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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

A Schmahl Science Workshop

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development

Mission: To provide hands-on science activities for kids in a fun, engaging, free-form environment. A Schmahl Science Workshop: Believes children are motivated to learn when their ideas are cultivated through the fun of designing and developing an experiment. Challenges children to use the scientific method as a powerful tool that will facilitate them as they explore the world around them. Provides the highest quality hands-on workshops that are presented to students in classroom, lab or garage settings by instructors whose interest in and enthusiasm for science is communicated in a fun and exciting way. Promotes successful inquiries into science with our open-ended, hands-on, mentor-supported approach to science fair projects. Designs units that integrate hands-on experiments and activities with discussion of the history of science as a work in progress

Results: Since 1996, we have served over 86,000 students and over 7,000 teachers.  Each of these students on average participates in 20 workshops a year resulting in over 1,519,735 student contacts since our founding.  In the 2007-08 academic year we served 20,273 preK-12th grade students. In the 2008-09 academic year we served over 23,000 preK-12th grade students at 120 schools in 28 school districts. In the 2009-10 academic year we served over 25,000 preK-12th grade students at 149 schools in 28 school districts.

Target demographics: prek - 12th grade students in San Francisco Bay Area

Direct beneficiaries per year: To prepare for a future increasingly driven by science and technology, children need meaningful and lasting science experiences. Students that are encouraged and successful in science today are likely to continue in science tomorrow. Sadly, most students get less than forty-five minutes of science education per week.

Geographic areas served: Greater Bay Area, CA (Gilroy to San Francisco)

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a student in the ASRP(Advanced Student Research Program). This was my first time doing research, but the help I received at SSW made the whole process as streamlined as possible. My mentor was very experienced and dedicated, guiding me from project planning to execution. I had no previous experience in the lab, but they taught me every technique I needed to know. My mentor also gave me advice on presenting my research before the Synopsys Science Fair. This gave me the skills I needed to persuade the judges, allowing me to win the 1st award in my category. I went on to qualify for the International BioGENEius challenge – something I couldn’t have done without the mentorship and the necessary equipment provided by Schmahl Science Workshops.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a student researcher at Schmahl Sciences and I've learned so much more about biology and general science than in the average classroom. My mentor was extremely supportive and Belinda, the head of the organization, always had my best interests in mind. I researched about Alopecia, which wasn't a topic that was researched before at Schmahl, but they gave me every resource in their power to help me research what I was interested in. I have recommended them at various occasions and still do because the research I did at Schmahl has helped long after the research process was over. I've had an amazing experience and I strongly support them because Schmahl Sciences is a great nonprofit organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science Workshop is a well-run workshop, that allows students the opportunity to delve into their individual scientific interests, through scientific research and experimentation. The mentors who guide students are very knowledgeable and work closely with the students, to ensure that they understand the scientific research and processes involved in their experimentation. In addition, the administrative staff is very friendly, professional and accommodating – especially at times when they have to schedule students on successive days or on weekends, to meet the demands of their experimental process. SSW does deliver on its mission to provide students with a strong science foundation in a professional and engaging manner, which inspires them to pursue careers in math and science.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have had extremely bad experience with Schmahl trying to do projects for my child. The mentors I worked with were not helpful as expected. Suddenly mentors became unavailable and the staff changed their attitude towards the family. We didn't get help as promised. We lost more than $3500 trying to do a science project and ended up with nothing. This place is a money making business when it comes to individual project. Since I haven't tried their group workshops, I have no comments on that.

