IRIDESCENT

Rating: 5 stars   3 reviews

Issues: Technology

Location: 553 W 23rd Street Los Angeles CA 90007 USA

Mission: Iridescent is a science education non-profit. Our mission is to inspire and equip underserved children to reach for the stars, to become scientists and engineers, to build and support their own communities and to tackle the world’s biggest problems. We focus on UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES as many members are below the poverty line, many do not pursue a higher education and many belong to the fastest growing population segments. For instance, in 2007 only 12% of Hispanics and 17% of African Americans had bachelor’s degrees or higher. Median annual earnings by a member of either community were $26,000. IRIDESCENT has been operating since July 2006. We train engineers to communicate their research and lab experiences to inner-city children through exciting, hands-on courses. Each course has five sessions of two hours each, held once a week.  Our training enables engineers to build relationships with the participants, to share how and why they chose engineering and what is exciting about their work. This last aspect is brought alive for the participants through real-world, hands-on activities that explain big ideas in the field. For instance participants learn about forces through the Biomechanics of Breakdancing, calculating speed through Bird Flight Aerodynamics or projection geometry through Medical Imaging. Activities are designed to be intrinsically rewarding. Thus participants realize that curiosity, perseverance and analysis is rewarded by seeing their airplane take flight, their model fish being neutrally buoyant in the water, or developing a clear pinhole camera photograph. We emphasize long-term impact and building strong infrastructures. Thus most of our courses are Family Science Courses in which parents conduct experiments alongside their children. This enables them to be empowered and educated to better support their child’s education.

Write a Review

Filter Reviews by Role

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

1,561 Views
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

The leaders of Iridescent are very professional. The Engineers as Teachers program is an excellent idea. Not only do the students get to meet and work with aspiring engineers but the engineering students have an opportunity to talk about their plans to the students. They students who came to our school were so well matched for our students. Tara and Kara prepared the engineering students. They brought everything they needed. In one instance, we only needed to provide water. The students remained engaged throughout the 4 weeks they were on campus. Students looked forward to their visits. As a former teacher, I remember the first day I stepped in front of students for the first time. I could not have asked for a better way to get students to realize that engineers are people, too, and that there are so many different avenues they can follow if they choose to be engineers. I cannot recommend Iridescent and the Engineers as Teachers program enough. An excellent way to get role models into the schools. Who knows - some may become teachers, I hope. Just what we need, excellent, passionate teachers to instruct our future engineers and scientists.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way students look forward to their regular science class.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to provide services to as many as I could while maintaining the goals and integrity of the organization.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their professionalism and enthusiasm, not to mention their knowledge of both the classroom and their fields.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

enthusiastic, knowledgeable, professional and prepared for anything.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach many, many more students from low incomes areas and open up the word of science and engineering for them.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to spend in the classroom while the groups were working.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

time, money and man (woman) power. There are only so many student volunteers and more schools requesting an opportunity to be a part of it all.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Iridescent is great. I look forward to being able to partner with them for many years.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

An amazing nonprofit! The organization focuses on teaching local elementary, middle, and sometimes high school students about science and engineering. They have weekly in-school sessions, which take place in the classroom, as well as "Family Science", which is a 2-hour session with the kids and their families. But what sets Iridescent apart is their dedication to hands on activities, where students are actively involved in both the design and build phases. In addition, they recruit engineering students from the neighboring universities and provide extensive training on how to be an effective teacher. The experience challenges the university students to accurately simplify difficult concepts, while the kids get to apply their creativity to engineering. At the conclusion of the 4-week session, Iridescent quantitatively assesses the improvement of the kids and the teaching quality of the students. They provide feedback so that each session gets better and better. At a time when the number of American students going into science and engineering is declining, programs like these are critical to inspiring upcoming generations and keeping the US science and technology-oriented.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

newspaper articles, the faces of excited children, the faces of pleased parents.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have a dedicated fundraiser position.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to interact with kids and being amazed by how much they already know!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

mostly energetic and young teachers and university students, as well as some industry representatives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the fate of engineering in the US.

Ways to make it better...

the organization had enough funding to have an organized center or office - both to store supplies and have meetings/discussions. But considering the state of the economy, they are doing well.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding and consistent volunteers.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I hope the organization grows and that branches in other cities will follow!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

I started my involvement with Iridescent about a year ago by helping out a friend as she taught a Family Science Session to elementary school students. I had a great time and was able to get involved in my Fall semester, taking a course at USC, AME 490 - Engineers as Teachers. I taught an optics course for 7th Grader that I developed with the help of Kara and Tara. For many of the students, I was one of the first engineers that they had ever met. I was able to communicate scientific and engineering principles to them while participating in hands on science lessons. I just recently taught Iridescent's Animal Locomotion lessons to 3rd through 5th grade students. Tara and Kara, who run the operations, are great. They are super fun and animated. They also answers email super fast.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the number of students that learn about engineering. Students develop a passion for learning and may understand the value of a mathematics and science education.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

keep doing what they do.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I enjoyed working with students at Family Science Sessions.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Excited and ready to teach.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

afford the supplies to teach at any school it wanted to.

Ways to make it better...

practiced my the experiments on my own more often.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finding people to teach at the schools that want the courses.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

Write a Review for This Nonprofit

Far exceeds expectations
Exceeds expectations
Meets expectations
Below expectations
Far below expectations
Rate this nonprofit:
1000 characters left