BEAM's Pre-Summer Newsletter has arrived!

Today, BEAM's quarterly newsletter arrived in the inboxes of all our subscribers. The newsletter featured:

  • Information on our largest summer of operations yet

  • A recap of College Decision Day

  • Highlights from BEAM’s recent Career Day

  • “What We’re Reading”: a look at the College Board’s new “adversity score”

  • Recent accomplishments from BEAM students

  • A math puzzle for you to try out!

Missed it? You can read the newsletter now.

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Recruiting and Selecting BEAM Students: A First Hand Account

Today, we have a guest blog post from long-time BEAM volunteer, Maury Bohan, who is also a retired 6th grade math teacher. Maury accompanied our staff on an admissions school visit back in March and had the following to say about her experience. While BEAM’s admissions season is over (it runs January-March), we’re always thinking ahead to next year, when we can’t wait to meet 6th graders in Los Angeles and New York City who are applying to our entry level program, BEAM Discovery.

Early in March, on a Wednesday morning, I had the pleasure of joining Lynn Cartwright-Punnett at PS 171/Patrick Henry Preparatory School in East Harlem, which has been a BEAM partner school since 2014. I had wanted to participate in a visit to one of BEAM’s partner schools, and Lynn felt it would be beneficial if we used the visit as a chance to share details with our many volunteers, instructors, and supporters.

A 7th grader works on the Admissions Challenge.

A 7th grader works on the Admissions Challenge.

We began the morning with eight 7th graders, two of whom attended last summer’s BEAM Discovery program. The goal was to check in on what the BEAM Discovery alumni were doing and also to identify any 7th graders who we had not met in 6th grade, who would benefit from joining our program, AND who could succeed despite not having attended last summer. Lynn shared the goals of the BEAM Pathway Program, which include “…going farther than you expect, learning more, and exploring new ideas.” In addition to the potentially overwhelming information that the students would be with BEAM all the way through college, she also tempted the young students with details about dorm life, field trips, and good, hard brain work. After responding to questions, Lynn handed out the Admissions Challenge — seven questions to be completed in 40 minutes, and explained that the goal is not to do all of it perfectly, but rather “to figure out what you can figure out.”

7th graders at another BEAM partner school, KIPP Infinity, tell their 6th grade colleagues about BEAM Discovery.

7th graders at another BEAM partner school, KIPP Infinity, tell their 6th grade colleagues about BEAM Discovery.

After the 7th graders left the room, we were joined by a new crew of about fifteen 6th graders. They were physically so much younger than the 7th graders — clearly still children — and obviously nervous. Lynn immediately put them at ease, asking what they already knew about BEAM Discovery — basically that it is a summer math program five days per week for five weeks. She shared the daily schedule, and the goal to challenge brains, to grow and do more than students could do before, and to be a member of a math-loving community. Again there was talk of preparation for college, in terms of how choosing courses and activities during the summer is a way to start building autonomy so as to eventually be ready for decision making in college. Lynn then handed out the Admissions Challenge, and reminded students that “The goal isn’t perfect work; it’s interesting work.

Besides the results of the students’ work on the Admissions Challenge, there are a few other ways for them to demonstrate their potential as a BEAM student. They are all asked to share how they felt about the challenge and what they liked about it. They are also given some extra problems to do at home and send back, which can show readiness and interest, and allow students to perform while not under time pressure.

There is a third way that a student might earn some unofficial points toward gaining a slot in a BEAM program, and it was demonstrated after the sixth graders left us. Lynn earlier had an opportunity to quickly review the 7th graders’ responses to their Admissions Challenge and had asked the school contact person to bring one student back to our classroom for an interview. This would allow Lynn to ascertain whether the student is as ready for this summer’s 7th grade program as all the incoming alumni of last summer’s Discovery Program will be. I enjoyed listening first as the two of them chatted about school and math, and the student’s personal life. She shared that her life outside of school is mostly homework, supporting a younger sister’s homework, and church. She has never been outside of New York City, and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. What is she most concerned about in regards to BEAM’s summer program? That it is a sleep away program!

After chatting, Lynn and the student got down to work, discussing some great math problems. How encouraging it was for me to observe their back and forth, and the young lady’s willingness to draw conclusions, and then re-evaluate them given Lynn’s prodding. The student’s patience, persistence, and flexible thinking seemed to me qualities that will make her succeed, and that BEAM would benefit from. And this is where those unofficial points toward entrance come in to play. “Slant points” are like an additional note, one which this girl definitely received, that says if there is a tie for a slot at BEAM, this student has that “something extra” that makes her the preferred candidate.

