Science Explorers

Science Explorers pairs scientists (Science Education Fellows) with small groups of freshmen biology students to help students build science skills and achieve academic success.

Support and training includes:

  • A focus on long-term academic relationships. Fellows meet with students twice a week during the school day for the entire academic year.
  • Individualized attention that encourages student learning, growth, and confidence.
  • Support for science teachers, including tutoring students in biology before and after school. 

This program is currently located at Stephen T. Mather High School, a CPS school on the northwest side.

Leadership, teachers, and staff at Mather High School identified the transition from eighth to ninth grade as a significant hurdle for students. Research by the Consortium on Chicago School Research corroborates this concern. When students move from eighth to ninth grade, their grades drop, on average, by more than half a letter grade. For some students – even high-achieving ones – grades may decline by two full GPA points. 

To address this challenge, Science in Society researchers designed and piloted Science Explorers. The pilot in 2015–16 served 15 Mather freshmen. In 2016, the Science Explorers team expanded to five full-time Science in Society Science Education Fellows. These Fellows support 45 Science Explorers students before, during, and after school.


  • Science Explorers has served 60 Mather High School freshmen.


  • This work is funded by a grant from the AT&T Foundation.

Get Involved!

Science Education Fellows provide mentoring and tutoring support for students in two Chicago Public School high schools. Applications for the 2018-19 school year open in winter 2018.

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