|Toth and LaSovage|
Despite its successesafter-school mentors, faculty-student interaction, a highly visible Web site, science clubs and workshops, and teacher trainingThe Reach Out! Center is facing the termination of its main funding source. The nonrenewable NSF grant that created CUOS and is the main provider for Reach Out! ends in January.
Now, instead of K12 science and mathematics outreach, the chief question on program Director Jeannine LaSovages mind is where the project will find a home.
LaSovage and program associate Martha Toth remain cautiously optimistic in their search, and with elementary programs coordinator Debra Hamann, they continue an ambitious program schedule. In May, Reach Out! held its science clubs at area schools, community centers and churches. It offered a career fair for teens, parents and grandparents at the Ann Arbor Neutral Zone, held a Camp Discovery reunion and brought 150 fifth-graders to campus. This summer promises more visits from Detroit-area students, a summer algebra class for high school girls who have experienced difficulty with math and Camp Discovery for children who participate in the school-year science clubs.
|Debra Hamann works with assistant research scientist Greg Spooner to set up a micro-machining experiement as part of the Research Experiences for Teachers program.|
And have fun, interjects LaSovage.
We use the scientific method, Toth says, as a metaphor for life.
LaSovage says, Children and young adults realize they can be actors in their own life.
Eighty volunteer mentors from the past school year are a testament to the programs success with students. Each of these University students is required to volunteer for a semester and most stay for a year or more. Hamann, a 2000 engineering graduate and former volunteer, says, Volunteering for a year at a site gives a continuity of people. Choosing a previous volunteer at the site as coordinator helps enhance that continuity. We select someone whos been there and knows the people.
The programs seven student volunteer coordinators work at sites that include George Elementary School in Ypsilanti, Owen Elementary School in Pontiac, and in Ann Arbor: Bethel AME Church, Pioneer High School, the Neutral Zone, and several community and recreation centers at subsidized housing sites.
|Assistant research scientist John Nees gives a demonstration at George Elementary School on how lasers work. (Photos courtesy Project Reach Out!)|
Spooner also has worked with Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) through the outreach office and more recently the Research Experiences for Students (RES) program. He currently mentors one undergraduate student each summer.
For LaSovage, the intergenerational piece of outreach is what she finds rewarding. By interacting with different parts of campus, she says, were establishing a family.