The girls were digging deep into feelings that they maybe hadn't been able to to share in other spaces. It was really good to see them being strong and willing to share these feelings. I think every group has its own special moment, but that in particular was really special.

Ayinde: Similarly, there are a lot of moments. One that I particularly think about was a little bit early on. In the beginning the men's group didn't have a lot of people who were consistently coming. One week, it was just myself and two students and I was worried that everybody felt like they didn't really feel the purpose of coming. That was the first time that one of the students asked a question, saying: can we talk about this thing? It led to a really beautiful conversation about identity, and at the end of it the student told me that he was really happy and it meant a lot to him that he was able to talk about it. So even though it was a small amount of people at that time, it was important and it mattered.

Ayinde works with Teo (BEAM ‘14), Jahleel (BEAM ‘15), and Zyan (BEAM ‘15) at the Young Men’s Empowerment Group. Photo taken by Peter Dressel.

Ayinde works with Teo (BEAM ‘14), Jahleel (BEAM ‘15), and Zyan (BEAM ‘15) at the Young Men’s Empowerment Group. Photo taken by Peter Dressel.

BEAM Thoughts on the College Admission Scandal

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Today, we have a guest post from Ayinde Alleyne, BEAM’s College Support Coordinator. Ayinde wrote the message below and sent it to all our students currently enrolled in college. His perspective is clear and powerful so we wanted to share it with you.

By now, I believe most of you have heard of the College Admission Scandal that made the news last week. For those who haven't, the Justice Department has charged 50 people with participating in a multi million-dollar bribery scheme to get affluent, connected students into highly competitive colleges.

We have a lot of thoughts about this at BEAM, and I'm sure that many similar discussions are happening at your colleges. I did want to share a specific thought I had with all of you.

From the moment I was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, I dealt with many versions of the idea that I didn't earn my admission. Some of those ideas came from others: hearing many factually incorrect comments about affirmative action, constantly being questioned about my grades. Some came from myself: withdrawing from an intro chemistry course my first semester, getting two Ds the next semester.

The exposure of a scandal like this makes me think about the hours you all work and sacrifices you and your families have made. Things like this provide proof that there are people who did not earn their place in college, and if anyone ever asks, use this to remind them that those people are not you.

I wanted to leave you all with an article I felt captured the culture of pressure that has been created around one version of success.

The Atlantic: “Kids Are the Victims of the Elite-College Obsession

BEAM students and families: please reach out if you want to talk about any aspect of this.

Ayinde was recently named as a 2019 PASEsetter, a champion of afterschool education. At the awards banquet, Ayinde shared his story, which you can watch here.

Ayinde advises rising college first year Aisha on prepping for college.

Ayinde advises rising college first year Aisha on prepping for college.

Welcome to BEAM’s College Prep Panel on Applying to College!

Six rising, current, and former college students from universities across the country joined BEAM's College Prep Week this August to share their experiences applying for college with BEAM rising 11th and 12th graders, currently navigating this process themselves.

Aisha BEAM '13 (Northwestern University) and Edson BEAM '13 (University of Southern California) will both start college this school year. They just recently navigated the confusing world of college applications themselves. Abdel BEAM '12 (NYU Polytechnic), Ana BEAM '12 (Barnard College), and John BEAM '12 (Fordham University) are all rising sophomores and can look back at their college application process with a whole year of college experience under their belt. Finally, Sylvia, BEAM staff and a graduate of SUNY Albany, rounds out our panel with an inside perspective on the SUNY system and the wisdom of several years of work experience.

The panel had a lot to say about their college application process, and answered many important questions: the how’s and the what’s, the in’s and the out’s, the up’s and the downs of getting into college. Our panelists talked about topics like choosing schools and time management skills. If you are applying for college or just want some advice, here are some of the questions and answers of our College Prep Panel!

From left to right: Abdel, Sylvia, Aisha, Edson, John, and Ana address rising 11th and 12th graders during College Prep Week.

From left to right: Abdel, Sylvia, Aisha, Edson, John, and Ana address rising 11th and 12th graders during College Prep Week.

How did you choose which colleges to apply to? What kind of things went into that? 

  • Aisha: I was looking for schools that were well-rounded. And schools that I could switch majors, because I knew I was coming in undecided. And schools that had good financial aid.

