More than 250 students from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) accepted Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) invitation and attended Chicago’s Lyric Opera on April 18th for an afternoon full of theater, culture and learning. Students along with parents and instructors got a chance to see “Carousel”, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical play.
Before the presentation, attendees got the opportunity to experience theater from backstage. Students listened to a pre-presentation by Michael Smallwood, Technical Director of the Lyric Opera, where they learned about the Science and Technology behind the theater and the opera, its secrets, such as microphones’ location and function, the impact of different frequencies of the sound on the stage and special effects.
Thirteen-year-old Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School student, Cynthia Sadie Morales, was surprised to learn about the secrets behind a musical play and had very high expectations of the show. “Not a lot of people have the opportunity to be coming here,” Morales said,”You get to experience something new that you don’t experience everyday.”
Frida Kahlo Community Organization instructor, Ikeem Jones, also appreciated the opportunity Sft organization gave his students from Edward N. Hurley Fine & Performing Arts Magnet. “I think it’s amazing because I didn’t come to the opera until I was 24, it’s good to be cultured,” Jones said.
Parents also took advantage of this cultural opportunity.This was Ines Montero, mother of two, first time at the opera “It’s a great investment because children should learn to love theater from a young age, that way we plant a seed for them to be future artists,” Montero said.
Claps and a standing ovation were the conclusion of a cultural afternoon where students,parents and instructors took advantage of a unique occasion thanks to Scientists for Tomorrow initiative.
Big news for the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program! Marcelo Caplan, Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, was chosen as one of the most influential Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) figures of 2015 by the National After School Association (NAA) and featured in After School Today magazine.
Caplan was recognized, along with 16 other STEM professionals, for enriching the educational experience of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and for promoting STEM in communities through the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program, Family Science Day, STEAM Conference and Scientists for a Day program at Columbia College Chicago. “The ideal of our organization is that STEM is a human right that everybody needs to be able to understand and use it to improve their quality of life,” Caplan, 51, said.
It’s an honor and an accomplishment for Scientists for Tomorrow to have Caplan be a STEM figure among professionals such as, astronaut and S.T.E.A.M promoter, Leland D. Melvin, and Anita Krishnamurthi, Vice President of STEM Policy for Afterschool Alliance.
For Caplan, this recognition goes beyond a personal achievement. “I believe that our program is achieving a goal that is to promote STEM in the communities, and many other people are looking at our program as a possible model to be replicated in different communities around the country,” Caplan said. Caplan will continue to work hard to promote STEM programs and enrich student’s educational experience.
More than 40 students from various Chicago Public Schools (CPS), including Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, Corliss High School, Lake View High School and Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School, attended the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) “Music in STEM” spring camp from April 6-8th.
The program, hosted by the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) in partnership with After School Matters (ASM), gave high school students the opportunity to experience a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) college workshop taught by Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, and Evelyn Oropeza, SfT Program Coordinator. CCC undergraduates and SfT staff members Daniela Cortez, Tyler Davis, Filip Zadro, Maria Dantas, Jose Perez and Andrea Salcedo, along with graduate student Ignacio Mendez, also contributed in the building process.
For three full days, the students focused on building a well-tuned diatonic scale xylophone, and an electric organ based on fundamental electricity principles, which facilitated their understanding of the relationship between STEM and music.
Sixteen-year-old Lake View High School sophomore student, Oleh Lemishka, described the experience as eye opening and enriching. “I had never thought about music and science combined. In 15 hours I found the connection between these things,” Lemishka said.
Lemishka discovered the relationship between STEM and music, but was already aware of the advantage STEM programs offer him for the future. “It brought me a lot of college experience which is going to be helpful in two years. I experienced the pace of work of a college professor,” Lemishka said. Lemishka will continue exploring STEM courses during high school and plans to study a STEM related career in college.
For 15-year-old Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School student, Marvin Gladney, this learning opportunity was a challenging “roller coaster.” Gladney talked about the difference between high school teachers and college professors. “It was challenging at first because he (Caplan) is fast. Nothing like elementary school or high school where they take you hand by hand. You have to actually get it and earn it,” Gladney said. Gladney was glad he took the risk of applying and summed up his experience in his first STEM spring camp as full of “friendship, organization and cooperation.”
After 15 hours of building and learning, showtime was here! Students were ready to showcase the product of their work and the valuable lessons they took from the camp in front of their parents, teachers, SfT staff and distinguished representatives of ASM.
Anxiety was building up. Perfectly tuned xylophones served as background music. “I hear the xylophones, they sound in tune,” Marcelo said as he initiated the showcase.
The evening was followed by the presentation of a short video edited by Dave Morton, Director of CCC’s visualization lab, summarizing the student’s experience in the camp. https://vimeo.com/124526446
Then, two students took the stage and shouted “1, 2, 1, 2, 3, go!” as they played “Mary had a Little Lamb” with their brand new xylophones. Other students talked about how the spring camp emphasized teamwork, organization, independency and most importantly linked the path between high school and college. “It wasn’t easy at all, it took time and knowledge,” said one of the students.
While the students took away valuable skills from the camp, their journey to college is only beginning! Scientists for Tomorrow and After School Matters are looking forward to seeing these dedicated students return and participate in the ComEd Youth Ambassadors and Junior Research Scientists programs next summer 2015!