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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)

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This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 )


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.


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.


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


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!


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Schmahl Science Workshops (SSW) means so much to our family. It is the place where the rubber meets the road regarding a quality and comprehensive hands-on science education for our teen daughter. All of the Schmahl Science staff is in some way associated with science, either scientists themselves, master’s degree science students in the various science disciplines, working or retired engineers, scientists, instructors from industry or the teaching community. Students participate in biology labs, microbiology labs, anatomy and physiology labs, chemistry labs, civil engineering labs, earth science labs, life science labs, earthquake science labs and all with equipment used in real world settings. Students have the opportunity to follow an idea by designing and participating in research projects under the guidance of the Advanced Student Research Director, with the potential to develop patents. Schmahl Science Workshops has a wonderful outreach program that positively affects students from low wealth (underfunded) school districts, thus providing an equal science education and possibly the only exposure to real hands-on science these students would ever experience. Schmahl Science is lead by the energetic and extremely organized Executive Director Belinda Schmahl, who formed Schmahl Science in her garage in 1996 when she decided to provide a true need, hands-on science instruction – which was not provided by schools either because of lack of financing or expertise. Schmahl Science Workshops has served over 60,000 students and 4,000 teachers in Santa Clara County and increased its reach via the Bio Mobile Van, a rolling, fully equipped biology lab. SSW enhances the science education provided to students in poor school districts by providing them a true science laboratory experience along with quality science instruction. Students, whose schools or parents pay for the workshops, experience the same genuine hands-on lab experience with qualified instructors and equipment used in real world settings that their own schools could not provide due to lack of equipment or expertise. This 501©(3) not-for-profit corporation deserves funding because of the quality service and hands-on science education it provides to tens of thousands of students and thousands of teachers in Santa Clara County.