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Appy Bhattacharya

PhD Scientist
NYU Tandon School of Engineering  

Some of the highlights of my membership in NYAS are being selected for Science Alliance Leadership fellowship, participating in Scientist-in-Residence to mentor middle schoolers and getting them excited about a career in science, and also gaining valuable mentorship through their mentor-mentee pairing program. It’s been an incredible experience!

Amanda Obidike

Executive Director
STEM Makers of Africa  

The New York Academy of Sciences has provided a platform to engage younger voices who view science as a solution to the world’s challenges. It has been an opportunity to leverage on solid networks, collaborate, and demonstrate leadership through Science and Technology.  The Academy has built my belief in the capacity of mentorship.

Faria Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health   

I joined as a mentor in 2018 when I was a PhD student. I took part in academy’s mentoring programs, interacted with young students who wanted to learn more about STEM and in turn benefited by learning how to be a good mentor to young students.

From The Lab To The Classroom

A high school teacher poses for the camera inside her science lab classroom.

Inspired by her father’s appreciation for education and giving back, Chuhyon Corwin became a high school science teacher.

Published February 17, 2023

Neuroscience researcher and EnCorps Fellow, Chuhyon Corwin, traded her research lab for the classroom in a New York City public high school where she works as a science teacher.

Thanks to a partnership between The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program, Korean-born Corwin, an accomplished scientist, was able to explore her interest in teaching high school. For 10 weeks, with support from program staff, she was a volunteer guest teacher in the classroom of a skilled high school science teacher while, in parallel, exploring pedagogical techniques through the program’s online learning modules.

The EnCorps Program

Launched in 2007, EnCorps has already helped over 1,360 seasoned STEM professionals transition from industry or academia to public middle or high school education to ease the acute shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teachers across the United States.

NYAS teamed up with EnCorps to launch the program in New York City in 2022. Corwin was part of the first cohort of New York EnCorps Fellows who had an opportunity to explore becoming a STEM teacher before committing to a career change.

“During my 10-week guest teaching, I fell in love with the students,” explains Corwin. “The joy I experienced gave me the confidence that I was making the right decision in becoming a high school teacher as a long-term career choice.”

Although Corwin had taught university students, she found the work very different in high school. Teachers have to actively engage with their students and ensure they are paying attention. They also have to make sure that students who struggle get the assistance they need to prevent them from falling behind.

Effectively Engaging Students

Maintaining discipline among 30 teenagers and keeping them interested requires a great deal of creativity as well as solid classroom management methods.

“With lab activities, you have to be conscious of their safety and make sure they have enough materials,” says Corwin. “The class itself is short, only 43 minutes, so it has to run like clockwork.”.

While teaching STEM to high schoolers requires dedication and hard work, Corwin finds nurturing young people’s innate curiosity hugely rewarding. She has witnessed the amazement that lights up her students’ faces when their lab experiments succeed. Her own enthusiasm for science and discovery has never abated and she appreciates the opportunity to transmit her passion to the next generation.

“I hadn’t realized how much I would enjoy talking with these students. They come up with good questions,” says Corwin. “At that age, students are so frank. They let you know exactly what they think and I love that.”

After completing her volunteer guest teaching experience with the EnCorps program, with the support and guidance from EnCorps and NYAS, Corwin enrolled in an accelerated program to gain her teaching credentials.

She doesn’t see her move to teaching as a major break in her life.

“I’m simply redirecting my energy to continue my journey as a scientist to make a greater impact by raising more capable future scientists,” she says. “I think a teaching career is very appealing to people who love research. As a scientist, you explore different options, you try things out and reflect to find out what works best.”

Using science fiction novels to engage students with STEM subjects is one of the innovative approaches Corwin discovered while studying for her educational degree.

Inspired by her Father

Corwin sees her father in the students she teaches. While he never had the opportunity to finish high school, he greatly valued education and encouraged her to pursue her studies. He also instilled in her the importance of giving back.

“Hopefully, people who have been in the STEM industry will see the value of giving back,” Corwin says.

Today, Corwin is a science teacher at the High School for Health Professions & Human Services in Manhattan, where she completed her guest teaching as an EnCorps Fellow. Corwin recommends the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program to scientists exploring entering the teaching profession.

“They should try it. Even if in the end you decide not to become a teacher, it’s a valuable experience.”

Learn more about the Academy’s School & Community Programs.

#IAmNYAS: Jacqualyn Jade Schulman

A student presents her research and poster.

Meet an Academy Member and mentor who believes that, through science, anything is possible.

Jacqualyn with her Mentee

Jacqualyn Jade Schulman is a scientist of many talents. As a Graduate Assistant working in Dr. Richard Wojcikiewicz’s lab within the Pharmacology department at SUNY Upstate Medical University, she conducts research that might one day lead to vital therapies for cancer. As a mentor, she volunteers her time to participate in multiple programs of the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance. And when she’s out of the lab, you might find Jacqualyn bowling strikes at her local bowling alley.

What has been one of the most rewarding moments of your scientific career?

I have just been selected to give a presentation at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in August 2017. I am so honored, excited, and nervous at the same time!

What are you currently working on in the lab?

There is a family of proteins that work together to either promote or protect against cell death. I am studying a specific protein in this family named BOK, and the field currently does not know if Bok’s role is to promote cell death or to protect against it. Our lab discovered that Bok binds to a calcium channel that sits in the endoplasmic reticulum. I am working on understanding what Bok’s role is in cell death and how binding to this calcium channel affects its function. If we understand how this family of proteins work we can figure out how to either promote or protect against cell death, which could be vital therapies for diseases such as cancer.

At the Global STEM Alliance Summit

My personal definition of science is…

Constantly questioning everything, remembering that anything is possible, and accepting that negative data is a positive thing.

When you’re out of the lab, what are some of your hobbies?

My biggest hobby is bowling! I have been bowling in leagues since I was 5 years old and was able to bowl competitively in college and travel to tournaments. I haven’t bowled a 300 yet, but my high game is a 289!

What drew you to become a mentor in the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures and Next Scholars programs?

I chose to get involved because I did not have any mentors in the STEM field while I was in high school. When I heard about 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures, one of the first things I thought was that I wished I had this while I was in high school. I wanted to be the mentor that I wished I had. These girls just amaze me with everything they are doing while in high school. It’s inspiring to see girls in high school so involved in their communities and gaining work experience in STEM fields. It is such a rewarding experience to know I played a role, even if it is just a small one, in helping them determine which college to attend or which major to study.

Why do you think it is critical to mentor girls and women in STEM?

We are still struggling with a gender gap. When I took a computer science course in college, I was the only woman in a class of about 50 students. Each field of STEM has such a plethora of jobs within it and I want to make sure these young women know about all the opportunities that are out there. When I turn my laptop on, the log-in screen always displays a different image with some facts. Recently, the background image was a landscape with stars and it included the fact that only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees. I want to have a part in increasing that percentage.

Jacqualyn volunteers with the Global STEM Alliance because she wants to be the mentor she always wished she had in high school. Join her in building a better STEM pipeline by signing up to be a mentor today!