Thor Snilsberg is an educational entrepreneur and parent dedicated to inspiring a generation of urban youth to learn from and improve their environment. Born on a farm and trained as an urban planner, Thor has led economic development, alternative transportation, and education projects with community engagement at their heart. By bringing science to life in their communities, Thor envisions a world where students learn and apply science in their surroundings.
Thor’s engagement in education issues began as an undergraduate when he first volunteered as a mentor, tutoring middle-school students in St Paul, MN. After moving to NY, Thor continued to mentor youth and volunteer for educational organizations. These experiences developed Thor’s commitment to educational equity and his desire to found CityScience.
As the founding Director, Thor draws from his prior work in all three sectors of the economy. He began his career in technology consulting at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and worked as a labor market analyst before enrolling at Cornell University for a Masters in Urban Planning. While at Cornell, Thor conducted and published research on the early childhood economic sector.
Ethan has facilitated and designed inquiry-based environmental education for over ten years. Dedicated to social justice issues in the field of education, he focuses on empowering young people to take ownership over their own education as well as creating inclusive learning environments for all participants. Ethan has worked with Thompson Island Outward Bound, Naturalists at Large, Outward Bound Adventures Inc., and the Boston Natural Areas Network. Ethan holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Playing with pill bugs and climbing trees his entire life, Ethan cherishes connecting people to the earth, water, sky and the fire in us all.
Coaches and Assistant Coaches
CityScience Coaches and Assistant Coaches bring teaching experience and in depth scientific knowledge to your educational setting. To learn more about joining the CityScience team, visit our jobs page.
Eileen is a retired New York City public school teacher with over twenty years managing science programs in early childhood, after-school and park settings. Focusing on teaching and learning from PreK to the fifth grade, Eileen is an experienced trainer and facilitator. Eileen holds a Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University
Liz is a certified middle school science teacher who has been teaching in East Harlem and Washington Heights since 2006. A true scientist and teacher, she earned her B.S. in Biology and Mineralogy and her M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from The George Washington University and Columbia University. After working in the research laboratories of the Smithsonian Institution, she became involved with the civil engineering and astrophysics departments at Columbia where she continued doing research and sharing her laboratory experiences with her students. In 2010, she was selected to spend a summer researching algae as an alternate biofuel on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Most recently a master teacher with Equity Project Charter School, she is thrilled to bring her experience mentoring teachers and excitement for field-research to her coaching engagements with CityScience.
Chiara Di Palma
Chiara knows CityScience’s programs inside and out after developing curriculum, teaching and leading professional development programs while she the manager of Urban Education at the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment (BCUE). Chiara has also developed curriculum and taught environmental education for New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Chiara holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Pratt Institute.
Omena is a certified holistic health practitioner and nutritional cook with a gift for facilitating youth wellness workshops. Practicing a holistic approach to health, she is an expert in creating space for student dialogues that explore how all aspects of life connect to nutrition. A Brooklyn native, Omena has led education programs for Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, Delta GEMS and Brooklyn College. Omena’s trained as a health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and holds a BS in Communications and Alternative Education from Norfolk State University.
Nancy began her teaching career as a Teaching Fellow and has eleven years classroom experience teaching middle school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn at a Title I school. These experiences have developed into Nancy’s passion for making science accessible and exciting to all students, especially students with special needs and English Language Learners. Nancy has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science, a Masters’ in Middle School Education and is currently pursuing an Advanced Certificate in TESOL. Nancy’s commitment to teaching STEM through career and real-world experiences began while participating in the Summer Research Program for Science Teachers at Columbia University where she worked alongside engineers in the Chemical Engineering department and developed engineering activities for her classroom. Sharing her teaching expertise, Nancy has also taught a graduate level course for first year education majors at Brooklyn College.
Juan is an undergraduate Biology major at Hunter College with a talent for organic chemistry and the goal of attending medical school. He was one of the first counselors at Steve’s Camp at Horizon Farm, a place that provides an escape for underprivileged New York City youth. He is part of the Community Of Unity family, a non profit organization dedicated to helping youth graduate high school. Juan lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn where his childhood love for science began. Always curious about how the world around him works, he spent hours at the park collecting bugs, climbing tries, and rummaging through the park for weird shaped things. Bringing his understanding of urban life and science expertise to CityScience, Juan seeks to hone his educator skills so he help children develop a passion for science.
Born in Staten Island, Matthew is a student at Hunter College, where he is pursuing a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. At Hunter he is active in student government and serves on the Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee. An experienced after-school educator, Matthew serves on the Alumni Board of CityYear New York.
Omari Washington is an urban planner and educator concerned with the social and environmental well-being of under-served communities. A specialist in urban food production, access, nutrition and employment, Omarl helps communities improve their social and environmental quality of life. As the Education Director for New York Restoration Project, Omari created, implemented and evaluated innovative environmental education programs, as well as managed a large, diverse team of professionals. This work allowed him to appreciate the challenges and rewards of developing the talents of staff responsible for educating thousands of New York City youth about the urban environment. In April 2012, Omari was selected to attend the first White House Summit on Environmental Education, hosted by the EPA. Other professional recognition includes being selected as a Fellow at the Center for Whole Communities in 2010. From 2009-2012, he served as a co-chair on the MillionTreesNYC Education Subcommittee. Omari is a graduate of Green Mountain College and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Urban Environmental Systems Management at Pratt Institute.
