The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Science Outreach Program Branches Out

Since its inception in 1995, Reed’s Science Outreach program has facilitated Reedie-taught biology lessons in Title I elementary schools.  This year, the program is making a significant change: It is introducing chemistry to its curriculum.

“This is the first year we are officially merging the sciences together,” explained Cole Perkinson ’13. Perkinson, a Science Outreach Assistant, started a Chemistry Outreach program last year with Li Zha ’12. The two programs are merging this year to form a unified program, which is receiving funding from the college and a special donation from An Duclos. Duclos, whose son Levi Duclos ’15 passed away last year, decided to donate his intended tuition for last spring semester to Science Outreach.

“An Duclos’s gift is allowing us to add a couple more classes this year and to hire more Reedies,” said Science Outreach Coordinator Kristy Gonyer ’10. “Levi taught two fifth grade classes at Lincoln Park, and An has since told me that working with the students was one of his favorite experiences while he attended Reed.”

Gonyer and Perkinson emphasized that the program is intended to reach elementary school students whose teachers generally do not specialize in the sciences. Science Outreach works with Title I schools, where forty percent or more of the students receive free or reduced lunch. “The ones that we work with are far above that level of poverty, though,” explained Gonyer. “So we’re really trying to reach out to the students that wouldn’t get these opportunities otherwise.”

But the benefits don’t just reach the elementary school students. The teachers gain from the experience as well. “It was really gratifying for me to work with an elementary school teacher and assume all the responsibilities of teaching,” said Perkinson. He added, “I think the best way to learn is by teaching other people, and [Science Outreach] is one of the best ways you can do that.”

This semester, the program is hiring forty Reed students to teach one hour a week for at least eight weeks in twenty different elementary school classrooms. While the teachers receive a predetermined curriculum, they are encouraged to adapt it to their particular classroom environments. “The teachers can stick to it as much or as little as they want,” said Gonyer.

Said Perkinson about the program, “I think there is so much focus at Reed on academics and the ‘life of the mind’ that it is easy to lose sight of the greater Portland community.  Science Outreach is a unique opportunity for Reedies to burst the bubble, work collaboratively with other students, and motivate children in need.”

Want to apply for a paid teaching position? Find the application at Applications are due Monday, September 3 at 5PM.

Don’t have time for a committed teaching job? Sign up as a volunteer.

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