October 2019 News


College and Career Fair at HPHS

CDI is ushering in the fall with a wide range of post-secondary options for students! Our annual College and Career Fairs host up to 400 students, parents, and alumni. Over 47 institutions – from SUNY/CUNY, New York Institute of Technology, Adelphi University, and Drexel University to the NYPD, FDNY, Non-Traditional Employment for Women, and the Arrojo Cosmetology School – will be attending and presenting to students at the upcoming College and Career Fair at City-As-School in late October. Fairs at MCNDHS and HPHS are scheduled for later this year.

“We have a mix of two- and four-year college options, vocational and job readiness programs being represented this year,” said Tomiko Abreu, CDI Post-Secondary Coordinator at CAS. “At the start of every term, we send out a survey to students, to find out what would be most helpful for them, and tailor the service providers and presenters to meet their needs. These events allow our students to network directly with the reps from institutions and to gain insider knowledge on what the college or program is looking for.”

“I’m really looking forward to the Fair this month,” said Jenny, a junior at CAS. “I’m nervous about talking to the reps and making a good first impression. But CDI gave us a list of questions to use as icebreakers, so I’m feeling a lot more confident!”


Over 45 languages from all over the world are spoken across our four sites, which serve student populations as ethnically and linguistically diverse as New York City itself. In the halls of our schools, you’ll hear English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Bengali Wolof, Cantonese, Haitian Creole, Sinhalese, Twi and Farsi – just to name a few.

At MCNDHS, 70% of the students are immigrants. A vital part of the way CDI is able to provide students with the services they need is through our equally diverse staff, who speaks everything from English, French, Spanish, and Wolof to Twi, Arabic, Tamil and Hindi. Being able to communicate with a student in their first language can break down tough cultural and emotional barriers, help our staff assess the exact college and career needs of our students, and provide them with unique post-secondary options for life after high school.


“Coyotes in New York?” exclaimed Valerie, a MCNDHS student, when Nick and Jess, two NYC Park Rangers showed the students a coyote pelt from Inwood Hill Park. From exploring mechanical engineering and bio science labs, to working with the NYC Park Ranger Corps, CDI is committed to offering its students a range of unconventional and exciting after-school career training options. “Our goal is to open up new worlds of opportunity for our students,” said Mia Carmel, CDI College and Career Advisor at MCNDHS. “These internships and career training options help them explore entirely new fields that they may have been previously unaware of.”

Show and tell with NYC Park Rangers, Nick and Jess

NYC Park Rangers Corps

NYC Park Rangers Nick and Jessica from Inwood Hill Park recently visited MCNDHS for an informational session about the Park Ranger Conservation Corps – an 8-10 week internship program. Nick and Jessica showed the students examples from their daily work: cameras to study urban wildlife, oysters from the Billion Oysters Project, and pelts of wild animals like raccoon and coyote. “A lot of people don’t know that there’s an actual forest in Queens! We’re surrounded by nature in this city,” said Jess. The Parks Department offers a variety of employment opportunities, from Ranger positions and maintenance work, to seasonal jobs like lifeguards and coordinators for free public events in the summer. Students eagerly signed up for the internship at the end of the session.

Remote-controlled, full size race car built by MCNDHS students

Constructing Rube Goldberg machines

The Cooper Union Summer STEM Program

The Cooper Union Summer STEM Program is a six-week intensive that introduces students to the basics of electrical and mechanical engineering, and design. Small teams from New York City’s most prestigious high schools work on ambitious and important projects – like designing and creating a toy for children with disabilities, or building complex Rube Goldberg machines and remote-controlled full-size race cars. The program’s mentors, who are all Cooper Union undergraduates studying engineering, art, and architecture, help the students learn skills like making college level presentations. “The mentors don’t give us direct answers, only nudge us in the right direction until we find the answers ourselves,” said Ammar Algaithy, a MCNDHS student. “This is very helpful, because when we have the confidence to solve problems ourselves, we really learn the concepts.”

Student at work in the lab

The Rockefeller University Comparative Bio Science Center

For the last fifteen years, CDI has connected students to the lab research assistant internship at The Rockefeller University’s Comparative Bio Science Center. This is a paid internship opportunity available to MCNDHS students for 15 hours per week, and has also proven to be an excellent career path. Those who successfully complete the internship are guaranteed employment at the Bio Science Center, and several of our students have gone on to full-time careers at The Rockefeller University.

Your Dollar Makes a Difference!

Without the support of each and every one of our individual donors, the stories you read about and the programs that make an impact in the lives of our young people would not be possible. Click here to make a contribution to CDI today!