AT&T engineers and researchers from Rutgers University, Columbia University and New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering, three of the universities building one of the country’s first and largest real-world testbeds of advanced wireless communications, hosted New York City teachers and their students for a 5G technology showcase.

Teachers and their students from The Beacon School, Energy Tech High School and Stuyvesant High School heard directly from academic researchers and 5G wireless practitioners about the use of this new technology in smart city and other urban applications. Students also got a chance to examine the physical 5G infrastructure that is being analyzed by research teams from Rutgers, Columbia and NYU.

Earlier this year, the participating teachers earned spots in an intensive summer program that prepared them to return to their classrooms this fall ready to engage their students in the transformative technology of 5G and beyond. Upon selection into the competitive program, teachers and their students became part of a large scale National Science Foundation-funded testbed for next-generation wireless communications in West Harlem called COSMOS–Cloud Enhanced Open Software-Defined Mobile Wireless Testbed for City-Scale Deployment.

A grant from AT&T provided stipends and fellowships to graduate students from Columbia Engineering and Data Science Institute and New York University Tandon School of Engineering to support the participating high school teachers in their classrooms and to mentor students as they learn the fundamentals of wireless networking and conduct exciting hands-on projects using the ultra-fast wireless network. The AT&T support has also allowed the purchase of additional materials and supplies needed to execute these STEM lesson plans.  Support for the teachers’ summer stipends was also provided by the NSF Engineering and CISE Directorates.

“The path to success in STEM careers remains out of reach for too many young people. But teachers – and events like today’s showcase – have the unique ability to help open students’ eyes to the possibilities around them,” said Amy Hines Kramer, president, AT&T New York. “The COSMOS program is an incredible opportunity for teachers, challenging them to utilize real-world resources in their classroom. The practical skills they pass on to their students will open doors for them to thrive in college, their chosen careers and beyond.”

“One of the most important elements of the COSMOS educational program lies in the way it integrates technology into the curriculum for middle and high school students. This ensures that the technology enabled by 5G will not be a mere novelty for students but a true asset in the classroom,” said NYU Tandon Professor Thanasis Korakiswho leads COSMOS educational activities. “The lesson plans developed by teachers during the summer program are shared with the dozens of teachers who have already participated in COSMOS summer programs. Our goal is to scale up to schools throughout NYC, introducing students to a new and exciting way of learning STEM concepts through the execution of experimental labs on cutting-edge wireless technologies.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with teachers from the testbed area in West Harlem as well as with teachers throughout the city. We are excited to share the cutting-edge technologies developed by the COSMOS team with teachers, school students, and the broader community in Harlem and NYC and we would like to thank the teachers the NSF and AT&T for their valuable contribution,” said Columbia Electrical Engineering Professor Gil Zussman.

This contribution is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s signature philanthropy initiative to drive student success in school and beyond. The initiative supports STEM programs reaching students throughout the five boroughs.