STEM Research Academy logo

The STEM Research Academy is a keystone program in CUNY’s Office of STEM Initiatives, a division of the Office of K-16 Initiatives, and administered through a collaboration with CUNY’s College Now program. With the primary focus of access and equity, the STEM Research Academy enrolls high performing, under-resourced NYC high school students. Upon completion of the course, students learn the significance of inquiry, self-advocacy, the societal impact of their mentor’s research and how to conduct research independently.

As a two-semester program, the STEM Research Academy:

  • Consists of a spring pre-college science course and a summer research experience, designed to provide students with an opportunity to build essential literacy and numeracy skills by engaging in ‘authentic inquiry’ activities. The spring pre-college course is designed to strengthen basic skills such as formulating researchable questions, designing testable experiments, performing literature searches in library databases, and reading scientific literature including peer-reviewed journal articles. Students attend the course on a college campus afterschool or on Saturdays. Upon successful completion of the spring course, students have the opportunity to enroll in a summer research experience with CUNY research faculty in a structured six-week internship program.


  • Recruits from high schools that lack a strong science research program and serve large, low income, underrepresented and minority populations. Primarily, juniors are recruited and selected to participate based on Regents exam scores, GPA, submission of a general interest essay, and review of their high school transcript.



Currently, the Academy serves approximately 225 students who work with more than 50 CUNY research faculty. In 2016, the demographic distribution of the Academy was 28% African American, 28% Hispanic, 24% Asian and 20% White; these percentages reflect 20% increases in African American and Hispanic participation than what has been consistent for these groups participating in NYC Science & Engineering Fair, the City’s largest research competition for high school students.