Scientists for Tomorrow is an initiative offered by the Science Institute in the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) in collaboration with selected Chicago community organizations, the CCC Department of Education, and Chicago area informal science education providers including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.
Scientists for Tomorrow is an informal science after school program that is dedicated to educating young participants into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields. Developed by Columbia College Science and Mathematics Chair, Constantin Rasinariu, Ph.D., Professor’s Marcelo Caplan and Virginia Lehmkuhl Dakhwe Ph.D. , the program operates in over 30 Chicago region schools and community centers.
The Scientists for Tomorrow program provides Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workshops and internships for Chicago area youth. The program content emphasizes engineering methods and awareness about environmental topics and issues. The program is also testing a model for preparation of non-science major, pre-service teachers to deliver informal science education modules in after school programming.
Through a collaboration of educators, museums, and community organizations, Scientists for Tomorrow prepares young participants with skills related to STEM fields and careers; creating positive attitudes towards science and technology information.
Scientists for Tomorrow currently consists of weekly science and technology programming for middle grade students. The programming is integrated into the sites existing schedules, with a focus on making science content knowledge relevant to the learner. Through hands on activities, material is presented to create either musical instruments, solar power cars, green house, etc..
During this period, Scientists for Tomorrow has reached over 180 African American and Hispanic youth between the ages of 10 and 14 and is specifically designed to address scientific literacy and minority under-representation in STEM disciplines.
Scientists for Tomorrow is also designed to emphasize an inclusive, non-competitive atmosphere that encourages community-building and cooperation among youth. Opportunities for parents to be involved with their children’s learning are also provided through periodic symposia and parent-youth community activities such as Family Science Day field trips and end of the module presentations.