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8th Year of Science Education On Five Continents

Harlem Children Society International Celebrates 8th Year of Science Education Programs on 5 Continents

High School & College Programs Expanding to Provide Under-Resourced Students in More Countries with Mentoring, Training, Internships, and Financial Support

Oct. 27, 2008 – New York – Over 1000 students in under-resourced and under-served backgrounds on five continents joined together to celebrate their interests in studying medicine, science & technology, math, engineering, and social sciences in the “5th Annual Global Harlem Science Street Fairs & Festivals,” organized by Harlem Children Society International (HCS) on Saturday, September 27th.

In a simultaneous series of worldwide events linked together through a global webcast, the best-and-the-brightest high school students chosen to participate in HCS International programs – joined by family members, university and industry mentors, community and government leaders, and local community members– presented their research projects in eight celebrations and gatherings across the globe. In addition to celebrating the eighth anniversary of HCS International programs, the occasion served to launch new HSC International programs in New Zealand, Moldova, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

“This year’s ‘Global Harlem Science Street Fairs & Festivals’ marks a giant leap forward for Harlem Children Society International. By linking students in eight countries via web-cast to celebrate the unifying impact of scientific inquiry and the human spirit across continental and cultural divides, we are raising awareness of the global impact of science, medicine, and technology.” said Dr. Sat Bhattacharya, the molecular geneticist and cancer researcher who founded the HCS International program while at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “HCS International’s programs bring science directly to the urban streets and far-flung villages of the world to foster the desire of the most promising students with the fewest resources and opportunities to pursue a better education and to build awareness about the importance of investing in these students today to nurture tomorrow’s leaders in science.”

HCS International Advisory Board Members and participating students organized the simultaneous events and celebrations in: New Zealand (Christchurch) Kenya (Meru) Ethiopia (Awassa) India (Kolkata, at Mother Teresa’s Orphanage) Moldova (Chisinau) Mexico (Monterrey) The Hopi Nation & The Navajo Nation (Arizona, US)

Students from around the world appeared on a large screen on 127th Street in Harlem, New York to present their research on a wide range of topics, including depression, computer tomography, diabetes, nutritional diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, biological effects of prescription drug and alcohol abuse, nanotechnology, biotechnology, space research, genetic engineering, and many other topics.

“I am particularly touched by Harlem Children Society’s focus on nurturing talented young students from disadvantaged backgrounds in countries around the world. The mentoring from professionals gives students the opportunity to conduct scientific research while in high school, providing them with support and encouragement to pursue their dreams,” said Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, Kenya’s Assistant Minister of Higher Education, Science & Technology. “For students in many developing countries, this program will help ensure that scientific careers are available even to students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. I look forward to strong collaborative arrangements between our government and Harlem Children Society International to expand this program in Kenya.”

“Working with encouragement from the President of Ethiopia, Harlem Children Society International places our brightest and hardest-working students on a path for success early in their secondary school years so that they may be successful in pursuing university degrees,” said Ambassador General of Ethiopia Teruneh Zenna, who serves on the Advisory Board of HCS International. “One of our greatest natural resources is our children and Harlem Children Society International provides another avenue to develop intellectual capital by building a brighter future for our students, our communities, and for Ethiopia.”

Dr. Bhattacharya continued, “Our model is very simple, yet very powerful: working with professional scientists and university mentors, each HCS International local chapter provides students with access to laboratories and professionals from local institutions, including Columbia University and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, The Hopi Medical Center in Arizona, and universities in Kenya and in Ethiopia. By identifying the most promising students from under-served and under-resourced areas early in their high school years, HCS International provides them with a positive path of support and encouragement that yields better grades, places them on university campuses and in clinical settings at an early age, and better prepares them with the confidence they need to be successful in college.”

“I was moved almost to tears hearing the student’s stories of how hard it is for them to even get food when not in school. Tomorrow’s discoveries in biosciences, engineering, mathematics, and social sciences are waiting to be tapped in the minds of today’s students across the globe. The more students – the more minds – we have working to understand everything from genetic research to global climate change, the greater the opportunity for tomorrow’s scientists to provide our global community with solutions. Tomorrow’s Einsteins may come from Africa, forests in India, remote regions of New Zealand, Eastern Europe, or from under-resourced families in the U.S.,” observed Muriungi Marete, a teacher in Kenya, whose present research involves developing new HCS programs, co-supervised by Dr. Bhattacharya.

Nanjika Small, in her second year of the Harlem Children Society International program and a high school student in Harlem, New York, is one such potential Einstein. “Harlem Children Society has helped me to discover and grow as a person,” said Nanjika. “Each year of being in the program allowed me to explore my options in life and not only has this program helped me to discover my true passion for medicine and science but it has also guided me in the right path to pursue my goals in life. Every moment spent in the program has given me the pleasure of knowing that I am getting closer to my goal of becoming a doctor.”

ENDS

About Harlem Children Society International www.harlemchildrensocietyorg
Harlem Children Society International (HCS) was founded in 2000 by Dr. Sat Bhattacharya, a molecular geneticist and cancer research scientist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Serving students ridden by abject poverty in the NY region, in communities across the United States, and now applying its unique model in other countries, HCS International’s innovative program engages students in one-on-one mentoring and hands-on research in a wide range of fields in science, technology, math, engineering, and social sciences in leading universities, research centers, and renowned institutions.

The HCS model creates a network of local high school administrators and teachers, local university professors and students, local science and technology business leaders, and local civic leaders. We work with our community network to identify the most promising and hard-working students early in their high school years who demonstrate success in studying science, mathematics, technology, or social science studies. HCS selects students who not only have an interest in pursuing college degrees, but also express a commitment to serving their communities once they graduate.

During their high school years, HCS students are matched with university and industry mentors, work as paid summer interns in laboratories, work after-school jobs in science-related institutions or in universities, and receive guidance in applying for college and for scholarships. To date, 100% of HCS students in American programs attend college and over 20% attend Ivy League schools.

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