Final Director’s Update


Parents and Guardians,

The Final Banquet and the Awards Ceremony are now over. The final dance is about to begin. Pizza and movies will follow the dance as students continue to bid each other farewell. The first tears of goodbye have been shed, as students say adieu to new friends from the four corners of the world.

The Wednesday night coffeehouse, with its public speakers, future scientists, and poetry readers; the Thursday afternoon class exhibitions of CPR demonstrations, business pitches in a “Shark Tank” fashion, and art and advertising design exhibitions (among many others); and the musical theater performance (over twenty songs back-to-back, complete with dancing and some nice costumes!), were impressive examples of what these students have accomplished in their four short weeks here. They are an exceptionally talented group of young men and women, and the faculty and staff have been honored to be able to get to know them.

Thank you for sharing the summer with us. I hope that each and every student of NYCE 2014 brings the same energy that they felt here to their respective schools at home, as well as further afield. It was refreshing and inspiring for me, as an educator, to spend a month learning alongside them. I am sure that the friendships and connections formed this summer will have a memorable, lasting impact on all the students, as they will have on all of us here.

With warm regards,

Kevin B. Held
NYCE Director

Final Exhibits!

The month coming to a close, students continue to display their hard work in the form of presentations open to the crowd of peers and family. Art galleries, psychology experiments, finance and investment specifications, mock trials, moot court, business pitches, health info sessions with cpr and blood pressure instructions, advertising publications, scientific proposals based on the development of technology, and a musical theater performance! The New York College Experience Final Exhibition was an amazing experience where students showcased not only what they have learned but also the fun that they’ve had on the journey!

Coffeehouse 2014! Poems, Speeches, Films, and Robot Wars during a Thunderstorm!

As the program nears the end, students begin showcasing the projects they’ve worked on over their time here in New York. The Coffeehouse is an informal showcase followed by an open mic session. This year’s event was not only very impressive but also made very dramatic as a thunderstorm raged on in the background, perfect for setting up poetry, speeches, films, and robot wars.

Science of the Future had programmed and battle ready robots compete through an obstacle course challenge and mini warrior arena!

Creative Writing read selections of poetry and short stories from a printed booklet of original works, mixed with artwork and graphics from Fine Arts.

Filmmaking screened their short films which included a mix of styles from documentaries on the Oxbridge experience, to feature pieces on the Brooklyn Bridge, to slow-motion fun like popping a water balloon on a peers head!

Public Speaking displayed true vocal prowess & courage performing speeches, some original, other informational, and many famous and inspirational.

Finally, during the open mic session there were performances from original songs from students part of a band back home, to a jam session between musicians, and 2 Musical Theater students decided to act out a scene from the famous film Lone Star.

Guest Speaker Series: Prof. Martin Chalfie – Nobel Prize Winning BioChemist

IMG_9111psProfessor at Columbia University, Professor Martin Chalfie shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien “for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP”. He holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University.

Through the discovery of a visible “marker,” his work has allowed for great advances in the research of gene expression, cell growth & development, brain circuitry, mutational analysis, organismal interactions, and much more. This work has then been applied in biotechnology, drug discovery, bio-sensors, and medicine (metastasis, HIV/AIDS, inherited diseases, infection).


Professor Chalfie speaks about his work and his journey as a scientist. He expresses that anyone with an inquisitive mind and the desire can pursue the of science. There is no set path of classes, internships, or goals on the path to becoming a scientist.


Guest Speaker Series: Michelle Larsen – Vaccine Research & Development

IMG_9060Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Albert of Einstein College of Medicine and a Research Specialist III for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dr. Larsen’s doctoral work in 1996 with Dr. David Figurski at Columbia University on drug-resistance of broad-host-range bacterial plasmids sparked an interest in applying bacterial genetics to infectious disease. As a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. William Jacobs, Jr., she studied bacterial replication and drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Those post-doctoral studies were foundational for developing research and teaching projects that include TB vaccine development, transmission and pathogenesis of XDR-TB, biomarkers of difficult to treat patients (i.e. MDR-TB/HIV and XDR-TB), HIV vaccine development, livestock and wildlife tuberculosis, “Many Hosts of Mycobacteria” meeting series, and training of young scientists in Africa for TB research.

After an informative briefing on her work and background as a scientist and professor, Dr. Larsen had an inspirational talk with students on pursuing passions for the greater good.


To the studios, finance sectors, labs, & debate halls we go!

