A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester, New York

Innovation Week 2021

Rye Country Day School recently hosted the first-ever Innovation Week, a STEAM showcase of exciting interdisciplinary work from each division. The three-day program included student presentations, a keynote by engineer and author Gladys Chepkirui Ngetich, innovation trivia, and a Marble Run family STEAM activity where students showed off their creative contraptions in real-time via Zoom.

Lower School students shared projects and units from each grade, including, among others, the tree unit in Kindergarten, All about Birds in Grade 1, Chemical Engineering and Cityscape Coding in Grade 2, Probability and Sundials in Grade 3, and the Turing Test and the Scientific Method in Grade 4. 

Middle Schoolers showcased classroom projects, ranging from fifth grade students’ coding and design to create expressive visuals to Rube Goldberg machines eighth graders created at home. Also featured was Middle Schoolers’ coding work using MicroBits, as well as experiments demonstrating and testing Newton’s Laws of motion. Individual students also shared their coding work using languages like Swift, Objective-C, Scratch, Python, and JSON to create games, flight simulators, and apps.

The MS clubs WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), Code Like A Girl, SWAT (Students Working to Advance Technology) also made an appearance at Innovation Week, sharing their work to encourage interest in STEAM, computer science, and technology.

Featured Upper School work included science research projects from students who have done lab work with Columbia University, Regeneron, and the Urban Barcode Project. Research topics included multi-messenger astronomy, quantitative pharmacology, air pollution bioindicators, species surveys, electrical engineering and circuitry projects, and artificial intelligence analysis. Makerspace apprentices talked about their work using a filabot, a machine used to repurpose 3D printing scraps and discarded plastic. Students involved with Coding for a Cause discussed the custom calendar app they designed and built to integrate with RCDS’s 6-day schedule. The YPT team shared their year-long work in the Advanced Topics in Physics course preparing for the tournament that challenges students to experimentally and theoretically investigate and solve four undergraduate-level problems.

A special highlight of Innovation Week was the keynote delivered by engineer Gladys Chepkirui Ngetich, a Rhodes Scholar and Schmidt Science Fellow.  Dr. Ngetich, who is currently completing her postdoctoral research at Space Enabled at MIT, earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Science (Aerospace) at Oxford Thermofluids Institute at the University of Oxford. She completed her undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. 

Dr. Ngetich, who also heads Iluu, an organization dedicated to girls’ mentorship and empowerment in Kenya, spoke about her personal path to becoming an engineer and her Ph.D. work on aerospace engineering. After sharing her current work on in-space propulsion, she left the audience with the following words of advice: “Whatever your bold dream is, keep it alive” and “be you.”


Gladys Chepkirui Ngetich


Lower School Highlights

Kindergarten - Trees
Grade 1 - All About Birds
Grade 2: Cityscape Coding to Create Mazes
Grade 3: Probably Probability 
Grade 4: The Scientific Method
Grade 4: Worldwide Web & Databases 

Middle School Highlights

Microbit Coding - Space Invaders - Connor Rusch ’25 (Grade 8) 
Newton’s Laws of Motion - Maggie Nichols ’25 (Grade 8) 
Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction - Jude Sadler ’25 (Grade 8)

Beyond the Classroom
Cloud Hanger iPhone App - Jaymin Ding ’25 (Grade 8)
Jet Pack Fun - Scratch Coding  Nico Stefanoni ’25 (Grade 8)
JSON Configurations / Flight Sim Coding and Development - James Song ’25 (Grade 8)

Afterschool Adventures 
WISE (Women in  Science and Engineering) speakers Club Co-organizer Gabriella Jolly ’22 (Grade 11) and Leah Steyn ’25 (Grade 8); Club Co-organizer Sriya Krishnan '22 (Grade 11)
Code Like a Girl interviews - Aanya Upadhyay ’28 (Grade 5), Melody Wu ’28 (Grade 5), Charlotte Kercher ’28 (Grade 5)
Code Like a Girl Upper School volunteers - Sophia Salzman ’22 (Grade 11) and Anna Owens ’21 (Grade 12) 
SWAT (Students working to advance technology) interview - Teddy Pettit ’26 (Grade 7)

Upper School Highlights

Science Research

Deepta Gupta ’12 (Grade 12), under the guidance of a Physics/Astronomy Professor from Columbia University 
Exploring the High-Energy Gamma-Ray Emission from Neutrino Blazar Candidate Source TXS 0606+056

Lior Gurion ’22 (Grade 11), High School Research Intern at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as part of the quantitative pharmacology team
Identification of Factors Contributing to Variability in Concentration of a monoclonal Antibody in patients with Cancer

Olivia Craig ’23 (Grade 10) & Jonah Gurion ’24 (Grade 9), funded by the Urban Barcode Project
Biomonitoring: Lichens as Bioindicators of Air Pollution in Urban & Suburban Areas

Arly Rodriguez ’12 (Grade 12), funded by the Urban Barcode Project
Mosquito Diversity: An Urban & Suburban Cross Section

YPT Teams

Sofia Medina ’22 (Grade 11) & Lior Gurion ’22 (Grade 11)
2022 Problem: Turbulence

Max Hines ’21 (Grade 12)
2021 Problem: Chatter Ring

Allen Dong ’21 (Grade 12)
2021 Problem: Crater

Matthew Harkness ’21 (Grade 12)
2021 Problem: Henry’s Motor

Makerspace Apprentice Filabot Project 
Kelly Falcon ’22 (Grade 11) & Sofia Medina ’22 (Grade 11)

Coding for Cause
Amitav Nott ’22 (Grade 11)
Calendar Integration for RCDS Six-Day Schedule

Matthew Harkness ’21 (Grade 12) & Deepta Gupta  ’21 (Grade 12)
Circuits & Electrical Engineering

Katie Farrell ’21 (Grade 12)
How Computers Think (Independent Study)

Sofia Rodriguez ’22 (Grade 11)
AI Bias in Policing and Surveillance (Independent Study, in collaboration with Encode Justice)

Recent News

Prize Day 2021

We are so thrilled to recognize our outstanding prize winners for their impressive achievements throughout the 2020-21 school year.