As a special Broadening Horizons experience, Project Rousseau students participated in a Career Day with Yale alumni and current students as part of the annual Yale Day of Service event . Recent Yale graduates and older ones alike came together to create a memorable day. Yale students and graduates in the fields of finance, law, health, journalism, and architecture provided the students with information about how to apply, life at Yale, and options after graduating. After being split into groups for the first exercise, the students rotated around to speak with every group of alumni and current students. During this, alumni told Project Rousseau students about their specific experiences at Yale in relation to their majors. They also gave tips on how to apply to Yale and how to know if it is the right place for you. Advice ranged from time management skills to what life is like as a Yale student. For the second activity, students picked who they wanted to talk to, either graduates or current students. The former talked about how to apply to jobs once graduating while the second elaborated on how to apply top schools like Yale. The event was especially helpful for students currently applying to college, and even those curious about life after college!
We are delighted to announce the launch of our Junior Board, a dynamic community of young professionals committed to supporting Project Rousseau’s mission. Members of the Junior Board will advocate for Project Rousseau students from communities with the greatest need in New York City and across the United States. Using their energy, expertise, and networks, Junior Board Members will support the areas of Project Rousseau’s work that are most relevant to their own interests and experience.
The Project Rousseau Junior Board is an extraordinary group of young professionals from different industries, backgrounds and countries and we are extremely grateful that they have come together to impact the lives of our students.
In late April some of our students attended the 9th annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. The awards ceremony celebrates disruptive innovation in all fields - ranging from technology to philanthropy. Craig Hatkoff, the founder of the event, generously donated ticket to Project Rousseau for this inspiring event. The impressive award-winners and honorees were both young and old alike. Naomi Wadler, an 11 year old well known for her speech at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC in March 2018, was honored for her activism alongside her friend and fellow activist Carter Anderson. For Pranab, one of our NY students, the highlight of the night was listening to Israeli entrepreneur, and former teacher, Opher Brayer speak!
Later in the week, students visited the Rebel Spirits: Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit at the New York Historical Society in honor of the 50th anniversary of both King and Kennedy’s assassinations. The tickets for this event were donated by the Keith Haring Foundation. The afternoon consisted of thoughtful discussions between students that explored the similarities and differences between these two historical figures.
Last week, Project Rousseau's Founder and President, Andrew Heinrich traveled to Chicago to lead a weekend SAT Boot Camp for the students that are involved in their local chapter. Students from 9th through 11th grade, who currently are attending Hyde Park Academy and Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, met with their mentors at the University of Chicago to study for the upcoming SAT test. The Boot Camp focused on the fundamentals of the standardized test, walking the attendees through the reading, grammar, and math sections. Students received a total of 9 hours of instruction and one-on-one academic guidance/planning for their testing experiences.
Students learned many valuable grammar lessons and were able to work through challenging math problems using their personalized counseling. During breaks, students were able to discuss and navigate their upcoming college processes. They were also able to learn study skills and ways to be a more involved student at their high schools to prep.
SAT Boot Camp at Project Rousseau goes much further than shading in bubbles for multiple choice questions, it inspires a brighter future for students across our nation-wide chapters.
Boston is home to some of the world’s most esteemed universities, and it is a city full of culture and history. On Wednesday, Project Rousseau students travelled to Boston to visit colleges and take advantage of the many opportunities in the city. The first thing on the agenda was the annual Harvard University Bioethics Conference, here the students learned about the controversial case of Jahi McMath and watched experts in the field debate what it means to be "brain dead".
The students also packed in many campus visits during the trip starting off with Boston University. From there they travelled to Cambridge to see Harvard University. A short ride on the T after lunch and our students were at MIT. Here they took a tour of Professor Cheeseman's lab and learned about chromosomal segregation during mitosis. On our final morning in Boston we visited Northeastern University to learn about their unique co-op program, as you will see below Northeastern was a popular choice among our students!
This March, some of our students had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen, Denmark for our fourth annual International SAT Boot Camp program! Here, students worked alongside Danish students who are preparing to apply to college in the United States. Our students shared their passion for learning with the Danish students.
One student reported that the Danish students had “greeted her with kindness,” and that she had truly bonded with her fellow SAT prep class mates. Another student stated that they were “excited about the constant SAT prep” and now they can walk into the upcoming SAT test with confidence in achieving their “goal of getting a higher score.” At Project Rousseau, we work with students to achieve these goals to round out their college applications and expand their horizons to top tier universities.
Our students also had some time to explore Copenhagen while taking a break from SAT prep, for a guided tour of Freetown Christiania. This has been our seventh exchange with the Rysensteen Gymnasium. Project Rousseau students had a fantastic two weeks prepping for college applications and the SAT with their Danish peers, learning about Denmark's history and culture, and experiencing "hygge" with their host families. One student said in reflection on the that they learned that “meeting new people helps better your understanding of the world,” which is why Project Rousseau encourages learning beyond the classroom.
