Building Skills in Lawrence

Middle school students in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 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.

Hands-on Teaching

If you participate in the program, you will visit after-school sites in Lawrence and serve as learning mentors once a week for 20 weeks during the school year. You will 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.

Participants

You will receive 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 in the development of the program’s curriculum.

Community Partners

Joining Merrimack College in this program are seven community partners:

  • Blessed Stephen Bellesini Academy
  • ¡Adelante!
  • Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence
  • Hellenic American Academy
  • Lawrence Catholic Academy
  • Lawrence Family Development Charter School
  • Lawrence Public Schools

At the Heart of Our Mission

Our 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 nonprofit 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.

Sharing Knowledge

In sharing your knowledge and time, you’ll learn and benefit as well and gain invaluable experience not possible in the traditional classroom. Whether you are a science or non-science major, you will enhance your problem-solving, scientific literacy and technical skills. Participation in the program also enhances your civic and social responsibility. You’ll  develop skills in experimental design, data analysis, critical thinking, teamwork and communication. You will also gain an understanding of the cultural and socio-economic diversity that exists just four miles away from campus.

What Students Say

“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