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ERIC Number: EJ1159450
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Addressing an Overlooked Science Outreach Audience: Development of a Science Mentorship Program Focusing on Critical Thinking Skills for Adults Working toward a High School Equivalency Degree
Gagnon, Nicole L.; Komor, Anna J.
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n10 p1435-1442 Oct 2017
Adult learners seeking a high school equivalency degree are a highly motivated group of students that almost universally meet outreach audience goals of serving minority, low-income, and other disadvantaged populations. Despite the demonstrated need of this population, these students are not commonly served by university-sponsored science outreach programs. To address this omission, we developed a science outreach program called SciMentors that provides experiment-based lessons to existing science classes at adult learning centers, focusing equally on scientific concepts and critical thinking skills. SciMentors provides an opportunity for hands-on learning that would otherwise not be available to this population of students. The program is run by graduate students and postdoctoral associates in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Evaluation of the impact of the program on both the students and the volunteer teachers was performed by surveying participants. Via the surveys, students reported an increase in knowledge of and interest in science as a result of the program, and learning center staff reported an increased attendance on science experiment days. Volunteers reported increased mastery in a wide range of skills including science communication, leadership, confidence, and cultural awareness. Now entering its fourth year, SciMentors has served over 60 adult learners, provided over 270 volunteer hours to the community, and received positive feedback from all involved.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A