Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
Changing the Face of Astronomy
Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - 04:00 AM
Even though the country's most famous astronomer, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is African-American, only 2 percent of all U.S. students earning doctorate degrees in astronomy and physics were black or Hispanic in the years 2000-11.
In response, the City University of New York launched a program to get more under-represented minorities into astronomy by paying their way through college, and one-on-one mentoring.
In the last two years the small AstroCom NYC program accepted eight students. For Ariel Diaz and his classmates it has been a game changer, enabling them to afford college while providing real hands-on research. Diaz, 27, grew up on the Lower East Side. He served as a Marine before enrolling at the Borough of Manhattan Community College three years ago. He said he still can't believe he'll have a research job this summer.
"And they're paying us," he said. "That's unheard of, to me where I'm coming from."
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