Several students from the College of Saint Elizabeth are volunteering with Students 2 Science (S2S), a non-profit based in East Hanover, N.J., which prepares young students for careers in STEM fields.
Paul Winslow, president and founding member of S2S, had trouble finding qualified employees when he owned his own laboratory. After speaking to his peers, Winslow realized a lack of practical experience was a widespread problem for people when applying to jobs. In order to rectify this deficiency and provide hands on experience, Students 2 Science was formed in 2009.
“Both middle and high school students come for three visits every year,” said Cyndi Roberson, the director of corporate relations for S2S. “Middle school students do experiments centering around matter, solutions and separations while high school students focus on pharmaceutics, bio technology and organic chemistry.”
Volunteers, including CSE students, help with experiments and offer invaluable guidance to younger students.
“The kids in the program were extremely bright and reminded me of when I was in school and excited to do science experiments for the first time,” says Jendaya Workman, ’18, an S2S volunteer and biology major.
Other S2S volunteers from CSE are: Paul Nguyen, Angela German, Michelle Kim, and Jessie Cheramy.
Students involved in S2S have the unique opportunity of working with commercial quality equipment and instrumentation that has been donated by major pharmaceutical companies and scientific instrumentation manufacturers.
“We give all students interested in science the experience they need,” said Roberson. “Even those who may not have the resources, the background, the mentors or the familial support. We want to fill that void.”
Currently, two main programs are offered in fifth grade through senior year of high school: ISAAC and the V-Lab.
ISAAC, or Improving Student Affinity and Aptitude for Careers in STEM, enables students to conduct challenging experiments side-by-side with professional scientists, in an authentic lab setting while using sophisticated laboratory instruments. The V-Lab, designed to eliminate geographical barriers, is a fully interactive, web-based, hybrid learning program that supports elementary, middle and high school science students and teachers.
However, Students 2 Science doesn’t only benefit those enrolled in the program.
“Volunteers are working side-by-side with established members in a STEM field,” says Roberson. “They have a chance to network, ask questions and establish a connection with people in major companies.”
“I got a chance to teach the children, learn from them, as well as connect with the professionals from major companies,” recalls Workman. “I wish that there would have been something like this around when I was younger.”
In January, S2S will finish building their sister site in Newark, N.J. that will enable them to host more schools and inspire all students, regardless of their background, to pursue a career in STEM.
To register as a volunteer, contact Cyndi Roberson, director of corporate relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 494-4806.
Mary Colleen Robinson has a communication degree with a concentration in journalism and is currently working as the PR/Social Media Specialist at the College of Saint Elizabeth.