In the US, the monthlong period from September 15-October 15 is designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month, a great time to pay tribute to the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Colombian-American, Argentinian-American, Peruvian-American and Cuban-American (among many other) scientists, researchers, astronauts, doctors, mathematicians and physicists who have done so much work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This list from WeRepStem.com includes Nobel prize winners (Luis Walter Alvarez, Severo Ochoa, and César Milstein), the first Latinx woman to be elected president of the American Health Association (Helen Rodríguez-Trías), and two NASA astronauts (Ellen Ochoa and Carlos I. Noriega), among many distinguished and influential professionals.
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Check out this inspiring interview with Stephanie Sosa, a student who was part of the NYC Solar Schools Education program run by the NYC Department of Education in partnership with Solar One’s Green Design Lab. The program gets students excited about clean energy early on through K-12 classroom lessons and then offers a pathway to get solar job training, certification, and first-hand experience while in high school.
Thanks to the NYC Solar Schools Education Program, college student Stephanie Sosa got a jumpstart into her clean energy career while she was still in high school. She participated in Solar One’s virtual summer course as a high-school senior during the pandemic in June of 2020 and earned her NABCEP Solar PV Associate credential. With that training and experience as a foundation, she has decided to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at the NYC College of Technology to prepare for a career in clean energy. And kudos to CareerCLUE educators Geovani Caldero, Bruno Estrada and Alex Nathanson for their excellent work with students like Stephanie!
Generation180: What sparked your interest in solar and clean energy?
Stephanie Sosa: Ever since I was a little kid, my parents taught me to consider the earth a gift, because this is our home. I try my best to take care of it. In high school science class, we talked about ways we harm the earth, and the ways we can fulfill our human needs and wants. Solar and clean energy are the best way to fulfill our present needs without harming the earth and the ability of future generations to meet their needs. So, when I heard about Solar One’s virtual solar training for students, I applied right away.
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Want an in-depth look at how Solar One is working with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to solarize our public schools? Check out this article from Solstice.us that includes a great interview with Amy Colorado, the Green Design Lab’s Program manager fro K-12 Curriculum & Instruction.
“Learning about buildings and how buildings use energy – that’s what sustainability looks like in the city of New York,” Amy said. “I’m incredibly thankful to have entered Solar One to be able to teach environmentalism that is relevant to NYC and its residents.”
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Nearly 100 New York City Schoolteachers have been able to continue offering quality STEM education to over 6,000 students through innovative virtual learning resources created by the Green Design Lab (GDL), a program of NYC nonprofit Solar One.
Since the closure of New York City schools on March 16th, teachers have been struggling to adapt their classes and lesson plans to the online environment. Working fifteen-hour days has not been uncommon, and teachers themselves have had to learn new technology and how to deliver STEM instruction, often very hands on and experiential, in the new virtual classroom.
New York City has been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and research has clearly shown that the virus is hitting low-income and underserved communities extraordinarily hard. These are the exact communities that Solar One’s education programs are designed to serve. The city has also implemented massive cuts to in-school and after-school education programs for the remainder of this school year and for the 2020-2021 school year as well. Solar One has responded by offering its educational programs remotely and stands ready to offer its programs in the future once in- person delivery is permitted.
At the start of the pandemic, GDL quickly realized it had to shift focus from in-school delivery of hands-on programming to a virtual format that provides critical support for NYC Department of Education (DOE) and Newark public school teachers. GDL’s distance learning programs include video resources, PowerPoint presentations, interactive and real-time mapping activities, assessments and more. All resources were made available for free to NYC and Newark teachers.
In addition, our GDL team recently created a hands-on environmental STEM curriculum to accompany the documentary Point of No Return – the story of the first solar powered flight around the world. The curriculum was created through a partnership with Far West Films and is a separate curriculum that is not part of existing GDL offerings. Title 1 schools can access the film + curriculum for free.
Solar One and the Green Design Lab are committed to adapting and innovating through this crisis and into the economic and social changes that are sure to follow.
Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Educators from across the DOE participated in the first NYC DOE Climate Summit at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Summit was organized by the Office of Sustainability, Solar One, and the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership in an effort to profile the diversity of climate change and how it relates to a variety of school activities and curriculum.
Activities in the two Round Robin sessions included mapping visualizations, climate themed simulations and games, school climate risk assessments, data analysis, health impacts, and climate advocacy.
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Kids ask some pretty hard questions, and sometimes the answers are extremely fascinating, which is why the FiveThirtyEight blog, best known for political polling and sports prognostication, has started this gem of a series called Science Questions from a Toddler. Since the Solar One community is full of both teachers and parents (and teachers who are parents!), we thought this might be of interest for all sorts of reasons.
This week’s topic: Why is water so slippery?
The answer has to do a lot with just how peculiar water molecules actually are.
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