College Professor
Are you seeking to enhance your students’ learning by incorporating a service learning experience that improves their academic performance, supports urban, underserved youth, and builds ties to the local community?

If so, you many be interested in Science Firsthand: Partners in Discovery.

Science Firsthand: Partners in Discovery (SF) is an after-school mentoring program for children ranging in age from 10 to 15.

SF brings together supportive adults with inner-city youth to investigate science topics of mutual interest. Mentors work collaboratively with one or several mentees at local community-based organizations (CBOs) that are equipped with simple tools and materials to support exploration and experimentation. The goal is to build enjoyment in science, to develop skills, and to gain confidence in one’s own abilities.

College students have proven to be effective mentors, and many have found the experience to be of value, both personally and academically. In fact, being a mentor has been shown to positively impact college students’ academic performance.

Science Firsthand has proven successful on a number of college campuses that have service learning and work-study programs. This has allowed Science Firsthand to expand its pool of mentors while at the same time exposing its young participants to college life. Many of these youth have never visited a college campus before this experience.

College professors are frequently interested in involving their students with inner-city youth. This has often proved to be an effective way to give majors in fields like education, sociology, and science practical experiences that significantly augment their course work. Work with younger children seems to be a strong motivator to “know your subject.”

To learn more about SF’s collaborations with college professors, contact us, respond to a short survey so that we can learn about your interests and needs, or click on one of the following:

What is a science mentor?

Examine the Science Firsthand Implementation Manual.

Examine the Science Firsthand Manual for College Mentors.

Voices from the Field
At Canisius College, …as a faculty member of The College of Arts and Sciences, I initiated a service-learning project in a freshman course. One goal of the …Human Anatomy and Physiology course was to promote deeper understanding, empathy, and action in undergraduate students towards working with children in urban schools. In order to promote this goal, a twenty-hour service-learning requirement was added to the course. For twenty hours, students in the course worked in multicultural urban community centers mentoring middle school students. Students shared new conceptual understanding they learned in the course with middle school students. Overall, the students, who mostly came from suburban environments, felt the experience was rewarding. Many students came to realize that their preconceptions about urban communities were inaccurate. Also, students became aware of the many basic needs of children in urban settings and how these needs affected student learning.
–College Professor