Double Discovery Center


Educating Children of Promise since 1965


DDC In The News

DDC Appears in Inside Higher Ed Op-ed

3 April 2017

The Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center was mentioned for its part in the Freedom & Citizenship Program in an “Inside Higher Ed” piece titled “Democratizing the Great Books” by Professors Casey N. Blake, Roosevelt Montas, and Tamara Mann Tweel. The article discusses growing efforts to teach canonical texts to new audiences and makes a forceful argument for the role of the humanities in maintaining our democratic traditions. 

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Double Discovery Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary

15 September 2015

The Columbia Spectator wrote a story about DDC’s 50th Anniversary Gala in the September 11 online edition. 

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Columbia Professor writes article on teaching DDC students for Inside Higher Ed

13 January 2015

Professor Tamara Mann, who teaches DDC students in the Freedom and Citizenship course, wrote an essay for Inside Higher Ed on her experience working with our students. The class is a joint partnership with Columbia College’s Center for American Studies. During the summer, 30 rising seniors live on campus and analyze the writings of great thinkers such as Plato, Locke, Hobbes, Jefferson and King. In the fall semester, participants research a contemporary issue. Previous classes have examined The Dream Act, Prison Reform and The Voting Rights Act .

The syllabus is based on the curriculum studied by all Columbia College students.

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DDC and Columbia College graduate profiled by College's Alumni Association

5 August 2014

Double Discovery and Columbia College graduate Yvonne Maldonado Hart was profiled by the College’s Alumni Association in an article on working with youth.

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DDC Program with Columbia College featured in New York Times Op-Ed Column

5 August 2014

DDC’s yearlong Freedom and Citizenship course, in partnership with Columbia College’s Center for American Studies, was the topic of a New York Times op-ed column.

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DDC Student Has Filmed Screened at Tribeca Film Institute

9 May 2014

Congratulations to DDC student Saji Abude!  Phoney, the short film he co-wrote and co-directed, was screened at the Tribeca Film Institute. It explores the relationship between a boy and his eccentric friend.

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From Meet Me Uptown: Columbia’s Program for Underprivileged Youth Appoints New Director

31 January 2014

Columbia University has made it their mission to not only serve their students, but its surrounding community as well. Through their Double Discovery Center they’ve provided educational programs for youth that come from low-income, underprivileged communities. The program, which has been in effect for nearly 50 years, recently appointed a new executive director.

Former executive director of the program, Kevin Matthews, stepped down from his position last May; the center has been without a director ever since. The Double Discovery Center has enlisted Bronx native Joseph Ayala to take on the position. The non-profit leader worked with Columbia’s Harlem Restoration Project while completing his studies at the university. “I’ve always been a person who responds to need,” Ayala told the Daily News. “I’ve always rooted for the underdog.”

For more information,

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From NY Daily News: Columbia University taps nonprofit leader to head its Double Discovery Center for underserved youth

31 January 2014

Meet the new face of Discovery.

Columbia University tapped Joseph Ayala, an experienced nonprofit leader, to head its Double Discovery Center, a program that has been helping students from underserved backgrounds pursue higher education for nearly half a century.

The Center, which serves roughly 1,000 12- to 27-year-olds each year, was operating without an executive director since May, when Kevin Matthews stepped down following a four year stint.

Ayala, who grew up in the Bronx and worked with Columbia’s Harlem Restoration Project when he was earning his own degree at the college, will take over as executive director on Feb. 10.

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Talent Search Student Featured In The Daily

19 September 2013

Talent Search junior Laura Willson, who took part in the summer program Girls Who Code, was one of the students featured in the article “Why I Code: Girls Who Code” on

“It introduced me to a world I would have never learned about otherwise, ” she said of her experience.

Girls Who Code , which teaches computer programming courses, works to bridge the gender gap in STEM education and empower young women to pursue careers in technology and engineering.

For the full article and to read all of Wilson’s comments, please click on this link.

