Lawrence Math & Science Partnership
Middle school students in Lawrence, Mass. are building their skills in science and math and receiving homework help from Merrimack College students.
The program helps to connect middle schools to future life choices, such as college and career options. Participants, both male and female, learn that science and math are important and engaging. The program fosters pride in their accomplishments and provides positive role models for middle schoolers as they work closely with college students.
Joining Merrimack College in this program are seven community partners: Blessed Stephen Bellesini Academy, ¡Adelante!, Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Lawrence Family Development Charter School, and Esperanza Academy.
The Lawrence Math and Science Partnership:
Merrimack students visit after-school sites in Lawrence and serve as learning mentors for 20 weeks on a once a week basis throughout the school year. They engage the youngsters in hands-on enrichment activities based in the areas of physical and biological science and math. Led by Merrimack through the Stevens Service Learning Center, the after-school program operates throughout the academic year.
Inquiry-based activities have included:
- pollution and its harmful effects on the environment
- studying the effects of proper food preparation in order to prevent food-borne illnesses
- measuring lung capacity and pulse rates before and after exercise
- investigate the importance of oral health
- understanding how vaccines help to prevent infectious diseases
Merrimack student mentors receive a training that includes instruction and participation in science workshops as well as exploration of cultural and diversity issues and the middle school mindset. Such trainings help to foster a better understanding of the challenges and experiences of middle school students, especially those of students who often speak English as a second language. Merrimack students and faculty of all majors and disciplines participate, either by direct service, or through volunteering their time in the development of the program's curriculum.
At the Heart of Merrimack's Mission
The program speaks to the heart of Merrimack College’s mission. Service to the community is significant part of the college’s Augustinian tradition. The Stevens Center for Service Learning at Merrimack integrates volunteer opportunities with various academic courses, placing students in many non-profit and service organizations. Service learning brings students into the life and needs of the communities that surround Merrimack College and also brings those community needs into the life of the college curriculum.
In sharing their knowledge and time, Merrimack students learn and benefit as well, gaining invaluable experience not possible in the traditional classroom. Merrimack College service learning students - science and non-science majors alike - enhance their problem-solving, scientific literacy and technical skills. Participation in the program also enhances the civic and social responsibility for Merrimack students. They develop skills in experimental design, data analysis, critical thinking, teamwork and communication. Merrimack students also gain an understanding of the cultural and socio-economic diversity that exists just four miles away from campus.
What our Students are Saying
“I think that perhaps the most valuable thing we taught the kids goes far beyond science. We are living proof that college is within their future and it isn’t just for the rich, but anyone who has a love of learning.” Stephen Jensen ‘07
For more information, contact
Professor Mary McHugh, Director
Stevens Service Learning Center
Katherine (Reissfelder) Donell
Stevens Service Learning Center