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Students act as engineers, chemical testers in summer program

When asked to envision an office building that would meet federal environmental design standards, a team of 13 students spent the summer researching sustainable building materials and construction practices.

The result was a mock-up for 51 Astor Place, a seven story office building proposal that would feature a parking garage with bike storage, a roof garden that would naturally cool the building, and a community center with a pool and a gym.

The students, who presented their project results this morning to family members and peers, were amoung 100 students from public and private city high schools participating in a free science research program run by the Cooper Union. The students were matched up with researchers, who helped them devise projects to solve problems facing mathematicians, civil engineers, product testers, and other professionals who conduct scientific research.

Samuel Fok, a rising senior from Manhattan’s High School for Environmental Studies, said he learned much about environmental engineering and teamwork from the green building project.

“It was intense. Coming here, you have to be serious about working and cooperating and trying to learn more,” he said. “It provided a good sense of what engineers actually do.”

Close to 90 students in the program hailed from public schools, including Aviation High School, Francis Lewis High School, Bard Early College High School, and Fort Hamilton High School. They are among a number of city students to spend the summer exploring math and science through their schools and local nonprofits.