Year in Review: Science in Society 2017

Paige Edmiston
December 18, 2017

As the new year approaches, our staff and community members took a moment to look back and reflect on some of the highlights from 2017.

Science in Society partnered with community organizations to bring authentic science education resources and opportunities to local kids. This included opening a new Science Club laboratory at the True Value Boys & Girls Club (in partnership with the Driskill Foundation) and a new Science Club site at MetaMedia in the McGaw YMCA.

“I loved organizing the buildout of the True Value Science Club lab. The partners worked well together and the lab looked wonderful when finished. To see the True Value kids and mentors get excited about the new space during the opening ceremony was my reward. The True Value BGCC is a wonderful place and I’m glad I was part of making Science Club meaningful at their site.” – Sarina McBride, Business Coordinator 

“This year, we were excited to build new partnerships in our local communities to meet youth interest in and demand for science learning opportunities. We’re honored to work hand-in-hand with organizations like the McGaw YMCA MetaMedia and Family Focus to support Evanston youth in their exploration of science.” – Rabiah Mayas, Associate Director

Committing to science learning means supporting students both in and out of the classroom. This year, Science in Society helped local public school teachers hone their skills and confidence in supporting science-rich classrooms. This included a three-week paid summer practicum for Chicago Public Schools teachers and an initiative to connect District 65 teachers with Northwestern expertise.  

“It was powerful to watch the Science Club Summer Camp teachers’ transformation from thinking they couldn’t teach science to feeling prepared to help their students learn how to make sense of the natural world. Teachers were excited to know it’s ok not to have the ‘right answer’, but to explore together with their students to figure it out.” – Emily Mathews, Senior Program Coordinator 

“I’m extremely proud of the strong partnerships we have with Chicago Public Schools and Evanston/Skokie School District 65. Equity and access are at the core of this work. Whether it’s partnering with our School of Education and Social Policy to train and support teachers at Lake View and Mather High Schools in CPS, or an integrated elementary teacher training/youth development camp at a Boys & Girls Club during the summer, the center is committed to helping all kids to build the skills and confidence for 21st century careers." – Mike Kennedy, Director and Research Professor

This year, Science in Society helped youth build STEM skills and confidence through Science Club, Junior Science Club, Science Club Summer Camp, and Science Explorers. We also got to celebrate the success of our Science Club alums. 

“My favorite memory has been watching my students become more confident in their own capabilities.” – Brett Pepowski, Science Education Fellow, Science Explorers

“Watching the kids improve their academic habits and in their mastery of biology content a little each day is extremely rewarding.” – Allison Grecco, Science Education Fellow, Science Explorers

"My favorite memory from this year was on a day the other fellows and I orchestrated a huge biology review with our Science Explorer groups. The students all really enjoyed the review and had very positive feedback throughout the day. It was great to see everyone genuinely enjoying science and learning." – Susmitha Kowligy, Science Education Fellow, Science Explorers

“My experience with Science Club – and the relationships I formed there – played a key role in my academic success, even in college.” – Myles Moore, Science Club alum and 2017 University of Kentucky graduate

Science in Society created opportunities for scientists to practice engaging with the public - and develop science communication skills. In 2017, this included youth field trips to Northwestern labs; connecting researchers with Chicagoland audiences at the Museum of Science and Industry and elsewhere; and helping scientists become better writers and communicators through HELIX magazine and Skills & Careers in Science Writing.

"I would recommend [HELIX] to every student, professor, and faculty member. It was invaluable to have personalized feedback on my writing. The HELIX experience provides an amazing opportunity for growth as a writer and communicator." – Andrew Lai, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering and HELIX writer

“[These field trips] make STEM education – and in turn a STEM career – more tangible for students. Giving kids the opportunity to interact with real scientists in person humanizes the person in the white lab coat.” – Han Teng Wong, a visiting predoctoral scholar in the Tullman-Ercek Lab and Science Club mentor, who hosted a field trip this spring with Stephen T. Mather High School freshmen from the Science Explorers program

It’s Science in Society’s mission to create sustainable educational initiatives that deliver proven results for our communities. Thank you to all of the partners, volunteers, teachers, scientists, students, and community members who helped make this work possible in 2017.

We couldn’t do it without you! 



A digital science magazine published by Science in Society and written by Northwestern faculty, students and staff.

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