NYC will test revolutionary networking system to enhance science education

Feb. 19, 2015 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sci-Inspire will pilot its science outreach networking system in New York City this spring, Sci-Inspire has announced.

Aiming to place university mentors and judges with K-12 science fairs in Harlem schools by April, Sci-Inspire has partnered with the Outreach Programs of the Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Columbia students and associated K-12 teachers have already begun registering on the Sci-Inspire website.

“This partnership is enormously exciting,” said Matt Schaff, founder and lead developer of Sci-Inspire. “I am extremely grateful to our Columbia partners for taking this opportunity to bring the full potential of science outreach to the people.”

Sci-Inspire hopes to democratize science outreach — partnerships between higher ed and K-12 schools that have been shown to improve science attitudes and aptitudes in K-12 students. Sci-Inspire is designed to reduce the costs of doing science outreach, automatically connecting university volunteers with K-12 educators and facilitating those connections.

“Sci-Inspire is exactly what Columbia Engineering Outreach Programs need — a seamless way to harness the interest of students here on campus and connect them with local schools to meet STEM needs,” said Emily Ford, director of Columbia Engineering Outreach Programs. “We are thrilled to be piloting it.”

Columbia Engineering Outreach Programs involves students, faculty and alumni in a wide variety of volunteering opportunities within Columbia and across New York City. Outreach Programs is driven by a mission to provide traditionally under-served students with multiple entry points to academic and professional careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and improve the quality and reach of STEM education at all levels.

The Sci-Inspire pilot will initially involve one Columbia volunteer team and four nearby K-12 schools and test out the science outreach networking system. Going forward, the pilot may integrate more schools along with science project templates and volunteer training courses.

Sci-Inspire is a project of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, which has sponsored Sci-Inspire from the beginning. FBR is the nation's oldest and largest organization dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding, respect and support for biomedical research in scientific discovery.

For more information, contact Sci-Inspire at [email protected].