Bay Ridge

Fontbonne partners with Brown to promote STEM for girls

September 16, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric, pictured giving two of her students a helping hand, says she’s exciting about Fontbonne Hall Academy’s new partnership with Brown University. Photo courtesy of Fontbonne Hall Academy
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It’s a long way from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Providence, Rhode Island, but academic institutions in those two communities are teaming up to encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Fontbonne Hall Academy, a Catholic high school for girls, will be offering the Brown University Pre-College Scholars Program in Engineering starting this fall.

Under the program, 22 students in grades 10-12 will participate in a year-long online course taught by the faculty of Brown University’s School of Engineering.

Fontbonne students selected for the program will explore engineering and its design principles and work collaboratively on biomedical and renewable energy engineering projects.

The program will be facilitated by Dr. Karen Haberstroh, associate director of engineering programs at Brown University’s School of Professional Studies, and by Dr. Indrek Külaots, a lecturer at Brown.

Working closely with their Brown instructors, Fontbonne students will participate in approximately five hours of coursework each week, including lab work, demonstration activities, online discussions, assignments and a year-long team design project.

“Our partnership with Brown University is an important addition to Fontbonne’s STEM program,” said Fontbonne Hall Academy Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric. “It’s exciting to be the first high school with this program, and as an all-girls school, we want to offer programs that inspire young women to pursue science and engineering.”

During the course of the program, Brown University will welcome participating students to Brown’s campus for a guided tour of the School of Engineering, officials said.

In addition, in an effort to support students’ interest in engineering, the School of Professional Studies will offer four partial scholarships to the 2016 Summer@Brown Program, a nationally recognized pre-college program that offers nearly 200 courses to high school students on the Brown campus each summer.

“We are delighted to bring Brown’s expertise in engineering, long-standing experience in pre-college programs and innovative approach to online pedagogy to Fontbonne’s talented students. Brown’s commitment to science and technology leadership coupled with Fontbonne’s commitment to STEM education makes Fontbonne a perfect fit as our partner for the Brown Pre-College Scholars Program,” said Karen Sibley, Brown University’s vice president for Strategic Initiatives and dean of the School of Professional Studies.

Brown University’s Pre-College Programs enable high school students to experience college-level learning and connect with talented students from around the world, according to Brown University officials.

Brown’s pre-college online courses are designed specifically for high school students and led by Brown instructors. The courses encourage curiosity and discovery, teamwork and networking, officials said.

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