Promoting youth entrepreneurship and STEM learning through hydroponics, aquaponics new aquaculture programs in New York City

Worksite Location
Project Dates
Late May through mid August
Faculty Sponsor
Michael Timmons
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Jennifer Tiffany, Philson A.A. Warner
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Over the past several years there has been a large increase in urban agriculture activities in New York City with a wide range of project motivations, for example, non-profit, commercial, educational, social justice. Many of these projects use controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technology and Sustainable Environmentally Controlled Agriculture (SECA) such as hydroponics, aquaponics or aquaculture in greenhouses or indoor environment. The summer intern will be based at the Cornell University Coop Ext, NYC (CUCE-NYC ) Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Aquaculture Learning labs and will work with youth in school-based and community-based settings. The program is geared towards using hydroponics, aquaponics and aquaculture to promote STEM learning and interest in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and Sustainable Environmentally Controlled Agriculture (SECA) among youth. The learning labs at Food and Finance High School also encourage youth to develop entrepreneurial skills and to use the products (lettuce, kale, herbs, tilapia, etc) in culinary arts activities and in "pop-up"' stores, working in collaboration with the staff and volunteers of the Food Education Fund. The 2018 project will build on the survey of NYC CEA projects completed by prior CCE interns Wylie Goodman (2016) and expanded Christian Kanlian (2017). 

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern will be supervised by Extension Associate Philson Warner and will also work closely with his lab assistants Imami Dailey and Gus Brennan in engaging high school students students and youth summer program participants in learning about hydroponics, aquaponics and aquaculture at the learning labs located at the Food and Finance High School located at the NYCDOE's 50th Street Education Campus and at other program locations (e.g., the Police Athletic League's summer program). The intern will maintain a detailed lab notebook detailing CEA and SECA practices and youth education activities as well as a journal and blog.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The candidate should have excellent communication skills, the ability to take initiative and work independently as well as collaboratively as part of a team. Coursework in urban agriculture and practical experience in hydroponics, aquaponics and/or aquaculture are beneficial but not necessary.   

Benefits and Skills

The student will develop expertise in the hydroponics, aquaponics and aquaculture methods used in the CUCE-NYC learning labs. The student will develop skills in engaging and educating high school aged youth in CEA practices, learning about STEM, and developing interests into entrepreneurial activities. The student will further improve their communication and teamwork skills.