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Forbes a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University

Dame Forbes had a busy summer. The Huntington High School science teacher was a visiting scholar at Columbia University, participating in the Ivy League school's science teacher research program.

Teachers selected for the program participate during two consecutive summers as members of specialized research teams led by Columbia faculty members. The program's primary purpose is to provide New York metropolitan area K-12 science teachers with a comprehensive hands-on experience in scientific research.

Fewer than 20 teachers are selected annually to participate in the program, which was created in 1990 by Dr. Samuel C. Silverstein.  The Columbia summer program includes opportunities in astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, genetics, material science and engineering, medicine, microbiology, nanotechnology, physics, physiology, toxicology and a variety of other specialties.

"This summer was an amazing experience," Ms. Forbes said. "I spent time in the chemical engineering department in the McNeill Group studying atmospheric chemistry.  Specifically, I am studying how a specific small organic compound may influence cloud formations.  I will be presenting my findings at a conference in January and, hopefully, if all continues to go well, work toward publishing a scientific article next year."

According to the program's website, participants "report that their experiences have engaged them intellectually, provided them with new avenues for personal and professional growth, increased their appreciation of the process of scientific discovery, and enhanced their ability to communicate the excitement of science to their students and fellow teachers."

Columbia provides each participating teacher with a stipend of $5,000 in each of the two summers, $500 following each summer to purchase supplies, materials and equipment for the classroom and the opportunity to attend a professional conference.

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