STEM Mentors

Science Communication and Mentoring Skills for the Next Generation

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STEMMentors3The ability to communicate effectively to peers, professionals and the public is critical to success in any scientific discipline. Science addresses questions that are integral to some of today’s most pressing political and social issues including health care, environmental quality, technology and education. Therefore, scientists must be able to place their work in a context that is relevant and accessible to a broad audience.  The STEM Mentors program is designed to teach undergraduate students how to successfully communicate complex interdisciplinary scientific concepts to peers, researchers, faculty, students, and future employers.

STEM Mentors gives undergraduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students the opportunity to learn science teaching and communication skills while raising the level of awareness and enthusiasm for science in elementary school classrooms. The program helps undergraduate STEM students make connections between their classroom learning and the real world while serving as role models to young students. Elementary teachers participating in the program  mentor the undergraduate STEM students on teaching and communication skills.

Teachers can join the program through an application process, while undergraduate students join the program by registering for the associated course (Science Communication and Mentoring Skills for the Next Generation – GEO/CHEM/BIOL/PHYS/ATM SCI 3670).

The undergraduate course consists of two parts:

  1. A weekly class session for upper division undergraduate STEM majors where students learn the fundamentals of science communication while working in interdisciplinary groups to develop elementary lessons and practice teaching.
  1. A weekly “lab” session in an elementary school where undergraduates receive mentoring from a partner teacher and work with students (grades 4-6) to inspire them about science.

Benefits for undergraduates include:

Content

  • Explore fundamental science concepts that apply across disciplines
  • Contextualize science in a way that is meaningful to society
  • Solidify your understanding of science through teaching
  • Develop a deeper understanding of how you (and others) learn science

Communication

  • Collaborate with peers in other scientific disciplines
  • Learn valuable presentation skills
  • Hone your scientific reading and writing ability

Community

  • Be a mentor for K-6 students and be mentored by other scientists
  • Connect with diverse students and teachers in local elementary schools
  • Contribute your own perspectives, understanding, and enthusiasm for science

Credit

  • This course carries the Upper Division Writing and Communications (CW) and Community Engaged Learning (CEL) designations.
  • These designations help you fulfill your course requirements while having a truly unique experience.
  • Click here to view the course catalog

The STEM Mentors Program benefits participating teachers in a variety of ways. Visit the STEM Mentors – Teachers page for additional information.

Questions?
Contact Holly Godsey, holly.godsey@utah.edu
Click here to download the 2017 STEM Mentors flyer.