Science does not end in school but happens at all times of the day, whether in school, after-school programs, camps, hospitals, or with parents. Students 2 Science (S2S) is in the process of piloting its Virtual Laboratory (V-Lab) program in two non-traditional settings, with further program development on the horizon.
In summer 2016, we piloted our Virtual Laboratory (V-Lab) program at the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic, NJ. Students in such underserved districts have limited access to true and practical science or role models and mentors. Without role models, most children in poverty will never know a scientist, mathematician, or engineer. In providing hands-on exposure to science, coupled with mentors who are professional scientists, S2S will offer them an informed knowledge base to draw from as they consider college and career alternatives. Volunteer support for this program has been provided by Becton Dickenson. More information on this program will be coming soon.
In June 2015, we ran successful sessions of the Virtual Laboratory program at the The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Institute for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders. Young patients donned lab coats and goggles and became scientists for a day, learning skills and interacting with volunteer scientists. Bringing the V-Lab program to such non-traditional settings is not only beneficial in diverting the children’s minds from their illnesses and bringing a sense of normalcy to their day, but it is also highly effective in allowing them to see science in a positive light. We are currently in the process of expanding the V-Lab program to other hospitals and venues.
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