The Science Academy is an after-school enrichment program, scheduled outside of the regular school day and free of homework or formal assessment. This dynamic program is designed to encourage student engagement and inspire a love of science without the stress of formal exams. Labs and lectures take place in one-hour blocks of time. In the Academy setting, students have opportunities to experience lab inquiry and develop the necessary transformations in the scientific process that evolve during experimentation. This ideology is in line with the philosophy of Abraham Joshua Heschel, whereas the “greatness of life is in the experience of facing a challenge rather than just having satisfaction.” The Academy is a place where students have the luxury of being challenged without being graded. They are free to experience the enjoyment and passion, learn the art of technique, and practice the logical thinking that is born from countless inductive and deductive experiments.
Colloquium Speakers 2014
Physicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Planetary exploration via radio signals
Project Scientist for the GRAIL lunar mission and co-investigator on several planetary missions
“Robotic Solar System Exploration & Planetary Discovery”
Paul Milberg, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery
U.S.C. School of Medicine
Private Practice, Tarzana
“Kaleidoscopic View of Plastic Surgery”
Allison Rosenzweig, Ph.D.
Scientific Communications Analyst
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
“Pancreatic Cancer Today”
Lise Spiegel, Ph.D.
Teacher, Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist
Our House (bereavement support groups for teenagers, adults)
“How Your Memory Works: Improving Your Study/Testing Results”
Gil Bejerano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology, Stanford University
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
“Human Genome Adventures: Get Paid to Solve Riddles All Day Every Day”
Global Director, Clinical Research
“Diabetes and the Artificial Pancreas: Another Insight into Medical Technology”
Kenneth Dery, Ph.D.
Department of Immunology
Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope
“A Brave New World: The Functional Role of Long Non-Coding RNAs in Human Carcinomas”
The Science Academy’s approach is based on the Jewish tradition’s four integral ways to think about science as we approach new knowledge: Ben Adam L’Havero (between person and community), Ben Adam L’Teva (between person and nature), Ben Adam L’Makom (between person and God), and Ben Adam L’Atzmo (between person and self).
We ask: How does the science help the community? Could it solve problems in communication, hunger, justice, health, safety, and environment?
We ask: How does the science impact the environment? Does this science have implications for maintaining God’s creation?
We ask: How does this knowledge bring me closer to God? Often science, or even the limitations of science, sheds light on the intricate fabric and implications underlying all of existence. For many, there are wonderfully evolved connections between the Divine and scientific study which actually bolsters faith. We challenge our students to consider such connections without demanding them.
We ask: Have I exercised integrity in my work and findings? Scientific work should be measured against the highest professional standards. Science that does not openly share its implications especially negative ones-is dangerous.
Students participate in an intensive, extraordinarily experiential program exploring the full spectrum of biological and physical science-reaching for the highest ideals for how science can be taught in our schools. The goals of the Academy program are:
• to enrich students at the highest level with a wide spectrum of scientific knowledge;
• to motivate even those who have not been science-oriented in the past;
• to infuse students with a synergistic knowledge of Judaism and science;
• to allow students to see science as a process and encourage scientific innovation;
• to engage in scientific research at the university level, and
• to give back to the community
Today’s headlines are filled with scientific issues with which environmentalists, religious and community leaders, and lawmakers grapple passionately: stem cell research, abortion, health care issues. Indeed, the world community faces immense challenges in the present and future that can only be met with tools found in science, medicine and technology. Myriad examples from history and current debates illustrate the power of science, as well as the dangers of science which lacks moral vision. The Science Academy concept, pioneered at New Community Jewish High School, is an effort to synthesize powerful science education with the moral responsibility found in the world of Jewish values and ideals. The Academy program reflects our efforts to address our nation’s pressing need for outstanding scientific minds, shaped and guided by Jewish values, to provide leadership in government, industry, education and medicine.