Bay Area Volunteering

From CBE GSAC Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

You can't (and shouldn't) do science all day, every day—allocate some time to give back to your community. This page highlights some of the volunteer opportunities that Berkeley grad students are involved in.


Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS)[edit]

Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) is a science and engineering volunteer program for public elementary schools in Berkeley, Oakland, and West Contra Costa County. We offer teachers and students an opportunity to interact with real-life scientists and engineers as well as dig in to hands-on science and engineering activities! Volunteers learn how to communicate science to a broader audience and spread their love of science. The goals of BASIS are to connect a diverse range of scientist volunteers to elementary and middle school students and teachers, to inspire students with examples of real-world science careers and issues, to engage students in hands-on, inquiry based learning experiences, and to create effective teaching links between scientists and public elementary schools.

Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM)[edit]

BEAM is a UC Berkeley DeCal course open to all majors. It is centered around weekly hands-on, project-based science lessons at Berkeley and Oakland schools for K-12, but primarily in elementary classes. Mentors visit the same class each week for 1-1.5 hours, enabling them to build relationships with the students over time. Each mentor team is on the order of 5 people. The lessons are designed by students on the BEAM Curriculum Team, and are explained to the mentors during the DeCal each week before the classroom visit. The lessons are open-source and available on the BEAM website. The high school sites are done differently, with two 5-week long projects over the course of the semester. For example, the Spring 2015 high school projects are a Rube Goldberg Machine and an Arduino car.

Community Resources for Science (CRS)[edit]

“Getting kids excited about science is easy! CRS helps teachers build on that enthusiasm.”

Techinspiration/ SMART Program[edit]

SMART provides highly motivated, financially-disadvantaged students with access to educational opportunities, personal experiences and social support services in order to foster academic excellence and community engagement. The program offers both short term and long term volunteer activities.

SEED (K-12 Educational Outreach)[edit]

SEED stands for Students for Environmental Energy Development. We are an outreach program that teaches K-12 students in East Bay schools about energy and resources. One component of SEED is the after school program, in which BERC students volunteer their time once a week in classrooms that are a part of established after school programs. We have a well structured curriculum that includes about 20 weeks of lessons, followed by a 6 week small group project. This year will be the second time we teach the water curriculum. We visit the classrooms with groups of 3-6 volunteers, so each SEED mentor can work with a small group of young students, supervising an engaging activity related to a specific learning objective. We currently work at La Escuelita and Horace Mann Elementary Schools in Oakland with 4-5th graders.

The second component of SEED is our pilot High School Program. We will visit Berkeley High School 7 times each semester and each SEED mentor will work with a group of high school sophomores, guiding them to produce a video on an energy topic.

From an email sent by Danny Hellebusch ( on 2012.01.09:

Hey everyone, below is a great teaching outreach program. Contact Maria if interested:

SEED (BERC's K-12 education outreach) needs some good teachers!

Teaching is an awesome experience, the kids are great, and our updated water curriculum is AMAZING-it should be a lot of fun. You'll work with a small group of students, so you get a chance to make sure each student is involved and learning. No experience is necessary. There will be short training sessions before you start, and there will be experienced SEED teachers in your classroom to guide you.

SEED is recruiting 2-3 new teachers for our after school program.

The after school program commitment is once weekly; your schedule needs to be open for a few hours in the late afternoon. You can choose to visit a classroom on every Wednesday or every Friday during the spring semester.

You need to commit to attending all sessions for one semester to join.

Read more about the SEED program on the official site.

Girls Science Institute[edit]

Girls Science Institute is one of a number of summer day camps run by the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The camps are one week long and focused on science and engineering topics. They need female engineers to volunteer for one or more full days during the summer. As a volunteer, you introduce yourself and your engineering interest to the group of girls (ages 10-12), and then interact with them during the rest of the day's activities, which typically include design and construction of an engineering project. You get some money for lunch and once completed, one free pass to the Exploratorium. It's a great opportunity to share your passion for engineering and hang around the Exploratorium. The program leaders are also very excellent and very nice!

Around March or April of the year, you can reach out about signing up for a spot during the summer.

If you are a female engineer who is interested in sharing your love for your work with young girls and helping to encourage the next generation of female engineers, please contact Renny Talianchich at rtalianchich at with the following information: where you work, the type(s) of engineer you feel comfortable with, the day(s) you are available to volunteer, how many days you would like to volunteer.

Read more about the Girls Science Institute on the official site.


Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: