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Education and the Environment

Sustainability is a major theme for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at Brookhaven National Laboratory — where we educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and teachers. 

The Office of Educational Programs offers programs for students ranging from first grade through college and professional development for teachers and university faculty. Programs range from short visits with hands-on activities to multi-week internships for high school and college students. These programs motivate and encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM fields, an essential requirement to solve the challenges of sustainability. In addition, many of the programs address environmental sustainability and stewardship through research, introductions to renewable and alternative energy sources, and environmental assessment.  

We actively seek opportunities to share our knowledge and world-class facilities through networking and partnerships with universities, professional organizations, and the local community. We sponsor and co-host many educational and professional conferences and workshops that range from the Long Island Pine Barrens Research Forum, which showcases our unique location in the pine barrens, to Stony Brook University’s Undergraduate Applicants Day where prospective students learn about the opportunities available to them through our programs and at our research facilities.     

student at Peconic estuary

Students visit the local Peconic Estuary to learn how to collect and analyze data on the health of the ecosystem.

Open Space Stewardship

Open Space Stewardship

Long Island STEM Hub

2015 Long Island STEM Hub event

SULI student

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship

K-12 Grade Programs

We offer a number of programs for the K-12 level including the Open Space Stewardship Program. This program prepares teachers to conduct environmental research on preserved properties in their communities in partnership with the land steward. Students in grades K through 12 are involved in authentic environmental research on parkland and open space in their communities, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility. The program is designed to achieve goals that include benefiting land stewards in the management of their property, helping students learn about the scientific process through working with real-life data in the field, promoting scientific literacy, and encouraging students to consider careers in science and technology. The Lab's Office of Educational Programs is also collaborating with Cold Spring Harbor’s Dolan DNA Learning Center and the American Museum of Natural History to engage teachers and students in a DNA bar-coding program for the Long Island environment. Samples collected by participants are analyzed and presented using new barcoding methods.

Long Island STEM Hub

A recent initiative is the Long Island STEM Hub with the Lab serving as a co-steward. As a collaborative group, the Lab along with many Long Island business, academic, and informal education organizations started the Long Island STEM Hub to prepare students to become part of the Island’s high-tech workforce through enhanced STEM experiences. Through the Hub, resources are being deployed in a more collaborative and coordinated approach to increase awareness of STEM job opportunities on Long Island, and to develop programs that prepare the next generation workforce for these jobs. 

College and University Programs

The Laboratory has robust interactions with higher education. Many schools from across the country, and internationally, participate in research at Brookhaven Lab and use the world-class facilities on site with a focus on sustainable energy sources, climate research, environmental science, and more, all essential to sustainability. Each year several hundred college students at the undergraduate and graduate level participate in multi-week internships that immerse them in the collaborative research environment at the Lab. As an example, the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, provides opportunities for students to gain research experience in chemistry, engineering, biology, nuclear medicine, applied mathematics, high- and low-energy physics, and more. Student appointees are placed with members of our scientific and professional staff where they have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research, take part in scientific seminars, visit major Lab facilities, and contribute to a scientific journal or a Brookhaven Lab report.