Cornell Tech brings together City, Grand Central Tech, and more to provide entrepreneurship, design and computer science training to NYC students


NEW YORK – Cornell Tech announced summer programs for New York City middle and high school students and the second To Code and Beyond conference as part of the university’s commitment to incorporating tech into K-12 education in New York City. The two summer programs, NYC Generation Tech and Coding Off the Grid, are serving 70 students throughout July, building skills in computer science, entrepreneurship, design and more. Cornell Tech, CSNYC, the NYC Department of Education and Google will host the To Code and Beyond conference at the end of the month to continue the dialogue on how to expand access to tech education for all city students.


“Cornell Tech has been working with more than a dozen schools to build technology learning opportunities for students and teachers over the last year. We are thrilled to work with such outstanding partners this year to expand our reach to middle and high school students this summer. We’re proud to be bringing together leaders throughout the education and tech sectors to create a real plan of action for incorporating tech education into the regular school day for every student,” said Diane Levitt, senior director of K-12 education at Cornell Tech.

Coding Off the Grid is a two-week summer program for rising 8th grade students. It was held July 4-17 at the  Global Tech Prep middle school in East Harlem, and will be at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)-funded PS/IS 217 Beacon on Roosevelt Island July 20-31. The curriculum, which integrates computer science with science research and communications, was developed by the American Museum of Natural History’s (AMNH) Bridge Up: STEM program, a new AMNH initiative that supports high school girls and underserved New York City middle school students with an innovative computational and data science education. Students will collect and compute data on birds in the urban environment, including the neighborhood around their schools and Central Park, and will visit AMNH during the program. In addition to AMNH, partners include the NYC Department of Education (DOE), DYCD, CUNY, and P-TECH. At the conclusion of the program, all students and their families will be invited to an event hosted by Cornell Tech explaining the NYC DOE high school choice process, and introducing NYC schools that offer computer science classes.

NYC Generation Tech (GenTech) was housed at Cornell Tech July 4-17. Founded by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), GenTech at Cornell Tech provided 50 high school students with tech and entrepreneurship skills to design and build their own mobile apps and business plans addressing a challenge in their community, working with mentors from the tech sector. Google hosted the two-week bootcamp and sponsored the GenTech program along with several other local partners. The partnership also includes accelerator  Grand Central Tech, who will work with the high school students throughout the year to prepare them for internships and will host six GenTech alumni as interns this summer. In addition to providing space and guest speakers, Cornell Tech will also advise students on preparing college applications. The GenTech class will visit Cornell on July 24 to tour the campus, visit entrepreneurship programs and learn about admission to the ILR School and the College of Engineering. GenTech is an 11-week program culminating with student teams demonstrating and pitching their products in September to experts in the tech and venture capital community.

Cornell Tech and Google hosted the inaugural To Code and Beyond conference in December 2014, bringing together leaders in public education, teachers, principals, the tech sector, and coding education companies and non-profits to talk about how to prepare students for the digital age. At the end of July, Cornell Tech and Google will host the second conference to discuss providing access to computer science to all students, especially underrepresented groups, by incorporating tech education into the schoolday.

Cornell Tech is working on fulfilling its promise to New York City to spur tech education in the City’s public schools. Cornell Tech has partnered with more than a dozen local schools, including PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island, and is coordinating professional development opportunities for teachers to gain experience in incorporating tech thinking into their teaching.

In Coding off the Grid, the students at Global Tech collected and computed data on birds in the urban environment, including the neighborhood around their East Harlem school and Central Park. They learned to use the coding language python to analyze their data. In building their bar graphs, they experimented with changing the colors of the bars. In the video below, Francis, a rising 8th grader learning to code for the first time, explains how he researched bringing more color to his work.