Bookkeeper - Cindy Davis
Development Associate - Brandon Sherman
Brandon is an undergraduate junior at New York University. He plans to graduate with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business Studies and Psychology, in which after he hopes to find an occupation in saving the world in some way or another. Brandon has a profound interest in renewable and sustainable energy, but his time at CityScience has fostered a growing interest in STEM education.
CityScience believes in creating meaningful internships for high school students with a passion for science while also supplementing a wide range of professional experiences for graduate and undergraduate students. To learn more about CityScience internships, visit our jobs page.
Robins is a mechanical engineering student at the City College of New York. He was raised in Haiti until the age of 18. In middle school, a classmate of Robins demonstrated some electricity concepts using a light bulb and a battery. It is one of the reason he decided to learn engineering. In addition to his studies, Robins runs on the track team and is working as a tutor for the Academic Support Center of the College Discovery program at Queensborough Community College.
Michele is a sophomore at Macaulay Honors College at Baruch and is majoring in Mathematics and Environmental Science with a minor in New York City Studies. Her goal is to educate people about the environment and get others as interested in the environmental sustainability movement as she is. As a CityScience Intern, she can hone in on this goal through her research into farming and planting in New York City. This incorporates researching fields such as Vertical Farming and Green Roofs.
Jackson Patrick is a senior at Montclair High School. He works with CityScience through the Career Internship Program (CIP) at Montclair High School. Jackson has a strong interest in building and operating electronic devices, and in his spare time, plays and uploads video game footage to YouTube. Jackson will be attending the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the fall to study Computer Engineering.
Audrey Massmann is a May 2014 graduate of Barnard College. She majored in Environmental Science and minored in Chemistry while directing a Let’s Get Ready! tutoring program for underserved high schoolers and performing original research on the soil microbial communities of Malaysian rainforests and New York City green roofs and parks. As an NSF-funded Noyce Teacher Scholar, she has completed pedagogical coursework and an independent study of inquiry science teaching and science teacher preparation in a New York City public middle school classroom, the findings of which she presented as part of the Barnard STEM Colloquium Series. She plans to complete the requirements to be certified as a New York secondary science teacher by student teaching with Noyce support in Fall 2014. At CityScience, Audrey will be curating the database of lesson plans, formulating curriculum maps, and proposing areas where lesson plans could be expanded into more cohesive curricula.
Kenan will be a rising sophomore at Hobart and William Smith colleges. He is triplet and the middle child with one younger sister and one older sister. His parents were both born in Guyana, but he was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He plays basketball for Hobart college, takes part in the Caribbean Students Association Club, and participates in community service. He recently became interested in Environment Studies and has enrolled in a class this upcoming semester. At CityScience, Kenan hopes to learn and understand what is going on in the environment and what is causing the rapid changes, while also learning how to keep the environment safe.
Kelly is a rising senior at Brooklyn Technical High School. As a bio-medical engineering major in her school, Kelly began to possess a strong fascination in biology, chemistry, the environment, and how the human body works. By volunteering at the public library for over a year, Kelly developed many organization and social skills. In addition to science, Kelly is interested in art, including painting, drawing, and crafting. Her interests inspired me to further study science in college and pursue a science or health-related career.
Joshua is a rising sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. He was born and raised in the Bronx as the oldest of three brothers. At Carnegie Mellon, he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a possible double major in Robotics. He is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and a racing sport called “Buggy.” He has always been interested in technology ever since he was a part of the robotics team in high school. At CityScience, Joshua hopes to learn discover different ways to teach kids about the STEM field using the scenery and technology of New York City.
Su Hyun Hong
Born in South Korea, Su Hyun Hong is a graduate of SungShine Women’s University with a major in Psychology. Her interests in education started when she volunteered as an art therapist for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and when she was a field trip manager of Aplus Academy in the Philippines. She grew up in the city of Seoul, but has been active in simple farming and environmental stewardship as taught by her grandparents. With CityScience, Su Hyun wants to learn and share the knowledge of the environment and science and help take care of the health of students’ mind by improving education and the natural environment.
Check out these past volunteers to see how you could help at CityScience!
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Our Educational Approach
Inquiry-based learning starts with a question and cooperative inquiry is the process of teachers and students answering questions together. Scaffolded by teachers, students use tools to find information, explore causes and create meaning. In the process, they develop analytical skills and become group and individual problem solvers.
Scientific topics are more accessible and relevant when connected to the real world. Place-based lesson plans with hands-on experiments invite student exploration, allow differentiated learning and directly link science topics to life, community, neighborhoods and the future.
3. Integrated Curricula
Students benefit when science is taught with other subjects. An integrated science curriculum combines math, geography, social studies, and history. Mapping lesson plans between subjects creates thematic learning environments. When learning is organized around themes, students have more opportunities to practice interdisciplinary skills like literacy, numeracy, research and critical thinking.
Students learn by doing and sharing their learning. Experiences such as observing, experimenting, creating data, dissecting and journaling create opportunities for students to apply their learning. End of project portfolios and presentations celebrate student learning and achievement.