Project Rousseau students from the New York chapter have been hard at work this past semester in Business 101 and Cultural Studies, the two different electives available to them. Taught by a retired business professor and a teaching fellow respectively, the Business 101 and Cultural Studies electives are intended to further the students’ knowledge in subjects which might not be part of their everyday lives and help them discover new topics of interest to them.
The Business 101 elective is an introduction to the fundamentals of business, including lessons around how companies are structured, the world of work, and marketing. The students are led in discussion by an experienced professor with teaching experience in 10 different countries around the world. Each week, students engage in conversation about how business works around the world, and how it differs from country to country.
This semester in the Cultural Studies elective, students focused on learning about the value of cultural exchange, in particular about the experiences of other Project Rousseau students who have travelled abroad. One lesson included discussion of students’ experiences while abroad in Japan, followed by a lesson about the experiences of Japanese Americans in the United States and a trip to a talk about the Japanese Incarceration. The event, which included a poetry reading, was linked to the exhibition "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II" at the International Center for Photography. Students heard from those who had personal or family experiences with the Japanese Incarceration and had the opportunity to explore the exhibition.
At Project Rousseau, we assist talented individuals who were not able to receive their High School diploma before their established graduation date. We a provide a need based curriculum to students who want to work for their secondary equivalency diploma.
Meet Dariam, a Project Rousseau student who recently received her TASC. Her sister, a former Project Rousseau student and now college freshman, first brought Dariam to Project Rousseau in the summer of 2016. Dariam has worked tirelessly over the last few months to prepare herself for the TASC. Having passed the TASC just last month Dariam is already exploring her future options, here she is with one of our volunteers looking into possible healthcare majors at local community colleges.
Dariam says that her key motivation for finishing her education is her young daughter, who she wants to set a strong example for. Dariam is, rightfully, extremely proud of herself as are we and we are excited to see what the future holds for her!
Before entering into a world so different than New York, Project Rousseau students were debriefed on the etiquette and traditions in Japan. Cultural differences were addressed, especially in terms of etiquette, such as the removing of shoes before entering certain restaurants, temples, and even museums. After the long flight, Students were welcomed to Japan with a ramen dinner and prepared themselves from a fun day of sushi making to come. The next days were filled with adventures through the fish market, Tokyo Opera, museums, and the colorful area of Harajuku.
After Tokyo, the next stop was Kyoto to meet the host families. In Kyoto, Project Rousseau students attended classes at Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School and even participated in a Model United Nations debate representing the US. During the school day, students picked up some useful Japanese phrases they were able to use while they visited the Golden Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, a monkey park, and other famous monuments around Kyoto. Aside from sightseeing in Kyoto, the students were also able to tour the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies to learn about the new program in Global Studies. After a few days spent in Kyoto at school, the Project Rousseau students spent the weekend with their host families, doing activities ranging from going to Osaka to visit its Koreatown to visiting an aquarium in Kyoto.
Once returning to Tokyo, it was a sad goodbye for the students as they left Japan and transitioned back into their daily lives of school and work.
Women in the United States make up forty eight percent of the workforce, and yet only twenty four percent of STEM workers are women. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women of color makeup fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers. Assul, a Project Rousseau student is working to defy these odds. She founded a project at a local middle school called the STEM Initiative, which seeks to inspire young students to become interested in STEM. Assul is an exemplary, highly motivated student who uses her academic strength for good.
In the 10th grade, Assul noticed a discrepancy in her community and strived to bridge that gap. “Not everyone gets the same opportunities, I didn’t have that chance when I was their age” Assul stated. She followed by explaining that she wishes she could have had the early exposure to this material that she is giving to her students. Her time as the president of her school’s chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers inspired her to launch this program. Now Assul provides students with homework assistance, tutoring for state tests, and interactive STEM projects to apply what the students are learning.
The creation of her dream project was not a fluid process, it required time, effort, patience and most importantly, communication skills. Launching the program was the most difficult part, not only coordinating the space and lesson plans but establishing relationships with students so that they would return to the lessons every week. Assul creates the lesson plan every week and spends the sparse amount of time that she has a junior in highschool to come up with innovative ways of teaching and assisting her students.
Assul credits Project Rousseau as a major contributor to the formulation and execution of the program. Staff at Project Rousseau worked with Assul on time management. Assul stated “how the staff at Project Rousseau treat me inspires the way I want to treat my students.” She followed up by stating that “All of the help that I have received from Project Rousseau has made me want to give back.”
Assul has also recently been awarded a Peace First Mini Grant to help fund her initiative. She worked with Project Rousseau staff to write this grant application and hopes to use the funds to purchase materials for her tutors and snacks to encourage attendance among her tutees. The support of Peace First will be invaluable to Assul and will allow her project to flourish.
In the future, Assul wants to pursue a career in biomedical engineering and do well in her field by doing good for others. When asked why she chose the path of biomedical engineering, Assul responded that growing up she wanted to be a doctor but she soon realized that she could make an impact on the medical community through creating helpful technology. Assul stated “even when I go to college I want to make an impact on others,” inspiring them to feel the same passion for the STEM field as she does.