As a retired teacher, I can’t imagine many more encouraging mornings than watching all of these 6th and 7th graders voluntarily meeting with a stranger to demonstrate their interest and talent in mathematical thinking. I can’t wait to hear which students are joining us this summer, and I look forward to seeing them grow and thrive through high school.

Maury works with Alberto and Rebecca on trivia questions at BEAM’s annual night of puzzles and trivia.

Maury works with Alberto and Rebecca on trivia questions at BEAM’s annual night of puzzles and trivia.

College Decision Day 2019: Congratulations Seniors!

On Friday, May 10th, BEAM students joined 12th graders across the city for College Decision Day at the Apollo Theater!  Eight BEAM 12th graders joined 200+ high school seniors from around the city who announced their college plans on stage... at the Apollo Theater!

We're pleased to announce the schools that the following students will be attending:

Images from left to right display: Teo (City Tech), Kadija (Princeton), Felix (Syracuse), Kiana (Howard), Mayra (Lehigh), Moses (NYU), and Crisleidy (Baruch).


In addition to these seven students, we want to give a shout-out to all our graduating seniors. Here's a list of BEAM students currently ready to announce their college decisions: 









  • Afia: University of Pennsylvania

  • Amanda: New York University

  • Ashley: New York University

  • Concepcion: St John's University

  • Crisleidy: Baruch College, CUNY

  • Daniel: Le Moyne College

  • Elisa: Whitman College

  • Eric: City College, CUNY

  • Felix: Syracuse University

  • Jayden: Dartmouth College

  • Jessie: Bard College

  • Justin: Purchase College, SUNY (deferred for 1 year)

  • Kadija: Princeton University

  • Kellyann: Southern Connecticut State University

  • Kiana: Howard University

  • Kwabena: Howard University

  • Lennin: Franklin & Marshall College

  • Maria: Stony Brook University, SUNY

  • Mayra: Lehigh University

  • Moses: New York University

  • Naz: Baruch College, CUNY

  • Odalys: University of California San Diego

  • Rashik: University of Albany, SUNY

  • Reem: John Jay College, CUNY

  • Teo: New York City College of Technology

  • Viri: Columbia University

  • Zeñia: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  • Zyan: New Paltz, SUNY

BEAM students were also awarded many scholarships and other forms of financial aid:

  • The Posse Scholars Program provides selected students with a full ride, as well as connections to other students in their area who attend the same college they plan to attend. (awarded to Lennin)

  • The QuestBridge National College Match Program provides a full ride through college to students who are accepted at one of the program's partnering schools. (awarded to Kadija)

  • And numerous other students were offered amazing financial aid packages by the college they will attend. The scholarships provided by Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Franklin and Marshall are particularly generous, as these schools meet 100% of demonstrated need. That means that a low-income student can expect to pay nothing for college. Some scholarships were so generous that student will actually get money back to pay for expenses that may come up, such as flights to and from home at the start and end of each semester!

Our seniors did an incredible amount of work to get through high school and to this day.  Congratulations to you all! 11th graders: now it's your turn and BEAM is here for you. 

Finally, for those following along at home, here is a list of the colleges to which BEAM students were admitted this year:

Albright College
Antioch College
Bard College
Baruch College, CUNY
Binghamton University, SUNY
Borough of Manhattan Community College
Brooklyn College, CUNY
Buffalo State College, SUNY
Canisius College
The City College of New York, CUNY
Clark University
Columbia University
Dartmouth College
Franklin & Marshall College
Guttman Community College
Howard University
Hunter College, CUNY
Iona College
Ithaca College
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Le Moyne College
Lehigh University
Lehman College, CUNY
The New School
New York City College of Technology, CUNY
New York Institute of Technology
New York University
Norwich University
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Purchase College, SUNY
Queens College, CUNY
Quinnipiac University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Seton Hall University
Siena College
Smith College
Spelman College
Southern Connecticut State University
St. John’s University
Stony Brook University, SUNY
SUNY Geneseo
SUNY New Paltz
SUNY Oswego
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
University at Albany, SUNY
University at Buffalo, SUNY
University at Connecticut
University of California San Diego
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
Vanderbilt University
Wells College
Wheaton College
Whitman College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Group pic.jpg
How time flies! Students seen here at Bard and Siena in 2014 are going off to college next year!

How time flies! Students seen here at Bard and Siena in 2014 are going off to college next year!