  • Abdel: I looked at three things. Money. Location. Major. Location: my parents wanted me to stay close to home. So in the city. In state you get more money, especially since NYU has a HEOP program that covers a lot of costs. In terms of major, engineering.

  • Ana: High school affected a lot. I wanted the opposite of my high school experience [at Brooklyn Tech]. Fewer men. Farther from home.

Can you explain a little bit about the common application? 

Sylvia is a Program Assistant at BEAM and one of her major roles is shepherding the current 12th graders through the college process.

Sylvia is a Program Assistant at BEAM and one of her major roles is shepherding the current 12th graders through the college process.

  • Sylvia: It is like a portal, where you can submit all your applications through this one website.

  • John: So it is very convenient.

In your later years of high school, say 11th and 12 grade, how do you split up your time? 

  • Aisha: It all depends on what your situation is like. For me I kinda figure out how to split up time in November [of twelfth grade]. It all depended on my schedule; if something was due for school I would just get it out of way right then and there because I needed to use all of my time for applications.

  • Sylvia: Something that I prioritized was taking care of myself too. It is important to take care of myself too. Having a planner is important so you can schedule around [taking care of yourself].

  • Ana: Time management is definitely important. That is something that I am still learning to do. It is something that I didn't know how to do in high school so I wasn't taking care of myself. So like keeping a planner I can't stress it enough.

Do you use a paper planner? What do you use? 

  • Sylvia: I had a paper planner that was really helpful for me. Now, at work, I use an app called Evernote.

  • Aisha: I use the reminder app on my phone. Because I procrastinate, I would make a fake deadline that is earlier.

  • Ana: I use a paper planner. I think writing down kinda speaks it into existence. If I don't write it down it's not getting done.

A note from BEAM: rising 11th graders who attend Saturday BEAM Next classes get some swanky planners, donated to us by Passion Planner. We may have extra planners for those not going to Saturday classes and 11th and 12th graders can request those!

How early should you start working on things and what should you focus on? 

  • Abdel: Start asking for recommendation letters. I'd say recommendation letters should be the first on your list to do. Personal statement. Start thinking about what you are going to write the summer before.

  • Sylvia: Just start thinking about your essay in your mind. They have the prompts on common app beforehand. So you can start getting ideas.

  • John: Making a spread sheet about yourself, everything you have done. Also... BEAM does give you a calendar of when things should be done. The earliest we started was January of 11th grade, drafting our essays. That is something you can start on just choosing which days, days you are going to thing about college applications, days you are going to study for SAT.

John starts early! Here he is at BEAM College Prep Week 2016 along with Zereena, also BEAM '12, who attends SUNY Binghamton. They're both working on their essays!

John starts early! Here he is at BEAM College Prep Week 2016 along with Zereena, also BEAM '12, who attends SUNY Binghamton. They're both working on their essays!

Did any of you let average grades discourage you? 

  • Edson: I didn't let it discourage me. Mostly because I am a very optimistic. Even if you are doing good, keep shooting to do better. Because what colleges care about is growth.

  • Aisha: I realized after all the college stuff was done and people started getting acceptances, I realized that grades are important but that isn't all they look at. They aren't just looking for a good grade, they are looking for someone who can bring something extra to their school as a person.

Someone mentioned something about being well-rounded? What if you don't have the time? 

  • Sylvia: There were small clubs that I was part of, and you know being on a club doesn't have to take too much time. So I think it is about finding your own niche, what you can do, what you enjoy and what your school offers.

  • John: Basketball. Cross country. Dancing. You can also list taking care of brothers and sisters at home as an activity.

  • Abdel: Volunteering. Working. It's not just sports.

How do you figure out how many schools to apply to? 

  • Aisha: I applied to too many schools that had a lot of requirements. My case was that 14 of my schools involved writing supplemental essays, sending extra stuff, it was also really expensive.

  • Abdel: There are three types of schools that you can apply too. Safety, reach and target. I would just say balance it out and make sure you are not overdoing it.

  • Sylvia: I think another way to narrow down your list is actually talking to people who went to the school.

What was something that you don't like about your school that you wished you looked at? 

  • Sylvia: How expensive it was.

  • Edson: The diversity of the school. USC is still a great school, but the diversity is kinda unbalanced. I wish I would have looked into it.

