Peter Choi ’19 Research can be as simple as loading a webpage on Google or asking a teacher for an answer to a difficult question. However, the Weston Research Scholars Program, also known as Weston, takes research to a higher intellectual level. Weston opens doors for high school students to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research.
Josh S. Weston donated $500,000 to establish the program, and Dr. Mathew Mandery, the head of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni foundation and former Brooklyn Tech principal, led the program with a group of Brooklyn Tech mentors. The program encourages teamwork and curiosity.
Dr. Horace Walcott, a Weston mentor, states, “Brooklyn Tech has highly talented students and Weston gives them an opportunity to their nurture their prodigal gifts. This process is what truly establishes an apprentice into a genius.”
Towards the end of freshman year, students are encouraged to apply to Weston through their teachers. Applicants are selected based on their grade point averages and teacher recommendations. Students who meet this requirement go through five weeks of fundamental training in laboratory exercises. During this process, Weston scholars get an opportunity to meet with their mentors to develop their research interests and acquire a position for working in laboratories in different institutions.
Ayman Siam ‘15 states, “Well, it’s [Weston research] a lot of extra work but it’s worth it because you are focusing on something you like to do in life. Weston helps me stay focused on my school work to pursue my interests in electrical engineering.” As a high school student, Ayman is working to find potential professors at New York University in hopes of pursuing his research interests. He notes that the work may be difficult, but remembers that it is only the beginning of his long journey in the STEM field.
As the number of participants in the program increases, Weston encourages students to communicate their research in national competitions such as New York Science and Engineering Fair (NYSEF), Regeneron, Siemens, and Science Talent Search (STS). With their mentors, students are expected to gain insight of their specialized field of study and present their novel discoveries to other researchers.
Dr. Walcott notes, “These Weston researchers are working at a doctoral and post-doctoral levels in a high school setting.” He emphasizes the arduous challenges that Weston scholars must overcome, and hopes for their success in the years to come.