Grants in Higher Education

Grants for College-Community Connections

Click here for other projects in College-Community Connections

February 2009
Barnard College and Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)
HEAF@Barnard: Brownfield Action
Project Leaders: Rhonda Zangwill (Barnard College) and Brigid Lang (HEAF)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide HEAF high school students with a stimulating college-level academic experience centered on environmental science, and to support HEAF's college preparatory program, College Quest.Brownfield Action (BA) is an award-winning, web-based course that simultaneously builds science literacy and civic awareness. Working in teams, students "become" environmental detectives who investigate issues around developing brownfields (contaminated, abandoned sites) for the good of the community. In addition to scientific skills, BA also helps students strengthen their research and communication skills, with a major emphasis on writing. As a student-centered, "active learning" interdisciplinary curriculum, BA fosters analytical thinking, collaborative activity and creative problem-solving. It also offers students close faculty interactions as well as one-on-one working with writing tutors and peer mentors.

Brooklyn College and CAMBA
Leading to College
Project Leaders: Pieranna Pieroni (Brooklyn College) and Christie Hodgkins (CAMBA)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide high school students at the School for Democracy and Leadership in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with an opportunity to participate in Brooklyn College's College Now Program, and to support CAMBA'scollege preparatory work at the high school. Brooklyn College will provide academic opportunities for students to move at least one step closer towards college readiness, through a sequence of workshops, courses, and special activities, all maintained with the in-school individualized and operations support of CAMBA staff. Students will visit the Brooklyn College campus at various intervals and for different durations and purposes. Workshops, courses, and activities will include an induction ceremony and other rituals, "Foundations" courses that structure disciplinary thinking in the arts and sciences, workshops focused on social and soft-skills preparation for college, and college credit courses on the Brooklyn College campus.

Columbia University and Double Discovery Center (DDC)
Freedom and Citizenship: Explorations in Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Thought | Project website
Project Leaders: Casey Blake (Columbia) and Kevin Matthews (Double Discovery Center)



$240,000 over 36 months to offer DDC high school students an academically rigorous, college-level program focused on the theme of freedom and citizenship in ancient, modern, and contemporary thought, and to support DDC's college preparatory programming. Students enrolled in the program will participate in an intensive summer seminar developed by faculty in Columbia's American Studies Program; workshops on writing, oral presentation, and other skills; and a collaborative web-based project during the subsequent academic year on civic engagement in an upper Manhattan neighborhood. The seminar will explore ancient, early modern, and contemporary writings drawn from the Columbia College Core Curriculum and the introductory American Studies course. Students will examine a range of major literary, philosophical, and political documents, including selections from Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, John Locke, the Federalist Papers, Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, WEB Du Bois, John Dewey, Ralph Ellison, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The goal of the course is to equip students with critical tools to evaluate contemporary debates and participate fully in American public life as active and responsible citizens.

Project highlights
Summer 2009: DDC students debating the question of whether Columbia University should expand into the Manhattanville section of West Harlem.

Watch the debate: Part 1 | Part 2

Summer 2010: Participating Columbia faculty, and Double Discovery staff and students reflect on the program.

Read the whole story here.

Cornell University and Henry Street Settlement
College Achievement through Urban Science Exploration
Project Leaders: Jackie Davis-Manigaulte (Cornell University) and Gregory Rideout (Henry Street Settlement)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide high school students with a program that combines environmental studies, field study, and community service, and to support Henry Street Settlement's college preparatory program, Expanded Horizons. The program is designed to encourage high school juniors to explore science as a career track in emerging areas such as "green" technologies, ecology, and environmental studies, and to prepare them for the rigors of college and scientific research. Students will design a research project based on their research and study, and the program will culminate in a three-week residential college experience at Cornell University during the summer.

Drew University and Union Settlement Association
Building Bridges to (and from) the Liberal Arts
Project Leaders: Wendy Kolmar (Drew University) and Steven Portericker (Union Settlement Association)


$240,000 over 36 months to bring Union Settlement high school students into sustainable mentoring relationships with Drew undergraduate students during the school year, to offer a week-long summer residency (Summer College) on Drew's campus, and to support Union Settlement Association's Settlement College Readiness Program. Summer College is the centerpiece of the program. Featuring mini-courses, classes, and special seminars offered by Drew faculty, it will emphasize the realities of the college experience, including the benefits, challenges, pressures, and opportunities of being a college student and a college graduate. It will also include daily discussion sessions with current Drew students and information sessions about the college admissions and enrollment process. The goal of Summer College is to help students begin to develop some of the skills they will need to meet the rigors of college-level work, and to encourage them to think about the challenges of the transition from high school to college, and about the particular advantages of seeking a liberal arts education.

Fordham University and Bronxworks
The History Makers Scholar Program
Project Leaders: Sandra Lobo-Jost (Fordham University) and Elisa Istueta (CAB)


$240,000 over 36 months to offer CAB high school students a year-long program focused on history, and to support CAB's college preparatory program, Center for Achieving Future Education (CAFÉ). The History Makers Scholar program will introduce students to history "beyond the textbook," engaging them in learning experiences outside of the classroom, including hands-on research and field work throughout New York City. The program will begin with a five-week summer seminar that draws on Fordham's Bronx African American History project. It will combine academics in the classroom, field work research, and group projects, and nurture students' critical thinking, research, and oral and written presentation skills. During the academic year, CAB students will have the opportunity to return to Fordham's campus for a series of workshops, networking events, and shadow days with college mentors. The program also provides additional college preparatory services through workshops, case management assistance, and individual counseling on all aspects of the college selection and application process.