  • Ana: I kinda knew what I was getting myself into as far as the student body looked like and even the social life looks like. One thing that I wish I had known was how economically segregated it is.

How did you brainstorm your ideas for your essay? 

  • Aisha: For me, my high school they had for incoming seniors it was mandatory you needed to write two essays about things that you might want to. I didn't want to write about being undecided. But then I heard this song. And it was an awesome song. So I decided to write about being undecided. Because that song was about being undecided. I wrote two sentences and gave it to my teacher and she didn't like it because it was about being undecided. But I liked it so I wrote about that.

  • Edson: My teacher said think of something that is really personal to you. I was like I will write about tacos as a joke. Imagine a donut, a jelly donut, the way to structure your essay is to get down to the jelly. Like why you really want to get an education. So I wrote about how tacos are really personal to me. How such a simple food can be a luxury for people who don't have a lot of money.

Final words of wisdom? 

  • John: I think the thing that helped me the most was, I play a lot of basketball and I met upperclassmen through basketball. Meet people through whatever activities interest you.

  • Aisha: Don't psyche yourself out too much about certain statistics. If you really want to apply for a school then just go for it. For my school, I didn't look at the acceptance rate, and if I had I wouldn't have applied in the first place. And I am really glad that I did.

  • Abdel: Try new stuff.

From left to right: Abdel, Ana, John, Aisha, and Edson, each wearing college gear!

From left to right: Abdel, Ana, John, Aisha, and Edson, each wearing college gear!

Advice for Your First Summer at BEAM

Recently, we sat down with some of our older BEAM students to ask them what advice they would give to new students entering BEAM for the first time.  Here's what they had to say!

Zavier at All Star Code, 2015. 

Zavier at All Star Code, 2015. 

Zavier just finished his sophomore year at SUNY Albany where he has declared a major in computer science and a minor in art. He was a member of BEAM's first ever summer cohort: 2011. He was a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6's first summer (2016) and became of the first two BEAM alumni to work for us as full Counselors in 2017 (counselors must have completed a year of college). In 2018, he's flying to Los Angeles to staff the first summer of BEAM 6 LA. Beyond BEAM, Zavier was a member of the first ever cohort at All Star Code and he has extensive experience in coding, maker spaces, and teaching tech skills. Lots of firsts for Zavier! 

What should students expect from BEAM?

Students should expect to be encouraged to learn and be challenged by the questions they're given. They should expect to have people around them willing to help them through problems whether those problems have to do with math or not. Most importantly, students should expect to have a good time. BEAM is where I met some of the good friends I have today and I still look back on that summer remembering some of the fun times that I had.

Zavier plays tennis at BEAM 7 in 2011. 

Zavier plays tennis at BEAM 7 in 2011. 

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?   

The advice that I would give to a student starting BEAM is: don't feel discouraged by hard problems and don't be afraid to ask for help. BEAM helped me realize that as we grow, things become more difficult and problems seem to require more thought. Practicing patience and deeper thinking is all part of the process.

Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

I keep coming back to BEAM because of the supportive staff. BEAM has opened the door to a lot of opportunities for me. They helped me when I was applying to high schools, they helped me when I was looking for summer programs, they helped me apply to college, and they even helped me find a job. It feels good to know that I have people who are always willing to help me out and it motivates me to do my best!

Zavier teaches Javascript to Elvis at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

Zavier teaches Javascript to Elvis at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

Tanasia at College Decision Day, 2018

Tanasia at College Decision Day, 2018

Tanasia, 12th grade, will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall where she plans to major in math. She has spent three summers at BEAM, as a 7th grade student in 2013, and then as a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in 2016 and 2017. During the school year, she coaches two math teams at BEAM partner middle schools, including one at her own alma mater!

What should students expect from BEAM?

The math will be difficult; you won't get it right away. You might even struggle for the first two weeks! But you'll expand how you look at math. You'll make friendships and connections that will last for a long time. It's a new, fun experience. 

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?

Don't be afraid to ask the staff for help! Also: even with math, the counselors don't know everything. That's normal in math, not to know everything. 

Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

I love to see where the students start and where they end. They evolve as mathematicians and they can solve problems they couldn't do before. It's amazing. 

