Mission Statement & Background

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Mission Statement & Background

Proyecto Science Mission

Proyecto mentor student presentation


New Jersey City University Proyecto Science is a community-funded, non-profit organization committed to preparing future engineers and scientists from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Proyecto Science participants are highly motivated seventh, eighth, and ninth-graders willing to spend several summer weeks at NJCU learning high-level mathematics, science, computer science and technology. Proyecto Science provides students with academic and practical instruction and encourages them to attend college and to pursue careers as engineers and scientists.


In 1996 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) created Proyecto Access (USPA), a nationwide, free summer enrichment program, to increase the number of middle and high school students who would be interested in pursuing careers related to mathematics, science, engineering and technology, and to increase the number of female students interested in such academic areas.

The USPA educational and administrative model was based on the Texas Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (TexPREP) which was established in Texas in 1979. The academic component of TexPREP consists of three consecutive, seven-week summer enrichment activities focusing on mathematics, sciences and computer sciences. Incoming eighth-graders are constituted as the first year cohort. Those students who successfully complete the first session are invited to attend two more summers.

Assessments of both TexPREP and USPA demonstrated high retention and success rates within the three-year cycle of the summer sessions, and throughout the years the programs were in operation. Furthermore, these assessments have strongly suggested an increase not only in the aforementioned academic areas, but also in the academic success of the program's graduates in high school and college.

As a member of the USPA conglomerate, New Jersey City University Proyecto Access (NJCU-PA) followed the core curriculum of the nationwide program. However, since its inception, NJCU-PA incorporated additional academic and non-academic activities into the core program. The basic nationwide model was enhanced with classes such as Website Development, Chess, Photography, Advanced Placement Statistics, Computer Architecture and Robotics. NJCU-PA initiatives were replicated in other Proyecto Access sites in the country such as New York at the Hostos Community College.

President Sue Henderson at Proyecto Presentation

The majority of USPA funding was provided by NASA and was supplemented by in-kind and financial contributions from the participating institutions, school districts and other sponsors. The consortium of 10 educational institutions ended in the spring of 2005 when NASA discontinued the program's financial support.

Over the years, with additional financial support from the participating school districts, Provident Bank (Bayonne), HACU and the Shell Oil Foundation, NJCU-PA added a fall component. In 2004, a spring component was added. Participants who were invited in the Fall Semester attended applied technology classes on Saturday mornings; and in the spring a new cohort of Jersey City first-year students attended preparatory sessions and joined the summer session as second-year participants. This fall/spring component was named Proyecto Science.

In the spring of 2005, after NASA's nationwide withdrawal as a sponsor, Proyecto Access program, NJCU, HACU and the school districts of Bayonne and Jersey City combined resources to continue the program at NJCU under the name of NJCU Proyecto Science Consortium, or simply, Proyecto Science. In 2009, Proyecto Science expanded its recruitment reach to a second site in East Hanover, New Jersey. As a result of its success, the community gathered together to raise funds for the second year cohort in the 2010 Proyecto Science summer program at East Hanover.

In 2010 additions were made to further enhance the program. Reading Across the Curriculum, Urban Environmental Science and more hands-on activities and experiments in the classes were implemented. Additional instructors and staff members were hired to strengthen the curriculum, oversee the chess club and tournament, and to serve as liaisons between the main campus, the University Charter School and East Hanover site. Through combined efforts, the program has gone through extraordinary changes that will continue to benefit students.

In 2012, Explore 2000 Middle School of the Hudson County Schools of Technology partnered with Proyecto Science as an initiative to have their students experience the sciences and mathematics taught at a higher level and in a way that is different than they do during the academic year. 

Revision of the Proyecto Science curriculum began in 2013 for the 2014 program year. Curricula was revised to meet the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. As of 2014, first year students were enrolled in Algebra, Biology I: Life Science, Computer Science, and Physics I. Second year students were enrolled in Chemistry, Geometry, Physics II, and Pre-Calculus. Third year students were enrolled in Biology II: Anatomy and Physiology, Calculus, Physics III, and Probability and Statistics.

In 2020, the Proyecto Science program successfully completed a fully online teaching curriculum because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, we were able to offer a hybrid program to give parents/students flexibility to accommodate their needs with the ongoing pandemic. We also expended the program to add an extra year of enrollment starting in the summer of 2021 in which students can attend the STEM program for up to four consecutive years. Our program is always adapting to accommodate students despite the difficulties that arise.