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Program Highlights

Multi-Day Simulation

Students wear the breathing apparatuses they worked on during NYLF Explore STEM Alumni's multi-day simulation There are many challenges to humans exploring Mars, whether it be the scarcity of natural resources, the wild fluctuations in temperature, or the lack of magnetosphere. However, there's no challenge greater to maintaining a human presence on Mars than overcoming the limited amount of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. During this engaging simulation, which spans the entirety of the forum, students will enjoy guided activities and access to the Maker Centers as they work together to create solutions for survival in an atmosphere that's 96% carbon dioxide.

Strand Selection

Students in the medicine strand at NYLF Explore STEM Alumni dissect a sheep's lung

One of the best ways to build a student's passion for a future career is to provide them with exposure to their opportunities and then let them determine their path. Prior to attending the program, students have the ability to select the strand that they're most passionate about—either medicine or engineering—which will become their focus during the simulation.

Students who select the medicine strand will learn about the anatomy of the lungs, participate in a sheep lung dissection, and be challenged to design and create a prototype of a breathing apparatus for living on Mars.

Students who select the engineering strand will learn about air permeability and building materials, use 3D modeling to learn about oxygen chambers, and be challenged to design their own chambers and entrances to habitats on Mars.

Immersion Experiences

Students at NYLF Explore STEM Alumni participate in a virtual reality (VR) exploration of the Red Planet (Mars) While the NYLF Explore STEM program took place exclusively at each program location, the alumni program provides students with four unique experiences that allow them to interact with subject-matter experts and gain exposure to emerging STEM fields.

  • In partnership with Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, students will learn about robotic medical technology, hear stories of past robotic surgery cases, and participate in a Q&A session.
  • At the Villanova Immersive Studies Cave, students will be immersed in 3D virtual reality worlds, including the landscape of the Red Planet, and get an inside look at how these worlds are created.
  • Students tour a greenhouse and telescope observatory plus hear from Edward Guinan, Ph.D. and Scott Engle, Ph.D., two scientists who are discovering which plants might be best suited to grow on the red planet.
  • At Villanova's Structural Engineering Teaching & Research Laboratory, students will take part in a hands-on approach to learning about different building materials when they make AND break concrete cylinders.

Maker Centers

Students work together to design and test a prototype at NYLF Explore STEM Alumni

Innovation is often born from the freedom to create. To help assist students with their simulation, they'll have access to Maker Centers, which will provide them with the means to design and test their prototypes. Each day, they'll move their prototype closer to completion, before presenting their final product on the next-to-last day of the program.