Comments ( 1 )

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belssw 11/06/2015

As the Executive Director of Schmahl Science Workshops, I am deeply saddened by this. I would like to reach out to this family by asking them to contact me at bel@schmahlscience.org so that we can work on rectifying this situation. It is true that we had staffing issues this year. One of our primary full time mentors had to go on long-term medical leave. We contacted our impacted families immediately in order to shift them to new mentors, and attempted to make the transition as painless as possible. It is important to note that we do not promise specific days for any mentor. The dictates of the research and the time availability of mentors determine when scheduling can take place. We do our best to accommodate the needs of our families, but many of our scientists hold other jobs in addition to working at SSW and of course, have their own family time constraints. Schmahl Science Workshops is NOT a money making machine. While we do charge families for their project expenses, if they are low to low-middle income we offer scholarships to help with the costs. In addition, ALL students are given the opportunity to learn how to write grants so that they can find financial assistance with projects. Last year, students who attend our grant writing workshops won from $500 to $2500 to support their research. The research being conducted for science fair competitions by our students is not the “carnation and dye” or “baking soda volcano” projects of the past. These projects include complicated cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease projects; designing and building biomedical devices, etc. These projects require expensive reagents, cells, chemicals and materials in addition to huge man hours to complete. As mentioned earlier, qualifying families receive scholarships and we help students in looking for contributions. Unfortunately, not all students receive contributions. It is necessary to charge parents in order to cover the expenses of the project.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science Workshop (SSW), headed by Mrs. Belinda Schmahl provides a strong science foundation to students who are excited about conducting scientific experiments and who plan to pursue careers in math and science. The mentors are very knowledgeable in their subject areas and have a good track record of guiding their students to win awards at science fairs on the county, state and national level. My children who attend SSW are benefitting tremendously from the in-depth exposure given by their mentors, to the subject matter related to their experiment as well as to how their experiments can detect problems and contribute towards real world solutions. Mrs. Schmahl has begun offering grant writing seminars that help SSW students connect their research to professional organizations. The staff at SSW are supportive of their students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the Science-O-Rama! (Science Fair) coordinator at our elementary school. Schmahl Science did a "Family Science Night" at our school to kickoff our Science-O-Rama! season. They did an outstanding job. They had several stations for the students to visit, and most students stayed all evening (2 hours!). During that time, the cafeteria was filled with the pleasant "hum" of excited, experimenting kids (grades k-6, plus siblings and parents -- expecially dads:) It was wonderful, and did a great job of getting the students excited about starting their science project explorations!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Imelda Murillo and a week ago Belinda Schmahl did a presentation in my 6th grade class in East San Jose. I just wanted to thank her for her time in presenting to my students. Mrs. Schmahl had a "conversation" with my students and it made them focus and become intrigued with all the information they were learning. My students face a lot of struggles and with Mrs. Schmahl sharing her personal life struggles they were able to relate and see a stronger future.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My friend went to the Schmahl Science Workshop and told me it was the most fun he had in a long time. I think that sounds great and it made me happy to hear about it.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science Workshop is a very special, almost magic, way to learn about science. They have designed very simple experiments that children and adults of all levels can participate in. One of the ways it is special is they do not talk down to the kids or change the experiment so it is too simple for the age group. This instills confidence in all the students and allows them to think independently and see possiabilities It is a safe enviroment to learn and question. The kids are free to interact and comment and learn at thier own pace. This is a wonderful way of presenting science to kids and thier parents and making it come alive. Since it is in a interactive enviroment the lessons are remembered and it is a great introduction to the scientific process to all ages.

4 cklingner

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Schmahl was providing kids entertainment at our company event. They did an awesome job keeping the kids occupied and fascinated with their fun experiements.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