Manhattan College and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC)
Summer Literacy Institute
Project Leaders: Daniel Collins (Manhattan College) and Deanna Peralta (KHCC)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide KHCC high school students with a year-long academic program focused on "literacy," and to support KHCC's college preparatory program, College Directions. The program's centerpiece is the Summer Literacy Institute, a four-day academic experience that will take place on Manhattan College's campus. During the Institute, students will receive intense writing instruction and a broad introduction to the liberal arts and sciences, learn about the college application process, and experience college life. During the academic year, they will maintain contact through Manhattan College's Freshman Composition Program, which asks students to read and engage with a provocative, well-written text on a contemporary social issue.

New York University (Polytechnic) and Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women (UA Institute)
College Prep and Readiness for STEM Education | Project website
Project Leaders: Iraj Kalkhoran (Polytechnic) and Kelly DeMonaco (UA Institute)


$240,000 over 36 months to offer UA Institute students a program that motivates them to further their readiness for higher education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and to support the UA Institute's college preparatory activities. The program integrates summer coursework, in-class presentations by Polytechnic students and faculty, math and science-related clubs and teams, and visits to the Polytechnic campus and industry facilities and laboratories. While the program will primarily focus on a core group of students over the life of the grant, it may potentially involve all UA Institute high school students, through participation in after-school clubs, STEM-centered social networks, and in-class modules and programs.

New York University (Steinhardt) and Children's Aid Society (CAS)
EXCEL in Writing, Thinking, and Inquiry
Project Leaders: Glynda Hull (Steinhardt) and William Weisberg (CAS)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide CAS students with an interdisciplinary, interactive academic program focused on philosophy and writing, and to support CAS' college preparatory program, Educational Excellence Creating Empowered Leaders (EXCEL). The program will prepare students for competitive intellectual achievement, and will assist them in every phase of the college application process, including the personal essay. Beginning with after school and weekend sessions during the academic year, the program will culminate in a four-week summer seminar at New York University, where students will participate in lively, intensive classes in philosophic inquiry, critical thinking, and expository writing.

Pace University and Groundwork
Pathways to College
Project Leaders: Victor Goldsmith and Christopher Malone (Pace University) and Erica Ahdoot and Stacy Dickerson (Groundwork)


$240,000 over 36 months to offer Groundwork students a year-long program that provides intensive summer writing experiences and opportunities to build on these skills throughout the academic year, and to support Groundwork's college preparatory program, Groundwork for Success. Two tracks of programming will be offered, one for Groundwork juniors, and the other for Groundwork seniors. During the summer, students will participate in the week-long Groundwork Summer Institute at Pace University. Juniors will take a class offered through Pace's pre-college program, the Summer Scholars Institute, and participate in an intensive writing seminar focused on drafting their college application essays. Seniors will attend seminar-like classes focused on developing individual research projects. Students will continue their work—college essays for juniors and research projects for seniors—during the academic year.

State University of New York at Old Westbury and Harlem RBI
Harlem RBI University
Project Leaders: James Llana (SUNY Old Westbury) and Richard Berlin (Harlem RBI)


$240,000 over 36 months to offer Harlem RBI students a year-long program focused on identity and engagement, and to support Harlem RBI's college preparatory program, DreamWorks. The focal point of the program is a five-day summer residency on the Old Westbury campus, which will feature a seminar based on the College's first-year seminar, "The Ethics of Engagement." Drawing on primary source readings from a variety of cultural traditions, the seminar will encourage participants to evaluate their own ideas, explore their own identities and recognize their role within and responsibility to the world around them. While at Old Westbury, students will also work on their college essays and attend workshops resources available at the College. Prior to the residency, students develop individual family histories with the assistance of Old Westbury faculty and students. Family history projects will establish a context of self-reflection as participants begin to consciously and critically explore their personal identities and prepare to transition to college. During the fall following the residency, students will return to Old Westbury for a one-day visit to shadow an Old Westbury student and experience the campus while classes are in session.

Skidmore College and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)
SEO-Skidmore Connections
Project Leaders: Jim Chansky (Skidmore College) and Julian Johnson (SEO)


$240,000 over 36 months to provide SEO students with a year-long program that combines a five-week summer residential experience (under the auspices ofSkidmore's Pre-College Program in the Liberal and Studio Arts) with a variety of classes and workshops that will be offered during the academic year, and to support the Scholars Program, SEO's college preparatory program. SEO students will take two classes during the program: a writing class and an elective in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or studio arts. During the academic year, the Skidmore professor who taught the writing class will lead a seminar that echoes course themes. SEO staff will run complementary critical writing sessions that build on seminar themes and discussions. Additionally, staff from Skidmore's Opportunity Programs Office will run a special workshop on admissions, financial aid, and student support services.