Director Nelcia Skobelsky with a board representing research performed by one of her students at York College.
BY BOB HARRIS
Nelcia Skobelsky, the new director of the pre-medical institute, one of nine into which Hillcrest High School is divided, has moved into a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Small Learning Community. Their commitment is to ensure that the students receive a well-rounded college-bound STEM education. This institute works in collaboration with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies with the help of lead STEM teacher Ms. Nicole Dulaney. Through this program, students receive climate change information directly from NASA’s database with the idea that they’d doresearch for a potential presentation for the Hillcrest staff.
The Pre-Med Institute has a rigorous four-year sequence of courses which includes Advanced Placement college-level courses in the sciences, as well as humanities and the arts, with College Now courses at York College. Another STEM program that exists in this institute is the College Now STEM Research Academy at York College. In the spring of 2016, 14 students took an after-school high school credit course in Backyard Toxicology at the York College campus. Last summer, the students were matched with a distinguished professor to work in a research lab in their area of interest at York College for six weeks. This included weekly seminars and discussion groups. Students were also required to do a research paper and oral presentation on their project.
Skobelsky intends to lead her students on six weeks of research at the Brooklyn Environmental Science Center on hydroponics, agriculture and aquaponics. These research projects will be presented at the spring 2017 Hillcrest High School Science Fair.
David Morrison is principal of Hillcrest High School, Jamaica.