Science Outreach Opportunities
Saint Joseph’s University’s science outreach efforts are rooted in Jesuit ideals. We aim to provide our STEM students and faculty with many different opportunities to answer the call to “do more” and “care for the whole person.”
Those who participate in our outreach programs get the chance to interact with the Philadelphia community, learn about the challenges individuals face while building their scientific literacy, discuss the current understanding and misconceptions about their STEM fields with the public, and strengthen their communication skills with non-specialists and non-scientists audience members.
If you are interested in participating in current outreach programs, expanding an existing program or developing new programs (e.g. broader impact/public engagement grants), please contact Nneka Kirkland, M.S.Ed., or Edwin Li, Ph.D.
GeoKids LINKS is a program that places advanced undergraduate and graduate fellows into first- through fifth-grade classrooms in Philadelphia as part of their science training.
The program is a partnership between Saint Joseph's University, the Wagner Free Institute of Science and the School District of Philadelphia. Fellows work with teachers and education experts from the Wagner Free Institute to implement hands-on science learning activities.
Biology 320/720 Science Communication and Outreach, SLR & FJS
Undergraduate and Graduate students in Biology have the opportunity to take a unique course on science communication that includes a weekly service commitment at Samuel Gompers Elementary School located next to SJU’s campus.
The Service-Learning Program is housed in the Faith-Justice Institute. Rooted in the Jesuit ideals, especially solidarity with those most in need and in partnership with others, service-learning challenges students to examine systemic issues of social justice through academic inquiry, direct experience and written and oral reflection. Both the placement site (the 3rd or 4th grade classroom) and seminar are viewed as equal partners in the learning process.
This course will cover topics including: science communication, science education, culture of science and teaching, and scientific literacy. Students will also teach a six (6) week hands-on science curriculum designed for elementary students.
High School LINKS
High School LINKS is a 5-week program in which undergraduate student fellows implement a hands-on curriculum: Genes, Mutations, and Diseases, that introduces high school students to genetic diseases. Undergraduate fellows receive training and then take the interactive laboratory exercises to the high school classroom. The program ends with a field trip to SJU and the Biology Department.
Fellows are expected to commit to 5 weeks during the Spring semester (typically mid-February through mid-April). Fellows are expected to commit approximately 5 hours per week to the program. Fellows will be responsible for gathering, transporting, setting up, returning, and cleaning materials/supplies.
NOTE: LINKS Fellows are required to obtain minors clearances (FBI, PA State Criminal, PA Child Abuse, and Protecting Minors from Abuse/Mandatory Reporter Training) prior to entering the school or interacting with minors.
COMPENSATION: $12.00 per hour
Application for Spring 22 can be found here.
Application deadline: December 03, 2021
For more information, contact Nneka Kirkland (email@example.com) or Dr. Li (firstname.lastname@example.org).
High School Physics Research
While science outreach is housed under the biology department, we also work with members of the chemistry and physics department to provide a variety of opportunities for faculty and student engagement with the community.
One example is Research Experience for High School Students (REHSS), an intense five-week scientific research program at Saint Joseph's. Rising high school seniors volunteer in a research lab and engage in an independent research project during the summer under the mentorship of a faculty member in the Department of Physics.
The REHSS program will run in summer 2021. Contact Piotr Habdas, professor and chair of the Department of Physics, with any questions.
Science on the Hill
Started in 2014, Science on the Hill is a science cafe that brings together communities and neighborhoods around the University by engaging them in interesting and relevant events featuring experts in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. All of these events are held in the relaxing and fun setting of Landmark Americana on 54th St. and City Ave.
It was launched thanks to a three-year grant from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) to Edwin Li, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology and director of the Biology Graduate Program. The program is now supported by Saint Joseph's College of Arts and Sciences.
Body Adventure Summer Camp
Since 2017, the Department of Biology has partnered with Main Line Health to offer Body Adventure Summer Camp (BASC), a free one-week health science camp for rising fourth- and fifth-grade students at Samuel Gompers Elementary. Designed and ran by Saint Joseph's biology students, BASC hosts 15 to 20 campers on campus the last full week in July.
BASC is the first introduction to science outreach for many of the volunteer SJU students. Our department provides three professional development trainings prior to camp to help counselors become more confident as science communicators and educators. SJU students who participate in BASC also receive exclusive health career exploration opportunities at Lankenau Medical Center.