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New York Cares Selected DDC Photo As "Volunteer Pic of The Week"

19 September 2013

From the New York Cares Facebook page about Double Discovery Center on July 22nd….

School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean you stop hitting the books. Today’s Volunteer Pic of the Week was posted by Double Discovery Center. Goldman Sachs volunteers stopped by to help students in the college prep program. Great job everyone!

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3rd Annual Teagle Reunion

6 February 2013

Recent graduates, current scholars, Columbia professors and TAs, a Teagle Foundation representative, and Double Discovery staff and friends met over the holiday break for the third annual Teagle alumni gathering.

From balancing work and school, feeling isolated in a new environment, and making new friends, alumni candidly discussed the surprises and challenges of college life. Many mentioned how their work with Teagle prepared them for college level work — and for writing those 10 page papers!   In a question and answer session, graduates also had advice for the current class of seniors who are waiting for college acceptances.

The Teagle Foundation funds our Freedom and Citizenship Seminar, a highly competitive three-week summer residential program for DDC students taught by professors from Columbia’s American Studies program.


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2011 and 2012 Double Discovery Graduates Reunite

6 February 2013

It was an afternoon of renewing friendships, meeting fellow alums and comparing notes on college life.

The 2011 and 2012 Double Discovery graduates met during their holiday break.  From choosing a major to what they would have done differently in high school, alums spoke candidly about their lives post Talent Search and Upward Bound.

Our alumni attend such schools as Columbia University, SUNY –Albany, CUNY’s Lehman and Hunter, and Brown University.

On the quote board we had for our graduates to leave us messages, there were heartfelt words such as  “Miss my DDC Family,” “Good times”, and “I miss my counselors.”

Students. Graduates…We miss you, too!


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Double Discovery Honored by The Order of St. John Of Jerusalem

17 December 2012

On Friday, November 3oth, the Double Discovery Center was honored for its work by The Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller

The Order of St. John’s, an international charitable organization, which dates back to the mid 11th century, was created to care for the poor, sick and injured pilgrims visiting the Holy Land during the Crusades. Today, the Order supports humanitarian projects, benevolent groups and relief efforts worldwide.

During their holiday benefit gala at the Yale Club, the New York chapter gifted DDC—as well as the Center for Food Action, Highbridge Community Life Center and Terence Cardinal Cooke Hospital–, with a charitable donation.

A special thank you to Double Discovery supporter and friend Candace Gonzalez who recommended DDC for this honor. 

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DDC Dream Act Project

1 April 2012

DDC students explore the many chalenges and opportunities facing immigrants as they pursue higher education in America. The project was organized and implemented by participants in the Teagle-DDC Freedom and Citizenship Seminar program of 2011-2012.

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The DDC Oral History Project

22 April 2011

The DDC Oral History Project tells the story of the founding and evolution of the Double Discovery Center, an education and youth development program based at Columbia University in New York City. The project was organized and implemented by participants in the Teagle-DDC Freedom and Citizenship Seminar program of 2010-2011.

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Double Discovery Introduces Local High School Students to the “Core” of College Academics

29 July 2010

For the second consecutive summer, a group of talented New York City teenagers from low and moderate income families have come to Columbia University for an introduction to rigorous, college-level coursework in the humanities thanks to a unique collaboration between the University’s Center for American Studies and its Double Discovery Center (DDC) for local high school students.

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Double Discovery Center Holds 44th Annual Commencement

4 June 2009

On Saturday, May 16, Columbia’s Double Discovery Center (DCC) held its 44th annual commencement exercises in the Low Library Rotunda, celebrating the 2009 high school graduates from its two youth education programs, Upward Bound and Talent Search. This year’s commencement included 167 graduates.

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Former Mayor Dinkins Says Columbia’s Plan for old Manhattanville Manufacturing Zone Will Benefit West Harlem

9 March 2007

New York, March 9, 2007 — Former Mayor David Dinkins, now a veteran Columbia University professor of public policy, has endorsed a plan for long-term growth in the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone of West Harlem.

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