A Schmahl Science Workshop has provided an amazing program for children. I work in a Kindergarten classroom and their program is exciting and hands-on. The children were engaged, excited, and interested in what their workshop had to offer. Their staff knew how to engage the children and keep them interested, which is no small task with Kinders! This is a program that encourages very young children to develop an interest in the sciences. I would highly recommend A Schmahl Science Workshop.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent who schools her gifted daughter at home. Belinda Schmahl has made it possible for her to study such subjects as Chemistry, AP Biology, and Advanced Molecular Biology at a very young age. Chemistry labs are very difficult to perform at home for instance, so Schmahl has been a lifesaver for us.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science Rocks! As the Dept. Head of Science in a small private school in Oakland Ca, I could not take on the task of coordinating the science fair at my school last year. I called Schmahl and they did everything from the intitial meeting with my students, to one-on-one time with each, assisting them get their initial ideas and procedures. They even provided much of the equipment my students needed to run their experiments. The staff was friendly, energetic, and knowledgable. I can't say enough about our wonderful experience with Schmahl. We all had a great time, and they reenforced much of what the students had already learned in science. It was great for the students to hear from someone else what we teach them daily in class about how science works.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization Schmahl Science is. There much needed science and technology workshops and demos are done very professionally and at the right level for the students they are working with. Not only do they have many great offerings in science and technology activities, but they have a great staff to do the training and a great Director, Belinda Schmahl, who cares very much for the students she works with and is very in touch with their needs. We are very fortunate that we have Schmal in our back yard. What would we do if we didn't have them here locally, there would be a very big void in the science learning arena. Schmahl offers so many different programs and activities, that we could have them back again and again and the students would continue to learn new things and get some great hands on training. I have had Schmahl Science do a number of activities/demos here for IBM and they are always such a great hit. Besides the students learning, the adult volunteers learn a lot and really enjoy helping with the activities. Belinda's staff is very energetic and personable and they love what they do and the difference they make. I am very grateful to have such a great, high performing organization like Schmahl around. They realy help to fill the science/technology gap that our schools can't fill. organization. I look forward to a long relationship with Schmahl.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an educational consultant and a school evaluator. Part of my role with a national charter school organization was to identify 'state of the art' teaching of science. I was invited to observe a class on momentum in Daly City, California in the Jefferson Unified School District during the fall. The class consisted of 7th graders and in roughly an hour class, the instructors from Schmahl Science provided clear instructions for four groups of students to build a continuous roller coaster consisting of rubber tubing and marbles. The objective was to builde a sound roller coaster taking into accoun the height of the tubing necessary for the marble to flow through the entire length of the tubing without stopping. This exercise required team work, cooperation, and an understanding of momentum and height. The students were engaged for the entire hour and when recess time came, ALL preferred to stay and complete the assignment rather than break for outside time. As I observed this class I thought to myself, 'if learning could be this relevant all the time for students, America would be on top of science and math in the world because students would connect to their learning and begin to make connections between the subject and their own survival. It was a remarkable experience that I wish I could expose to ALL teachers. Dr. Hollis M. Pierce

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science has done many wonderful things over the years. When I worked in Community Relations at Juniper, they supported our Bring your Child to work day, allowing children to have fun but also continue with their education in the difference programs they offered that day. Further, I worked with them at Sunnyale Art & Wine Festival where hundreds of children were enlightened and educated by their activities throughout the day. They are an outstanding organization run by outstanding people. Barbara Rigdon Public Affairs Representative Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco

4

Client Served

Rating: 4

A Schmahl Science provides wonderful hands-on science experiments for my students, which enhances the curriculum. The presenters come prepared and are very knowledgeable about what they are teaching. My students especially love the Owl workshop where they get to dissect owl pellets. It is 4 stars instead of 5 because of some accounting/billing problems.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

For five years now I have watched Schmahl Science help children become better students. The workshops are designed to encourage kids to poblem solve and think for themselves using experimentation and observation. Because of the 'hands on' nature of Schmahl Science classes they are reaching a large number of students who don't always perform well in the standard classroom setting. The workshops give these kids a sence of pride and accomplishment they don't normally get to feel.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My grandchildren have taken numerous workshops through Schmahl Science and always learn something new and are eager to share their knowledge when they come home. It's a program they enjoy participating in. It's a great program for children of all ages and much needed in our schools.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing program run by an amazing woman! Schmahl Science has brought fun, wonder and curiosity to science education, thereby inspiring many kids (and their parents!) to love and pursue science. My kids benefitted greatly from this program; it shows in their science grades, in their curiosity about their world, in their success at science fairs and in their commitment to make the world a better place. I have investigated other hands-on science supplemental programs, but none comes close to creating the positively charged, exciting learning experience that inspires kids to love science and learning as does Schmahl Science.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My kids have always enjoyed the science classes and summer camps they have taken with A Schmahl Science Workshop. The teachers are enthusistic about teaching and the kids are enthusiastic about learning. They introduced my children to science in such a way that they both aspire to become scientists of some sort when they grow up. I'm thrilled!

