Stanford Students Team with Local School Districts to Develop STEM Leaders

Stanford University students are aiming to develop a new generation of STEM leaders through the university's Science in Service (SIS) program.

Part of the university's Cardinal Service initiative, SIS has partnered with Ravenswood School District, La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District and the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula to pair Stanford students one-on-one with young learners for science activities, facilitate family science nights and to help develop curriculum using current research.

"Stanford students receive training and practice ongoing reflection in order to deeply engage in conversations about learning and equity in science education," according to a news release. "Preparation workshops focus on science education, educational equity, teaching strategies and current education trends (including topics such as growth mindset, stereotype threat and Next Generation Science Standards). Student volunteers develop leadership and mentorship skills, the ability to communicate science to non-scientists, a better understanding of local communities and a commitment to improving K-12 science education. As alumni, they go on to professions ranging from medicine to marine biology, education to environmental engineering."

"I'm constantly inspired by the Stanford students that join the Science in Service program," said Sarah Koik, Haas Center for Public Service program director for science education, in a prepared statement. "Having worked in this field for over a decade, I find their long-term commitment and willingness to grapple with and grow in this work truly special. The students' commitment, in combination with the partnerships and relationships we have built in the community, make Science in Service a unique opportunity."

Since its launch in 2003 with the award of a NASA grant, more than 1,300 youth have participated in the STEM outreach effort.

"For me, Science in Service has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my Stanford experience," Said Stanfor Senior Sergio Rebeles, who has participated in the program since 2014, in a prepared statement. "Living, eating, studying and sleeping in the infamous 'bubble' can make it easy to forget the power and privilege I interact with every day that I am here. Being able to leave every week to spend an hour with students from the sorts of communities that I grew up in keeps me grounded and reminds me that there's more to life than 'P sets' and grades."

SIS is one of five education partnerships run by the school's Haas Center for Public Service. More information about those programs is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].