The Green Ready Alternative Energy Program (GRAEP) is a hands-on engineering classoffered free to teenagers in West Harlem's Manhattan Community District 9 by the Digital Media Training Program. The engineering classes began in the spring of 2015 at Columbia University and was inspired and originally financed in 2013 through the efforts of J. Herbert Allen, an engineer and community activist. The instructor is Dr. Brett Sims Munajj, a researcher and educator who is an Associate Professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and holds a PhD. in applied mathematics. The program is a partnership between the Digital Media Training Program and Munajj Enterprises and is funded by the West Harlem Development Corporation.
The GRAEP course was taught to high school students in the spring of 2015 at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, junior high school students during the summer of 2015 at Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, 5th and 6th graders at the Grant Houses Community Center during the fall and winter of 2015, and high school students at the A. Philip Randolph High School during the spring of 2016. The program is scheduled to teach junior high school students at the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem during the summer of 2017.
Students in GRAEP classes engage in experimentation involving three main clean energy categories 1) applications of wind turbines to harness wind energy, 2) hydrogen fuel-cell technology, and 3) solar energy technology and the application of Quantum Dots to solar energy enhancement. Students construct wind turbines, solar cars, experiment with the hydrogen fuel cell, and learn the basic mathematics, science, and engineering that undergirds each of the clean energy areas of interest. Students also design and construct solar projects via 3D printing. Experimentation in the three energy areas includes measurement and calculation of geometric, mechanical, and electric quantities. Students draw cause-effect conclusions and mathematically model the relationship between measured quantities. Students also learn about careers involving clean energy and the colleges/universities that are at the frontier of clean-energy research.
Students from GRAEP have gone on to enroll in engineering and computer science programs at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and the Rochester Polytechnic Institute.
Summer Program 2014
The Digital Media Training Program in Harlem conducted a 3D Animation Workshop and a Black Scientist Speakers Series for black and Latino junior high and high school students at the Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applies Science. Visual artist and animator Femi Ige taught the students 3D animation using the open source animation software Blender. During the workshop students learned how to create a three dimensional car.
In order to encourage students to pursue careers in science and math the Black Scientist Speakers Series was launched. It featured presentations by four black scientists who talked about their areas of research and how they embarked on their careers. Dr. Jamol Pender was born in the Bronx, New York and earned his PhD. from Princeton University in Operations Research and Financial Engineering. Chike Ukeagbu, originally from Nigeria, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the City University of New York and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Mgavi Brathwaite was born in Harlem, New York and earned a Masters of Science degree in Plant Biotechnology from Tuskegee University. Dr. Christopher Blackwood, was born in the Bronx, New York and earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Pharmacology.
The project was a collaboration between the Riverside Church Division of Children, Youth and Families directed by the Reverend James Singletary, the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry’s Digital Media Training Program directed by Columbia Journalism School Adjunct Professor Melvin McCray and Columbia Engineering School’s Outreach Program directed by Emily Ford.
The Digital Media Training Program in Harlem hopes to inspire, train and nurture the next generation of young scientists and digital media artists. The program was funded by the West Harlem Development Corporation.
The Legacy of Nelson Mandela
In this video students from the Digital Media Training Program in Harlem at the Riverside Church report on the life and death of President Nelson Mandela. The Reverend James Forbes, the ministerial staff and the congregation of Riverside Church were early supporters of the anti-apartheid movement and enjoyed a special relationship with Mandela once he was freed from prison after 27 years. After his death on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95, the church celebrated his life and legacy in a memorial service of praise and thanksgiving. The young students in the media-training program are learning journalism, oral history, video and photography. The students used the occasion of Mandela’s death to sharpen their journalism skills and learn more about one of the most influential men of the last century. They were particularly intrigued by the fact that Mandela addressed enthusiastic crowds in the sanctuary where they were reporting. The opening montage contains rare footage of Mandela's farewell address to the Riverside Church filmed by McCray in 2005.
The Digital Media Training Program In Harlem
The Harlem Thourgh My Eyes Project
The primary goal of the Harlem Through My Eyes Project is to create a multi-media exhibit, website and photography book. A secondary goal is to train black and Hispanic youth in the Harlem community in video, photography, 3D animation, computer programming and journalism. The Digital Media Training Program in Harlem seeks to change the long-term prospects of African Americans and Latino youth through their participation in digital media training. The program will enable underserved young people, 11 to 22, to produce projects that express their reality and vision, feature their projects in public screenings and online exhibits, develop their collaborative, communication and critical thinking skills, critique and provide instructive feedback on their work, counsel them on how to channel their creativity and skills into viable career paths as well as guide them to additional training, internships and entry level job positions.