5

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization has truly been a great addition to the numerous programs we do for middle school students. They have

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with this organization was excellent. I started working with the Schmahl Science Workshop first when I was in 6th grade. By urging me to ask questions, I was able to add layers of complexity to my project that I never knew I could do. Since that time, I continued with the Schmahl Science Workshop for the rest of my middle school and high school career. They were able to provide me with lab facilities and mentors who were knowledgeable about my project and could guide me through my various projects. The Schmahl Workshop solidified my interest in science and allowed me to succeed in science fairs on a national level. Without a doubt, I would not be attending Stanford University today had I not first joined the organization so early in my life.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm a PhD Engineer and the Mom of an engineering-oriented 9-year-old boy. When I come to pick up my son, I love watching the end of the weekly DaVinci Machines class. The boys and girls are completely engaged and are learning - even more than they knew before - that science/engineering/inventing is just plain fun! Well done! Leslie Field

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a teacher at Ascencion Solorsano Middle School in Gilroy and have had a 3 year relationship with Schmahl Science. They ahve generously donated time, resources, and more importantly passion for learning to my students and myself. The staff arrive every week for 6-7 months and directly assist students in an Advanced Student Research Project. The students are selected based on both their curiousity and passion as well as being members of under represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, And math (STEM) degrees. The focus of the project is to cature those students that could be our future scienctist or inventors at an early age where they are still defining and imagining possibilities for their future. The Schmahl team does this by developing a colloborative research process. Sixty students arrive every week and work through the process of developing an idea into a testable hypothesis. They then do the research and investigation, At this point they are guided through reflecting and analyzing their work and eventually present and defend their projects at our science fair and then the county science fair. With the assistance of Schmahl Science I have been able to triple the number of projects attending the county science fair from our site. Our students have had an opportunity to colloboratively work in a lab setting and share their ideas with others in an experience that doesn't usually happen until they reach the University. It is the unique matching of mentors and the expertise of the staff that has instilled the idea that science, working hard, and learning are cool things to do at our school.

13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having worked as a volunteer with the Santa Clara Science Fair for many years, I have seen the positive results that this workshop produces. Schmahl Science Workshop kids from all walks of life, all age levels and abilities are engaged and involved in science. The Workshop underscores the importance of curiosity, the scientific method, and the wonders of discovery. The passion and dedication of the Schmahl Science Workshop staff are tops in the science education community.

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a teacher at a Title 1 school, I appreciate having Schmahl coming to our school and providing many hours of hands on science for our K-5. Last year, my 4th grades got to experience 4 sessions with Schmahl. It was a great extension of our in class book learning with materials I don't have access too. And best of all...the kids have a great time!

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been involved with SSW for 5 years now. The program has given me a new way to view science. Because of Schmahl Science, I have learned concepts well beyond my grade level. Thanks to the program, I am sure I will continue science fair as I enter high school.

