What happens if you discover that your school’s science programs are lacking, or if you want to spark your child’s interest in science? Start with local college and science learning resources. The scientific community actively seeks ways to help students at all levels gain and maintain an active engagement in the sciences. Here are programs, services and sample university/school district relationships for a variety of grade levels that you can use as a starting point:
Internships and national programs
Scientific institutes actively seek relationships with students in their communities, to help inspire students and help prepare them for university science studies. Many of them, such as The Molecular Sciences Institute in California, offer paid internships.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has amassed an exhaustive guide to programs in science and engineering for high school students available throughout the country.
Science Buddies is an organization “empowering students from all walks of life to help develop a love of science.” Science Buddies is a resource for invention, completion and assistance with school science projects. If your child’s school does not hold science fairs or competitions, there are many held throughout the country for various ages, grade levels and areas of interest.
The Dolan DNA Learning Center has interactives, video interviews and Web resources as well as an animation library that helps students understand the complex life science topics of DNA and genetics.
The Bay Area Biotechnology Education Consortium has a list of curricula that are focused on helping students understand molecular and derived biology. This organization also mentors teachers, helping them improve their coursework.
Local science centers
On a local level, check with any science learning centers such as science museums, aquariums, planetariums, etc. for any educational or tutoring programs they may have instituted. Using the ample resources at hand, you should be able to assist your child in either pursuing a vital and important career or in joining the new global generation of community scientists
Samples of university/professional/educational relationships
Universities offer summer internships, some offering pay, some requiring pay in exchange for credits, for high school students.
Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago has a Division of Educational Programs targeted toward the educational community for teachers and students of all educational levels. The hands-on programs are in Chicago, but the site also has information on undergraduate internships in science.
University of California, San Francisco Science and Health Education Partnership is an example of a university working in conjunction with the local school district to build programs and resources for pre-college learning in the sciences.
Note: Many universities are starting to establish partnerships with high schools in their areas. One of your local universities may offer college credit classes, helping high school students to get a jump on career-oriented classes. Programs like these, many founded with grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, can enable high school students to earn a two-year associate’s degree at the same time as their high school diploma.