Jamaal Bowman Visits STEM Summer Classes

MT VERNON – Congressman Jamaal Bowman visited Pennington School to sit in on a class at the Northeast STEM Starter Academy (NSSA) on Monday, July 31. The NSSA is a STEM summer program available to students in grades three through ten in Mount Vernon. This year’s lessons began on Monday, July 17, 2023, and ended on Friday, August 4. Over 200 students participated in the program, which is free.

The NSSA is a charitable organization which has the goal of providing at-risk students with access to state-of-the-art science and technology resources. This can help prepare them for careers as teachers, scientists, computer technologists, doctors and engineers.

“Over the last nine years we have engaged over 3,000 students in one class or another,” said Gerald Dennis, founder and executive director of the NSSA. “We’ve had 80 different programs over the last 9 years. We have a 78% student return rate, or students that come back for a second or third class. We have established relationships with colleges, and Mercy is one of them. Pace has been one as well. The objective is to work with them and allow the educators to work with us as instructors for our classes.”

Through their partnerships with colleges and universities, they are able to staff their classes with qualified college professors. These specialized educators provide high level instruction at no cost to the school district. The NSSA receives funding from donors, partnerships, and state and federal grants to offer their courses at no cost to the students.


Each day, students have three 90-minute classes where they learn about STEM concepts such as physics and computer science. Free breakfast and lunch are also provided.
Students in several classes showcased their STEM projects with Congressman Bowman. One group of students created an animated film about students that are dealing with bullying. At the conclusion of the film, the congressman said that the students had the potential to create the next Pixar movie.

The congressman spoke to students about academic excellence and overcoming barriers in fields such as tech and animation.

“My question to you is what’s the next generation of technology, and how are you going to be the ones that create it?” said Bowman. “Because if you can’t create it, you will not benefit from the wealth that is created from it. More importantly, you won’t benefit from how that technology can help the world. Right now, we have people creating artificial intelligence that will help them and the world in some capacity. But if you’re not at the table and you’re not one of the people creating it, it won’t benefit you as much. Because the same way that there is bias and discrimination in the world, there is bias and discrimination in technology. That’s why we have to be the ones to create the technology for the present and the future.”

Before departing, Bowman vowed to continue his support of the Mount Vernon City School District.

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