15

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been attending Schmahl Science workshops for 4 years with our three, now middle-school aged children. We are in a "good" school - recognized for its achievements in many areas. But, hands-down, they can't come close to the type of quality education my children have received over the years at Schmahl. First of all, this is real science - the first summer they participated, they used microscopes and dissected squid. Many programs SAY they teach science, but it really is more "tech" in nature; without branching into chemistry, biology, or the other areas of scientific inquiry. Secondly, the themes are relevant to the lives of children, many based on popular TV shows, like Mythbusters and Surviver. My children have explored fire, water, soda, pocket knives, magnifying glasses, microscopes, fabric and paper, chemical substances and numerous other media; all in a safe, supervised and enthusiastic environment. Best of all, its a BLAST (sometimes literally)! Schmahl Science workshops have become a summer tradition for my kids - they ask to be enrolled and it directly supports the California Standards for science education that they are trying to teach in our schools. This year, my sixth grader had the opportunity to explore the DNA of roses with other students of mixed ages - the inquiry was two weeks and gave him time to really get into the material and ask questions - they made follow up inquiry available to him if he wished. Our schools don't have time for this! I really can't recommend this non-profit highly enough - we are thrilled to be involved with them and hope they THRIVE!

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 6-year old daughter and 4-year old son attended the summer science workshop in June 2009. Every morning they got up excited to go to the science class. Why? In their words they "got to try new things". The kids learned about the characteristics/attributes that define and differentiate animals (e.g., omnivore, carnivore, herbivore). The learning took place within the context of stories, pictures, hands-on projects, and studying the animals that they instructors brought. I wish that Schmahl Science was available in every school so that I could have the confidence that my daughter and son were gaining the skills that would help them build upon their natural curiosity and orientation for hands-on exploration.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am second grade teacher that has benefitted from the expertise of A Schmahl Science Workshop in many ways. Mrs. Schmahl recently taught a fossils/dinosaur unit to my class which kept them actively engaged in the topic for over 90 minutes. She has also provided science kits to my class for several years which have made teaching science easier and more interesting for my students. I highly endorse A Schmahl Science Workshop to any parent, teacher or school district as a way to provide more consistent hands on learning for today's students.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My two children have attended the Schmahl Science workshops for about 7 years now and have also participated in the Advanced Student Research Program through that time. They have had the opportunity to work with very sophisticated scientific concepts and have had fun doing it. Their research work in areas of microbiology, physics, engineering etc. has gained them large amounts of recognition - at science fairs, newspapers etc. However, the most important thing they have gained from their participation at SSW, is their love for science. My son, who has just graduated from high school is going to major in a branch of engineering with a minor in the life sciences. My daughter who is entering high school intends to continue to participate actively in the Advanced Student Research Program, all through high school. SSW is a major factor behind her motivation to pursue science research. SSW,as part of their ASRP,exposes kids to scientific concepts that are very sophisticated. They do it with a hands-on approach where the kids don't even realize that they are learning such sophisticated concepts, until it is too late!!

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a teacher at an elementary school in San Jose. We have worked with Schmahl Science to provide after school science classes to all interested 3rd through 6th graders, and GATE classes at our school. These classes are so popular that they fill up in days. Students are always asking me when the next class will be. Their teachers are highly educated in their field. They are always enthusiastic about what they teach. This enthusiasm is infectious. They present the lessons in such a way that all students understand and participate. Schmahl Science classes have always been an asset. Now, with so many districts cutting back on time that teachers can teach science in elementary, it's a necessity. I can't imagine a school year without Schmahl Science. I find I'm learning as much as my students.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Toxicologist by trade, but currently a full time homeschooling mom to two gifted kids. I have known Schmahl Science for the past 5 years or so, ever since then my oldest child has been taking classes with them. I love their philosophy of ability based learning rather than the age based learning we see around us everywhere. One of the main reasons for me to homeschool in fact, is to let my kids learn at their level, which are far beyond their ages. My kids have benefited highly from Schmahl's classes. My oldest participated in the science fair and have won awards and the credit goes to the exceptional mentoring by the Schmahl science staff. My youngest has also been taking classes for the past 3 years and loves it very much. Due to my children's constant thirst for knowledge and learning, our family has tried many resources around in the bay area, in addition to Schmahl Science. But I highly recommend Schmahl Science over everything else.

16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In my opinion, Schmahl Science offers some of the best science instruction anywhere. The classes are interesting, detailed and impart scientific knowledge well beyond what most schools are able to offer. Their mentoring program for science faire students is also exceptional. Highly recommended!