The STEM Saturdays Program

2018 Fall STEM-Saturdays Application is available at this link.

Application Deadline: September 14, 2018

Duration: September 29- December 15, 2018 (tentative, 11 consecutive weeks, except for Nov 24)

Schedule: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Lunch, snack, and Metrocards provided.

Description: In an effort to expand the STEM pipeline in New York City, Cooper Union offers a Saturday program each semester that engages high school students in a hands-on, minds-on learning environment in STEM-related projects.

This program is divided into a fall session and spring session, each meeting for 11 weeks.  The two sessions are independent - you can apply to just one - there are no pre-requisites for either.

Taught by Cooper Union undergraduates and graduate students, called ‘mentors’, high school students develop skills to design, analyze, build, test, and present their solution to a real-world engineering problem.

Students are divided into teams of three-four students that are tasked to solve an engineering problem posed at the beginning of the program.  Cooper Union mentors guide the students through the design and prototyping process, while important professional skills like technical communication and teamwork are developed.  The program includes career counseling and college planning sessions with Cooper Union staff members.  Short homework assignments during the week are given.

The daily schedule is divided into a morning session, a working lunch, and an afternoon session.  The morning session focuses on fundamental knowledge-building where students are given a lesson on a specific topic and/or skill.  During the working lunch, the students watch a video lecture or presentation (20 minutes) on a topic that is timely and relevant to their academic development.  A half hour is then spent mentoring students on a discussion of the video and how the topic discussed relates to their lives.  The afternoon session is then dedicated to applying the fundamental skills taught in the morning to the problem they are solving.

The 11-week program culminates with a technical presentation where all of the students present and pitch their product to a panel of invited guests and judges. The students on the winning team will all receive a monetary prize.

The program is subsidized by donations and grants that cater to students of under-served populations in the STEM fields, including girls, minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, those with disabilities, and who attend schools that lack engineering and AP courses in the STEM fields. Students from these groups are especially encouraged to apply.  ALL high school students from New York City's five boroughs are eligible to apply to this program.

Program Activities

During the first portion of this program, students are 1) exposed to two- and three-dimensional technical visualization as they learn computer-aided drafting (CAD), 2) trained on the use of 3D printers, laser cutters, and basic hand and power tools, and 3) taught basic electronics and computer programming using microntrollers.  This first module provides students with the fundamental knowledge-base they need to design their engineering solution which contains numerous mechanical elements.  During the second module, the students design and prototype their solution to the engineering problem posed.

The student teams will have to pitch their ideas to the class and to invited guests throughout the program as they 1) vet their ideas for marketability to others, 2) develop their presentation skills, and 3) fine-tune their understanding of the problem that was posed.

Students who successfully complete all the assignments and have perfect attendance can apply for a grant to receive the laptop and microcontroller kit they used during the program.

Additional Details

Teaching Staff: One Cooper Union staff member will be on site at all times.  Students will be taught by at least three mentors in each class.

Other notes: Lunch and a snack will be provided, as will Metrocards (for NYC buses and trains only).

Eligibility: Students enrolled in a New York City high school (9th-12th grade).

For additional information, please contact us at


The STEM Saturdays program is made possible through generous donations from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Pinkerton Foundation

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.