Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship
Become a WERM!
Wave Hill’s Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship Program offers a unique opportunity to experience a whole new type of learning adventure! This new, 14-month program enables motivated New York City high school students to take two, free, college courses and conduct important field research with working scientists―all while getting paid!
July 2013–August 2014
• Summer 2013: 3‒4 days per week for approximately 20 hours per week
• Academic Year 2013-2014: 4‒5 days per month for approximately
4 hours per week
• Summer 2014: 4‒5 days per week for approximately 30 hours per week
• Currently enrolled in the 9th or 10th grade in a high school in New York City
• Strong interest in science research and the urban environment
• Strong academic record, especially in the sciences
• Ability and motivation to work independently
• Must meet STEP requirements. Learn more about STEP here.
• Total stipend: $1,200
• Six college credits
• 30 hours of community service (with opportunities to earn more)
• Merit scholarships for exemplary work
• College counseling
• Career advice and alumni network
The Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship program offers New York City high school students an opportunity to participate in citywide ecological monitoring efforts in local woodlands and to conduct authentic research under the mentorship of field scientists.
The 14-month program begins with immersion in academic science learning. During the first summer, students spend two days a week taking two courses at Lehman College, one to two days a week collecting ecological data. Throughout the year, students continue to collect data alongside a science team consisting of working scientists, restoration specialists and Wave Hill staff.
A thoughtful process pairs students with a mentor with whom they will work closely to identify an area of interest. Together, student and mentor will develop and implement a research project that will culminate in an oral presentation and a poster or paper.
Summer 2013: Lehman College Coursework, Introduction to Field Work and Data Collection
The first summer will be spent taking two college courses—Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Science—at Lehman College. Students will also come to Wave Hill one to two days a week to participate in data collection and restoration field work with interns in Wave Hill’s ongoing, signature Forest Project Summer Collaborative. By the end of the summer, students will have had significant exposure to standard methods for data collection and to using GIS as a tool for scientific inquiry and analysis.
Academic Year 2013 - 2014: Exposure to Authentic Science and Mentor Pairing
During the academic year, students continue to collect data and learn with the science team. This will be a dynamic, hands-on experience. Some of the work will be independent in nature and some will involve the whole group. During this phase, students will be asked to reflect on the data, and will begin to pose scientific questions they may want to look at more closely.
This phase will also be dedicated to building an understanding of the methodology used to engage in scientific research, as well as knowledge of the ecology of New York City’s woodlands. There will be a variety of educational activities. These will include:
• Attend workshops on reading article in scientific journals
• Participate in GPS and GIS workshops
• Engage in field trips to local natural areas and research facilities
• Participate in restoration projects around the city to explore natural areas of
New York City. (Students earn community service hours for this work.)
• Attend local conferences and presentations at partner organizations.
Toward the end of the academic year, students will be paired with a mentor, under whose tutelage they will design a relevant research project.
Students will commit to three to five afterschool or weekend sessions a month.
Summer 2014: Culminating Project
In this final phase, students will devote their time to working on their research projects. Projects will vary in location, time frame and focus. For example, a project might be heavily GIS-oriented and involve significant time in the computer lab, or it may require additional data collection at a different natural area in New York City. Students will be expected to spend at least 20 hours a week working on their final project.
Wave Hill staff will be available to assist the students with projects, and weekly meetings will be scheduled to monitor progress. Students will have access to Lehman College computer labs, as well as Wave Hill equipment. Their research will culminate in a final poster or paper, which they will present in a formal symposium.
The WERM Program is made possible by a grant from The Pinkerton Foundation.