The society for science has done far more for science teachers and science programs around the country than any other non-profit I know. They administer science research competitions (STS, ISEF) for high school students, which are motivating students. These high school students are often working at college and graduate levels, producing excellent quality papers. They are providing students and teachers with incredibly useful resources, such as Science News, a magazine designed specifically for middle/high school students and their teachers. They are providing workshops and training sessions for teachers, and grants to help school districts develop their science programs. I cannot say enough how valuable the Society for Science and the Public is for science education in this country.
I have worked closely with SSP since 2002 when I became an Intel ISEF Affiliated Fair Director. I have been Chair of the Intel ISEF Advisory Council for nearly three years and cannot say enough positive about this organization. The staff at SSP are committed and passionate about their mission. SSP has provided awesome opportunities for a number of students from my region in Central NM. I was also a Guest Speaker at the 2010 SSP Teacher Fellows Institute which is an absolutely amazing program - applied for competitively by teachers from all over the US and abroad - run by Jennifer Carter, Director of Outreach. I would like to see programs like the Fellows program continue and be supported into the future. It is through teachers that we will ultimately make the biggest impact on upcoming students...teachers with passion for science, technology, engineering, & math education and research engender students with passion for learning...for asking great questions...and for having the courage to go after the answers to those questions.
Society for Science and the Public provide opportunities for both teachers and students across the globe that are focused on science education and science research. They also provide additional outreach opportunities, scholarships and fellowships for students including those from both rural and large urban area school districts. All of my experiences with SSP have been positive and educational.
Science research isn't just something for a professor in a university or an engineer in a laboratory. Middle school and high school students do science research too. Students can ask important questions, develop their own research skills and scientific insights, and even have results so compelling that they become acknowledged contributors to the progress of scientific knowledge. The goal of Society for Science and the Public is to identify, encourage, mentor and reward this next generation of technical innovators around the world. By sponsoring rigorous science competitions at the middle school and high school level, they showcase students who excel at science, not just in a classroom or on a test but also in the real world, creative experience of pursuing a research project. I have mentored, along with my husband, our own daughter and her teammates as they pursued research topics traditionally thought only the province of "rocket scientists." All of the students learned vital, practical science research skills, like programming and astronomy. But they also learned intangibles like how to be a valued teammate and an effective leader, how to problem solve together, and how to communicate their research to judges so respected that some have even won the Nobel Prize. For each of the students, their team research was one of the most important experiences of high school. Society for Science and the Public provides these opportunities to any middle school or high school student with a passion for science research. Through their work, ongoing since the 1940s, they have opened the doors for generations of technical innovators.
Society for Science and the Public is an outstanding organization which gives kids a chance to compete in scientific endeavors and learn skills that will affect not only their future, but the future of the world. The kids who compete at ISEF are doing cutting edge science and their discoveries are making a difference in the world. The middle school kids who compete for the chance to participate in a competition in Washington DC learn skills that will not only help them schieve in high school, but will most likely set them on the path towards a career in science, math, engineering or technology. As a parent of two boys who are now in high school that had the chance to compete in Washington DC, I can attest to the life changing effect these competitions have had. My boys went from very shy, kids who would most likely sit quietly and listen in class, to boys who are actively striving to do their best and get the most out of every class, they dare give answers and ask questions and push the teachers to give their best every day. SSP is a fantastic organization, in my opinion they do more for the future of our nation than any other nonprofit because they are truely investing in the future.
I have volunteered since 1995, first helping in Display and Safety and now with the Scientific Review Committee. The organization has a tremendous staff that works more than a 'regular job' to assure that the experience these talented kids get is first class. This is a program that opens eyes and doors. It promotes the growth of the students as individuals and as teams and truly supports science, engineering and technology education.
I became involved with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in 2000 hosted in Detroit, MI. The following year the Fair was coming to San Jose, CA and I was part of the Host Committee so I went to Detroit to shadow the role I would do the following year. It was love at first sight! SSP, the moderator of the Fair in every host city, had (and has) a fabulous team that knows their responsibilities and are dedicated to making the Fair the best for the students! The Fair was just hosted again in San Jose, CA in May 2010 and I was again part of the Host Committee (and the Board of Directors) so I had extensive interaction with them over the past year. Having boycotted the science fair when I was in 8th Grade it is a weird come-uppance but I do not regret the decision to become involved and it is what keeps me coming back year after year! Come join and support the fun!