Tanasia plays chess with Jack, BEAM 6 (2016)

Tanasia plays chess with Jack, BEAM 6 (2016)

John showing his school pride! 

John showing his school pride! 

John just finished his freshman year at Fordham University, where he plans to declare a major in chemistry. He is also taking pre-med coursework and aims to be a surgeon. John attended Bard High School Early College and graduated with both a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree. He attended BEAM 7 in 2012, and has contributed to BEAM in so many ways since! He was a junior counselor at BEAM 6 in 2016 and 2017, he is the TA for our 8th grade Algebra class, and he works in the BEAM office as an part-time assistant during the school year. In summer 2018, he and two friends who also attended BEAM 7 in 2012 (Joel and Quentin), will be counselors at BEAM 7 Bard College. They are the first BEAM alumni to go back as staff to the exact same program they attended as students!

What should students expect from BEAM? 

I was expecting math all day and not much fun. But you should expect to be in a community of math lovers. For me, the community was the thing. I enjoyed being in a space where everyone loved math, shared my interests. Expect to be in a loving, math community. Expect to be challenged. Expect to make amazing friends you'll keep for a century. Expect to have fun: trips are amazing, the food is good, activities. It's not just math all the time; it's something immersive. 

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?   

Keep an open mind. It may seem tedious to lose your summer, but you'll have fun. I was afraid the first day. So, be open. Step a little outside your comfort zone. Those might be your friends for the rest of your life. 

Quentin (left, red cap), John (next to him), and members of the BEAM 7 community in 2012 during a karaoke activity. 

Quentin (left, red cap), John (next to him), and members of the BEAM 7 community in 2012 during a karaoke activity. 

When you spent that first summer with us, did you ever think you would end up being such good friends with Quentin?

He came up to me. I don't remember what he said. But ever since then, we became friends, playing basketball. BEAM helped us stay friends because they introduced us to the same high school. So I've stayed friends with him ever since. Derek, too! I didn't get to know Derek much that summer, but we became friends during high school and we still talk. 

Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

Honestly? I want to stay part of a community that's so supportive, loves math. I want to give back. BEAM helped me move in the direction I'm moving in now. I want to influence the next generation as they figure out their path. It's an amazing program, amazing community that should continue to exist and I want to help that. 

The BEAM 6 group photo from 2017! Quentin (white jacket) is in the front row and John is all the way in the back. Mona, Zavier, Tanasia, and Rashik are here, too: Mona is in the front, on the left, Zavier is wearing a black cap in the middle on the right, Tanasia is in the middle, near the back, and Rashik is in the center, left with a baseball cap on. 

The BEAM 6 group photo from 2017! Quentin (white jacket) is in the front row and John is all the way in the back. Mona, Zavier, Tanasia, and Rashik are here, too: Mona is in the front, on the left, Zavier is wearing a black cap in the middle on the right, Tanasia is in the middle, near the back, and Rashik is in the center, left with a baseball cap on. 

Crisleidy at the Moth City Slam, spring 2018. 

Crisleidy at the Moth City Slam, spring 2018. 

Crisleidy is graduating from Brooklyn Tech this June. She's taking a gap year next year, working at City Year (an Americorps program). During the year, she volunteers at BEAM Next, our program for 9th and 10th graders, teaching life skills (like study skills). This summer, she will be a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in NYC. 

What should students expect from BEAM? 

To step out of your comfort zone. There's a lot of new stuff. I didn't know any math, puzzle, logic games before the summer and then I got really into them. 

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?  

Learn how to play chess! There's people at the program who know and they'll teach you. Try everything once! There might be something you enjoy. But you don't have to try anything you're not comfortable with. 
 
Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

It's fun. I love the people. A nice community, a family. I can't get enough! Plus, I appreciate all the help I've gotten.

Crisleidy plays her favorite board game, Ricochet Robots, at BEAM 7 in 2013. 

Crisleidy plays her favorite board game, Ricochet Robots, at BEAM 7 in 2013. 

Rashik, volunteer math grading in 2018.

Rashik, volunteer math grading in 2018.

Rashik is an 11th grader at Bard High School Early College, which means he's currently dual-enrolled in "Year 1", the first year of his Associate's Degree. Rashik attended BEAM 7 in 2014. He was a Junior Counselor in 2017 and will be returning to that role in summer 2018. During the school year, he coaches math teams at two BEAM partner middle schools. 

