Science from Scientists was founded by Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle, an MIT graduate with a doctorate in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine, in 2002 and successfully drew attention to the newly-formed 501c(3) non-profit as her platform during her winning bid for Miss Massachusetts in 2004. Erikaʼs life was strongly shaped by experiential science—winning the California state science fair three times on her way to choosing a career as a scientist and science driven entrepreneur. As Erika likes to say, “Science from Scientists gives all students the chance to experience the joy of doing real experiments, making real discoveries and appreciating how amazing our world is.”
Over the last fourteen years since its incorporation, Science from Scientists has been working closely with teachers, students, administrators and legislators specifically trying to address specific needs across school systems and working on the “STEM challenge.” The organization has grown from a staff of four in 2005 to over fifty in 2016. Science from Scientists has worked with more than 25,000 students over the last decade. Our reach has grown from an initial partnership with three schools to the current number of forty-six.
Science from Scientists was founded on the premise of the “STEM challenge” which originates from two separate issues, that of aptitude and that of attitude. Media often remind us that students in the United States are struggling to stay competitive in STEM subjects. Their aptitudes in math and science are not competitive with that of their international peers. The need for qualified STEM professionals is growing while the number of students graduating prepared to take on these challenges is shrinking. Test scores indicate a large “achievement gap” between our students and those in other nations. With the growing global economy it is all too easy for companies to move their businesses to other nations or to hire individuals from other countries. This is already happening due to lack of preparedness of the students here at home.
A critical component of the Science from Scientists philosophy is the need to send real, charismatic scientists into the classroom, during school every-other-week for the entire school year. SfS has always been a during school program because we believe that every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to STEM, not just those in after school programs who are already interested, or whose parents sign them up.
Our goal is also to improve student attitudes towards STEM by providing, role-model scientists in the classroom who have other interests and hobbies, helping students to understand that scientists are often well-rounded individuals, not the stereotype frequently portrayed.
In addition to changing attitudes, Science from Scientists believes strongly in the importance of metrics based results. In these days of shrinking educational budgets and focus on other subjects because of standardized testing, many school districts have completely eliminated science from their curriculum. Partnered with the fact that many elementary and middle school teachers are reluctant to teach science due to their own lack-of-preparedness, students are not being exposed at a young enough age and thus fall behind by the time they are in middle school. Once behind, it is difficult to catch up or to restore interest in STEM subjects in high school.
Science from Scientists is a hands-on program built around the material the students are expected to learn, not just “gee whiz” cool demonstrations (though our demonstrations are very cool!). We have shown quantifiable success in Massachusetts in elevating student aptitudes. We track standardized test scores in science to determine our efficacy and have shown a 17% increase in MCAS scores from before our program inception to after.
Over the last fourteen years we have established ourselves as an organization with a track record of success in improving student attitudes and aptitudes in STEM. We recognize the importance of working with classroom teachers and take seriously the need to evaluate and improve our program with each passing year. We hope you will join us in continuing to build a strong foundation for youth in STEM across our great nation.