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News & Updates

Estuary Lab Promotes Diversity & Inclusion

August 19

For Hudson River Park’s Estuary Lab, building a community of science lovers and stewards is central to protecting our 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary. We do this by engaging nearly 30,000 of you every year through free and low-cost environmental education and participatory science programs.

For the last two years, we’ve worked with a very special group of young scientists as part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) “Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science” (INCLUDES) initiative. Promoting diversity and inclusion, the Estuary Lab’s INCLUDES program recruits students from communities historically underrepresented in STEM fields to participate in immersive environmental science research. This partnership with Columbia University, City College and others empowers students to conduct meaningful research focused on combined sewer overflow impacts in the Park.

For eight weeks, our Estuary Lab staff worked with two CUNY City College students who in turn mentored six high school students from the Intrepid’s GOALS for Girls program and The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem for six weeks.

  • Each day the students worked on an authentic research project alongside scientists from HRPK’s Estuary Lab or the City College of New York, experiencing the breadth of urban marine science.
  • Students also participated in a series of STEM leadership workshops that aim to develop professional and communication skills, foster science literacy and provide an opportunity for students to self-determine the significance of their interests and future in STEM.

Through INCLUDES and other community engagement efforts, Estuary Lab scientists and educators facilitated the following important conversations around diversity in STEM.

On July 31, the Estuary Lab co-hosted a panel discussion for high school and college students at the New York Academy of Sciences. This well-attended panel focused on diversity and inclusion in STEM and brought together a diverse panel of experts to discuss their work, experiences exploring careers and the importance of diversity in the STEM workforce.

On August 14, to culminate a successful summer, high school interns from the INCLUDES program presented their scientific research and findings at a student research symposium hosted by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. The students presented a scientific poster to their peers and local scientists and showcased their newly developed research and science communication skills.

Helping to nurture diversity in STEM fields while building a deeply engaged and ever growing scientific community in HRPK, the INCLUDES program meaningfully contributes to Hudson River Park Estuary Lab’s research, stewardship and community engagement. We look forward to continuing to foster our diverse community’s engagement with the Hudson River as a living laboratory for years to come!

Learn more about the Hudson River Park Estuary Lab and how you can get involved!