Temple University’s Experience Corps and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) are collaborating on a new project, called Mentors 4 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). This project will bring retired professionals into science and math classrooms in two Philadelphia charter schools this fall to implement experimental activities and instructional projects. Each mentor will be matched with a science or math teacher, and they will work with those teachers to develop classroom activities that relate real world applications of science and math to textbook concepts. Also, volunteers will have the important opportunity to mentor high school students, in an individual or small group setting. Through their enthusiasm for math and science, the mentors will seek to increase student participation in those subjects, as well as educate students about potential career paths they could choose after graduation. This program is the perfect way for retirees to have a rewarding second career sharing their enthusiasm and expertise for the sciences.
Mentors 4 STEM is currently accepting applications for twelve retired volunteers to attend their training session in September and begin teaching students this fall. I will be touching base with this group again once things get going for a follow-up blog on their progress inside the classrooms, as well as what it is like to be a mentor.
Though Mentors 4 STEM has a specific relationship with Philadelphia schools, other communities should consider organizing groups of retired scientists to assist with local citizen science projects. Getting local retirees involved in community projects would be a great way to educate families about scientific principles while expanding everyone’s social network! Keep an eye on SciCheer for more citizen science events in your area!