Smith College collaborates with the broader community on a wide variety of science learning opportunities. Whether teaching microscopy for the Literacy Project of Northampton, designing an engineering process at the Adult Learning Center in Holyoke or traveling to area high schools to teach students about zebrafish, these outreach efforts produce extraordinary results. Young children develop an affinity for science. Older students become more inquisitive about challenging subject matter. And Smith students deepen their understanding of the subject matter and gain valuable teaching skills.
"Several kids were excited when we talked about engineering, so I think we may have gotten them to start thinking about that as a possible career path, which was very exciting to me."
—STEM Teaching Fellow
STEM Outreach Programs
The Science Center AEMES Scholar
Working with the science and technology outreach coordinator, the AEMES scholar researches and develops science outreach activities and researches reasons for the loss of interest in STEM in the middle grades.
January Science Teaching Fellowship Program
Undergraduates are introduced to educational pedagogy, lesson planning, classroom management and standards in preparation for an intensive one-week program during interterm. Selected undergraduates work in pairs, with guidance from the Science Center outreach coordinator, Smith science faculty and K–8 teachers. They research, develop, practice and teach lessons in a range of sciences.
Science Center Early Research Associates
Associates develop lessons and activities to test in local schools or in GED programs. Once the activity is refined, the associate works to develop a classroom loaner kit that can be used in the community or with a group visiting campus.
Smith College STEM Ambassadors
Smith undergraduates looking for short-term leadership opportunities can sign up to deliver science and engineering activities for single or multiple sessions. Throughout the year, local schools, after-school programs and adult education centers request Smith visits to their institutions or STEM field trips to the Smith campus. Volunteers, with some guidance from the coordinator, work in teams to plan and develop specific activities that respond to requests by community partners. Program examples include Girls Who Code and the Girl Scout LEGO Robotics Team.
Summer Science & Engineering Program for High School Girls
The Summer Science & Engineering Program (SSEP) is a month-long summer enrichment program that brings approximately 100 girls from around the world to Smith College to actively participate in science and engineering alongside Smith faculty doing hands-on research. Since 1990, nearly 1,800 girls have participated in this program.
Student Scientists Outreach Program
The Student Scientists Outreach Program focuses on the use of the zebrafish model system to take advantage of its beautiful and captivating embryology, the many genetic and cellular approaches, fast embryonic development and its total accessibility for assaying environmental manipulation. We primarily target teacher training with the zebrafish, and tailor its use to the common core objectives and teacher goals. This program's success is in part due to the fact that we are not adding on curriculum to teachers, but providing opportunities to deliver the same curriculum with more engaging and inquiry based methods. We are currently working with 10 teachers in five school districts.