What should students expect from BEAM? 

I think students should expect it to be an uncomfortable environment at first but once they're in the flow of things they'll love what they're learning and that they're surrounded by people that who also love what they're learning. Also, students should expect work they've never seen before: they may be confused by it, or it might take them longer than their normal math questions.

Rashik presents the solution to a challenge problem at BEAM 7 in 2014. 

Rashik presents the solution to a challenge problem at BEAM 7 in 2014. 

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM? 

The most important advice I'd give is that you have to persevere and keep working even when it gets really frustrating. There's no feeling worse than being stuck on a problem forever, but there's also no feeling better than finally solving that problem. In terms of social advice, I'd tell the kids to be themselves. There are other amazing kids at BEAM, so be brave and try to make new friends and have new experiences.

Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

I keep coming back to BEAM partly because I made some amazing friends and that small circle still exists today. But also because the open environment that BEAM has established makes me always feel welcomed; I feel like I can go to them for any problem. I always feel like I have a community outside of school or home that I can go to for help. Plus, BEAM also takes me to Yale every year which is pretty cool. 

Rashik, Eli, Tanasia, and Andy in January 2018 at our MATHCOUNTS prep event. All four of these high school students coach math teams at our partner middle schools!

Rashik, Eli, Tanasia, and Andy in January 2018 at our MATHCOUNTS prep event. All four of these high school students coach math teams at our partner middle schools!

Mona at BEAM College Day, fall 2016. 

Mona at BEAM College Day, fall 2016. 

Mona is graduating from the Academy for Software Engineering this June. She'll be attending Barnard College as a HEOP Scholar this fall. She plans to major in mathematics with a computer science concentration. During the year, Mona is the TA for BEAM's Saturday programming class (for 9th and 10th graders). She was also been a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

What should students expect from BEAM? 

To have a lot of fun. Honestly. You might not expect that. Maybe your parents pushed you to do it. But it's not like school, it's fun. At the same time, expect it to be challenging.

What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?  

Be open minded. Lots of activities you might not be sure about. Don't say: I'm not good at this, I don't want to try it. Check it out!
 
Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

It's a family! It's relationships. The people are easy to talk to, they make you feel comfortable. That sounds cheesy but it's true. 

Mona (front) with a dozen BEAM students at our annual Slightly Mathy Trivia Night, fall 2017. Crisleidy, John, and Rashik are also pictured!

Mona (front) with a dozen BEAM students at our annual Slightly Mathy Trivia Night, fall 2017. Crisleidy, John, and Rashik are also pictured!

Center for Talented Youth Admissions Results

On Saturday, December 16, 25 BEAM students took the admissions test for the Center for Talented Youth (CTY).  CTY offers students three-week summer programs in math, science, English, and humanities, provided they score well either the math or verbal section of an admissions exam (the SCAT). 

This week, we found out that a 18 students passed the test, qualifying to take either math or verbal courses, or both!  Next summer, they could take courses ranging from Discrete Math to Astronomy to Philosophy.  CTY's summer programs normally cost about $4000, but their exemplary financial aid means that the median BEAM student pays only $100 to attend. 

Congratulations to Jordan, Mariwa, Consuelo, Awa, Yeramis, Mohamed, Anthony, Noe, Emyr and 9 other students who have opened a door to the next opportunity!  We are so proud of you all.

CTY Collage.jpg

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!

Center for Talented Youth Admissions Results

On Saturday, December 3, 35 BEAM students took the admissions test for Center for Talented Youth (CTY).  CTY offers students three-week summer programs in math, science, English, and humanities, provided they score well either the math or verbal section of an admissions exam (the SCAT). 

This week, we found out that an unprecedented 29 students passed the test, qualifying to take either math or verbal courses, or both!  Next summer, they could take courses ranging from Discrete Math to Astronomy to Philosophy.  CTY's summer programs normally cost about $4000, but their exemplary financial aid means that the median BEAM students pays only $100 to attend. 

Congratulations to Crystal, Xavier, Ari, Gustavo, Stephanie, Luis, Dakota, Leny, Grace and 20 other students who have opened a door to the next opportunity!  We are so proud of you all.

CTY mosaic