Science in Society is a Northwestern University research center dedicated to science education and public engagement. Through partnerships with Chicago-area schools and community groups, we train Northwestern researchers to share their expertise and creativity in a community-centered way. Our focus is to develop sustainable educational initiatives that deliver proven results for groups that need us most.
The center partners with urban K-12 teachers, administrators, and youth development agencies to create high-quality, long-term, impactful science learning opportunities for underserved youth. In 2008, Science in Society partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and teachers in Chicago Public Schools to develop Science Club, a mentor-based afterschool program. Science Club brings Northwestern science graduate students together with underrepresented middle school youth throughout the academic year. Related programs include Science Club Summer Camp, Science Explorers, and Jr. Science Club.
Each of the center's initiatives build long-term partnerships with community organizations and educators to collaboratively deliver inquiry-based science engagement and skill development. Science in Society also develop and run science writing and communication training for scientist and researchers, often in tandem with the educational and community-focused priorities of the center's mission. This includes the annual Scientific Images Contest, a science writing course for scientists, and the online magazine HELIX.
In 2016, the center received a Phi Beta Kappa Society award for innovative efforts to build community connections through the natural sciences.