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A Brooklyn School’s Solve for Tomorrow Project Nabs Attention of NYC Transit Chief

1/27/2023

In January, New York City Transit President Richard Davey paid a visit to Liberty Avenue Middle School. He’d learned that a group of seventh grade students from the Brooklyn-based school had participated in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, which challenges U.S. public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role STEM can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities. What’s more is that they made it to the State Finalists level of the national competition for submitting a STEM solution about new “Subway Safety” communication technology for the world’s oldest, largest, and most used mass transit system.

MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey and Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow surprise 7th grade students Alan, Chris, Criss, and Sinthia with a visit to Liberty Avenue Middle School on Thursday, Jan 12, 2023. The students, under the guidance of teacher Jessica Abrams, are state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition with their design of a push-button method for summoning police or mental health assistance in the subway.
(Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

Intrigued by a Brooklyn Reader article he’d read of their Subway Safety concept and impressed that they had advanced in the STEM competition, Davey wanted to pay props to the Liberty students and their teacher Jessica Abrams and assure them that their safety concerns are being heard. “I was ecstatic to learn that a group of 7th graders advanced to finals with an idea that involves the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet them in person,” said Davey. “This goes to show how relevant public transit is to every New Yorker, no matter how old. I commend the work they are doing and their teacher for her support and leadership. I wish them the best of luck in the next round.”

This encounter captures the essence of what Samsung seeks to accomplish through Solve for Tomorrow – to show students that with STEM, they have the power to make their voices and their ideas heard, and the power to change their communities for the better. And this isn’t just a meet-cute New York story. There are examples from the competition’s 13 years where local governments across the country have engaged with STEM students to discuss, build out, and help implement concepts that surfaced in Solve for Tomorrow entries.

Examples include designing new parks to reclaim and remediate industrial sites in Central Falls, Rhode Island; creating a smart phone app for Detroit that crowdsources locations of vacant lots and structures needing clean up or demolition; and deploying tablet computers in Texas to forge connections between nursing home residents and students to help battle senior isolation and depression. The list goes on.

The empowerment of being seen, and having attention paid to their innovations and ideas has encouraged students to pursue STEM careers; built confidence in their problem-solving ability; and set them on a path to future success. And that is what Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is all about – fueling the creation of innovative, empathetic, and bold thinkers, leaders, changemakers, and activists that are highly engaged in the direction of our society.

(NOTE: Samsung Solve for Tomorrow State Winners will be announced in mid-February. Visit Samsung.com/Solve to find out if Liberty Avenue Middle School will move to the next phase of the competition.)

Read the full MTA press release here: https://new.mta.info/press-release/mta-leaders-visit-liberty-avenue-middle-school-finalists-their-subway-safety-idea

And check out the Brooklyn Reader article here: https://bkreader.com/2023/01/19/mta-pays-a-visit-to-the-east-ny-7th-graders-behind-innovative-subway-safety-idea/

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