Joshua Modeste

Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics • 2024

Title and Organization Living Environment, Environmental Science, AP Biology, The Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce


Joshua Modeste knows the pressure of minority stress – he was one of the few students of color in his biology program at SUNY Plattsburgh. Despite this, he strives to demonstrate the valuable contributions that people of color can make to the field, which explains his extraordinary efforts to expose students to cutting edge research and the people who conduct it. Mr. Modeste’s students have the opportunity to actively learn outside the classroom, such as through composting at a community garden, and then present a sustainability plan for local community businesses to a panel of faculty and local industry representatives. To further engage his students, Mr. Modeste created the UA Commerce Science Research Club and helped students raise funds for a hydroponic lab and present findings from their research at the NYC Science Research Symposium on the USS Intrepid. Mr. Modeste also developed an immersive summer stem cell research program with the New York Stem Cell Foundation to connect students from underrepresented backgrounds to opportunities and careers in STEM by working with scientists. Mr. Modeste is in his seventh year at UA Commerce, serves as the Lead Teacher in the Science Department, and develops the science curriculum and workshops for the school. Mr. Modeste also participates annually in the Columbia Teachers College Summer Research Program, and he is currently a doctoral candidate in the science education Ph.D. program at Columbia, where he is researching methods to increase success for students of color in STEM classrooms. Mr. Modeste is a member of Math for America and an Anchor Teacher for NYC Men Teach, a CUNY program to increase the diversity of male STEM teachers of color in New York City.