NYU Tandon School of Engineering welcomes hundreds of city students into its free summer courses

4 students working on a project

Students enrolled in the Center for K12 STEM Education's 2023 summer program practice engineering techniques (Photo Credit: Michael Duong)

This summer, more than 270 New York City middle and high school students will gain hands-on experience and contribute to critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) research, through NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s decade-plus long program offering free summer education to city students.

Since starting the program in 2011, the Center for K12 STEM Education at NYU Tandon has welcomed thousands of motivated young people ages 12 to 17 - predominantly from public schools in all five boroughs and reflecting demographic and income groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields - into rigorous courses covering topics including cybersecurity, urban engineering, sustainability, and noise pollution.

Intended to build foundations for further study and professional STEM careers, the free courses guide participants through original projects and research, most culminating with presentations of students’ completed work to peers and leaders. 

"A fundamental mission of NYU Tandon’s Center for K12 STEM Education is to increase access to high-quality STEM education for diverse students of all ages – particularly in New York City – and our summer program is a cornerstone to that commitment," said Ben Esner, the Center’s director. "Many capable students are curious about STEM but aren't exposed to the full breadth of those fields in their regular school curriculums. We offer resources, materials and a supportive community that fills that gap. Many of our summer students find STEM matches their interests and talents, and they go on to earn degrees and seek jobs in STEM fields."

This year's NYU Tandon K12 student body comes from more than 220 schools. It is the biggest cohort in the history of the program, which enrolled just 18 students in its first year.

The Center for K12 STEM Education runs five free summer course tracks, each full-time for several weeks. Students in the Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) track work in NYU Tandon research labs, contributing to ongoing externally-funded research. The four other tracks each focus on a different subject area and feature lessons from experts and mentors, including six alumni from the program who are now pursuing STEM degrees of their own. 

Among the five free course tracks, one ends with student presentations on July 28, two on August 4, and one on August 11. Start dates range from late June to early July. The five courses are:

Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)

At the core of every institute of higher education is research.  In ARISE, students contribute to high-level academic research by joining NYU faculty labs, working under the mentorship of graduate and postdoctoral students there. This year, about 65 ARISE students, all of whom completed 10th or 11th grade as of this month, will work in 30+ labs at NYU Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program starts on June 28 and concludes at an August 11th Colloquium featuring student presentations.


Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Science of Smart Cities (ieSoSC)

Key tenets in NYU Tandon’s areas of research excellence are sustainability and engineering for the urban environment.  These concepts when coupled with entrepreneurial thinking are the seeds by which game-changing ideas are born. In this program, students learn how engineers address challenges in real cities, by forming teams that develop engineering solutions for urban problems they identify.  The students create their projects with microcontrollers, sensors and other hardware and use circuitry, electronics, coding, and cloud computing. The approximately 25 students enrolled are entering 9th, 10th, or 11th grade next year. The program starts on July 5 and concludes with an Expo/Final Presentation on August 4.


Science of Smart Cities (SoSC)

A middle-school version of ieSoSC, the approximately 80 students enrolled are entering 7th or 8th grade next school year. The program starts on July 10 and concludes at the Expo/Final Presentation on August 4.


Sounds of New York City (SONYC)

Students learn about noise pollution, and develop technologies that can monitor sound.  The approximately 26 students enrolled are entering 7th or 8th grade next school year. The program starts on July 10, and concludes with student presentations on July 28.

Computer Science for Cyber Security (CS4CS)

Unsecure cyberspace is a problem that affects every person on the planet and NYU Tandon has been working on the security of cyber systems for close to two decades. Students learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity and computer science by delving into topics including “white hat” hacking, online privacy and digital forensics. The approximately 74 participants are all entering 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade next school year. The program runs July 10 to 28.


The application and interview process for the competitive free program takes place each spring, and is open to New York City residents. Alumni of the free summer program have gone on to enroll in NYU Tandon and other top collegiate engineering programs, and work for Tesla, Squarespace, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, the City of New York, and many other organizations. NYU Tandon’s commitment to K12 education also extends to offering tuition-based summer courses for middle and high school students from around the world in topics including machine learning, robotics, emerging media and more, which enables the Center to educate about 580 students in total this summer. 


About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering is home to a community of renowned faculty, undergraduate and graduate students united in a mission to understand and create technology that powers cities, enables worldwide communication, fights climate change, and builds healthier, safer, and more equitable real and digital worlds. The school’s culture centers on encouraging rigorous, interdisciplinary collaboration and research; fostering inclusivity, entrepreneurial thinking, and diverse perspectives; and creating innovative and accessible pathways for lifelong learning in STEM.  NYU Tandon dates back to 1854, the founding year of both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, NYU Tandon is a vital part of New York University and its unparalleled global network. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.