Economics and International Business classes visited Citibank yesterday where they received a detailed overview of the firm. First, they saw a presentation on the structure of the firm, the business culture and the reach of Citibank’s activities globally.  8 Citibank employees spoke including people working in human resources, sales and trading, technology, operations and corporate banking. After the presentation, Oxbridge students were able to meet the Citibank personnel in smaller groups and ask questions. They were also given tours of the enormous equity and fixed income trading floors.

Medical Science and Science of the Future have been preparing for presentations but took a break to join forces on a discussion on stem cell research; it’s potential benefits, controversies, morality, and role in the future of humanity.

Inspired by the architecture of NYC, Fine Arts students were painting an abstract painting based on their “perspective” and experiences of the city.

Filmmaking is wrapping up their films and have entered the editing stages. Every piece of the film is being meticulously chosen and critiqued; speed of transitions for the story flow, length and order of clips for the desired emphasis, soundtrack for continuity and overall feel.

Thirteen brilliant students of the Public Speaking minor class debated the issue of whether capital punishment can be justified.  Using value-based philosophical contentions buttressed by statistics and real-life examples each student presented arguments in front of a panel of judges.  One team of seven students, captained by Tatyana Mazzone of Canada, advocated for the abolition of the death penalty.  A team of six students, captained by Lea Ghantous of Lebanon, advocated for the right to use it.  Each team designated one student to deliver an opening statement and another student to deliver a closing statement. The remainder of the students delivered rebuttals bookended by said statements.  Students cross-examined each speaker aside from the closing statement speakers.  Judges included current Columbia PhD candidate and former national HS debate tournament participant Emily Moore and current professional actress and former national HS public speaking tournament participant Larisa Polonsky.

They Made it Here. They Can Make it Anywhere!

These young men & women came to the city that never sleeps and found themselves kings & queens of the hill! Some sang original songs on guitar, others danced in styles from home, a few re-envisioned favorite Disney songs and Broadway shows, and some very unique performers brought out the clarinet and the juggling act! It was a magnificent New York night.

NYCE Director’s Update: Week Three

Parents and Guardians,

Times Sq

Times Sq

Three weeks have flown by here at the New York College Experience. Students have had the opportunity to visit Columbia University, NYU, Yale, Princeton, and UPenn. At each school, they met with current students and explored the campus. This third week was filled with fun events, from the Wednesday evening trip to the Brooklyn Bridge to the ice cream sundaes on Thursday with Oxbridge founder Professor Jim Basker. Students also had the chance to explore the Eugene O’Neill exhibit at Lincoln Center and the Jeff Koons retrospective exhibit at the Whitney Museum. After tonight’s Humans of New York Dance, I am sure that many people will sleep late on Sunday morning.

Major and Minor classes continue to delve into their subjects using NYC as their classroom. The Crime and Punishment students had a debate about the death penalty, and viewed arraignments at a local courthouse. The International Relations and Politics students caught a glimpse of important Security Council meetings as they toured the UN. The Medical Science students went to Liberty Science Center and watched a surgical procedure performed in real time via televised feed from Newark Beth Israel Hospital.

This final week together is full of special events to celebrate the students’ accomplishments during the summer. A Talent Show on Sunday evening and an open-mic coffee house on Wednesday will showcase student performances, where creative writers, public speakers, filmmakers and others will share their work. On Thursday afternoon, the Art Gallery in the Diana Center will feature the creations that our Fine Arts students have produced over the course of the month, and each floor will feature class presentations where students will have the opportunity to share their knowledge with their peers. The Final Banquet and Dance will take place on Friday night, and, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the first buses will depart Barnard College.

By this time next Saturday, all students will be on their way home to all four corners of the world. However, we still have one last week to share the magical experience that is NYCE 2014.

Kevin B. Held

NYCE Director

Guest Speaker Series:

IMG_8661Founder of Oxbridge Academic Programs, Professor James Basker visited the students today for a guest lecture as well as a fun ice cream social!

The Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History at Barnard College, Columbia University, Professor Basker studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he completed his doctorate in English literature, and at Cambridge where he earned his MA.

Professor Basker gave a lecture on a topic he is quite passionate about, How Poetry Helped End Slavery. After the lecture, and answering off topic general questions about studying in various great institutions, he invited the students to an ice cream social which in this mid summer heat was a huge hit!

Concerts, Live TV, Karaoke, & Poker Night!

DJ/producer Zedd performed ‘Stay The Night’ and ‘Clarity’ with Miriam Bryant, and also played an exclusive live set off camera the audience. NYCE students appeared on live ABC Good Morning America cameras in Central Park during the performance!


Texas Holdem & Karaoke Night in our high tower lounge! Some people took the game pretty seriously, perhaps that’s what happens when the Math & Finance professor deals them in. On the north lounge, karaoke night raged on.