Future Scientists is a volunteer activity supported by the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) to encourage ETA staff to participate in education in local schools.
The goal of this activity is to excite students about science and the work we do and to encourage their natural enthusiasm and interest in these topics. We also serve as resources for teachers and staff—many of whom have little or no background in science.
Area staff have a long history of volunteering in science education, from participation in local science fairs to mentoring and working with students in special programs. The Future Scientists activity provides a place where ETA staff can share information on an on-going basis about volunteering in local classrooms.
Future Scientists initiated a pilot program in 1998-1999 to bring Area staff into the local elementary schools. Working with the local non-profit group, Community Resources for Science (CRS), Area volunteers went to three Berkeley elementary schools and gave classes on heat and light.
Both teachers and students were enthusiastic about the visitors from the Lab and word soon got out about the scientists and their energy talks, with requests for more presentations. Since then, ETA staff have visited local elementary schools from Castro Valley to Richmond, presenting in over 60 classrooms. CRS continues to be an active partner, and coordinates all the logistics with the teachers and local schools for the visits.