What is the Afterschool STEM Mentoring Fellowship Program?
Begun in Fall 2010, the New York Academy of Sciences Afterschool STEM Mentoring program recruits graduate and postdoctoral students from universities New York City, Newark, and Upstate New York to volunteer to mentor one afternoon a week in underserved 4th through 8th grade afterschool classrooms at organizations like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Mentors can choose to teach a variety of curriculum ranging from genetics to space science and can receive an Academy Fellow Teaching Credential for completing a semester of teaching and training.
How does it work?
The Academy has partnered with multiple organizations that run networks of afterschool programs. In NYC, we have partnered with the Department of Youth and Community Development, a city agency that funds a wide development of neighborhood enrichment programs. In Newark, we partner with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that recruits volunteers to teach in their afterschool programs. Most recently, the Academy has partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) to launch a pilot program funded by a National Science Foundation grant.
Graduate students and postdocs apply to be an Academy Fellow and if accepted are assigned to teach in the Spring or Fall. Once accepted and assigned, Fellows receive one day of training to learn how to teach a set of lessons in their chosen content area and a separate day of training on youth development and pedagogy. Mentors are welcome to work with Academy staff to adapt their lessons to their own interests and resources.
Once a Fellow has completed the two days of training, they are assigned to a site, a co-teacher and if possible, another Fellow to teach with. We try to match mentors to sites within 30 minutes of their homes or labs. In New York City, mentors typically teach 60–90 minutes per session and can set their schedule with their assigned program. The spring schedule in New York City runs from the first week of March through late May. In Newark, Fellows can teach Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 4–6 PM at one of three Newark Elementary Schools and in the fall teach from October through December. The program through SUNY has the additional element of an online three credit graduate level course for students to learn valuable teaching skills.
We focus on supporting Fellows through curriculum and pedagogy training, an online network of peers and supporters, and social events to check in with your peers. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will be matched with an afterschool site and instructor who will be there to support you at the site and help you work with the students.
Fellows who complete twenty-four hours of teaching and training will receive a New York Academy of Sciences Fellow Teaching Credential.
- Fellows will teach on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 4–6 PM from early March through May in Newark OR 60–90 minutes per session during the afterschool hours (4–6 PM) in New York City and Upstate New York.
- Fellows must submit a letter of acknowledgement from their supervising scientist stating that they are aware of the once-a-week commitment to the volunteer teaching program and that they support the Fellow's commitment to this program from February through May. Letters should be emailed to email@example.com with the subject line "Fellowship Letter of Support" in conjunction with the submission of the fellow's online application. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about this requirement.
- Fellow must complete two trainings: one to learn the science or math module, and the other is an orientation to Citizen Schools or Youth Development and Pedagogy. Trainings each elapse a day and will be scheduled in February.
- All volunteers must complete a background check through Citizen Schools or through the Department of Health at no cost to the Fellow.
What is a Fellow?
- A graduate student or postdoctoral student in a STEM field.
- Interested in volunteering in their community and gaining teaching experience.
- Driven to inspire 4th through 8th graders to love science.
If you fit this description and are interested in working with youth, we encourage you to apply for our Spring 2014 program. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.