Centralised means to help NU graduate students and post-docs identify outreach opportunities and encourage them to inspire the younger generation towards STEM! 

CHANSE     •     Eths-nu biology program      •     Get-a-grip      •     Graduate student speaker series     •     junior science club     •     Mentor Matching Engine      •     Mentorship opportunity for research engagement       •     NU Brain Awareness outreach     •     phi lambda upsilon      •     playing with science     •     Promoting Inner-city youth science and medicine    •     RSg research communication program       •     science club     •     y.o.u. science club


Effective communication of science and engineering concepts to the public is a critical skill for any scientist or engineer.  As an MRSEC outreach associate, you will develop and practice these skills.  Outreach Associates receive training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education techniques, including both inquiry- and design-based methods, and will put those techniques to use as they work with the MRSEC Educational Director to organize and lead an after-school science club at Chute Middle School on Tuesday afternoons during the academic year.  Other Outreach opportunities on a one-time basis also occur.

Contact: Aleta Hagman at


ETHS-NU Biology Program

The ETHS-NU Biology Program brings authentic, biotechnology techniques and youth mentoring to the Biology with Support class at Evanston Township High School. Once a month during the academic year, Northwestern scientist volunteers visit the classroom to work with small groups of high school students on advanced science experiments that extend and enrich their classroom learning. Additionally, the students visit the Northwestern campus to tour research labs and learn about science in the real world.

Contact Rebecca Daugherty at



Get-A-Grip is a project-based program that challenges middle school students to design and construct a prosthetic arm for a fictional Afghan girl that lost her arm in a landmine explosion. Under the supervision of Northwestern graduate students, the middle school students use household materials to build arms that accomplish tasks requiring fine motor control and strength. A critical component of the program is its ability to demonstrate to middle school students that strong, interdisciplinary knowledge is required to solve engineering problems. Each week, the course begins with one of the graduate student volunteers discussing a relevant basic engineering topic and how it pertains to the construction of their prosthetic arm. In the final week, the student groups test their prosthetic arms on tasks that would be useful to the fictional Afghan girl, and are graded by the other groups in the program.

Contact John Spanias at & Matthew Perich at


graduate student speaker series

GS3 has two aims: to provide Northwestern Ph.D. candidates with an avenue for practicing their skills in communicating their research to a non-expert audience, and to help local high school STEM teachers stay up-to-date on the cutting-edge research being conducted at Northwestern. The program organizes visits from graduate students to local schools to talk about their research with small groups of teachers.

Contact Michelle Paulsen at


Junior Science club

Junior Science Club is an introductory science program for the youngest members of the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club in the Uptown neighborhood. Once a week, these K-5 kids have a chance to play with science and build their curiosity. This program emphasizes foundational science skills and hands-on experimentation.

Contact Rebecca Daugherty at


Mentor Matching Engine

The Mentor Matching Engine (MME) is an invitation-based web platform that connects Illinois high school students and their teachers to STEM professionals who serve as online mentors.

Mentors leverage their expertise and professional experience to guide students through student-led research. MME facilitates mentor engagement and collaboration through strategic matching, forum-style chatting, videoconferencing and document sharing. MME mentors have expertise in a variety of fields and disciplines allowing students to explore an extensive selection of research interests and to seek mentors in many areas of study. 

By connecting mentors and students electronically, MME is able to offer high-quality mentoring experiences and overcome geographic barriers. The platform prioritizes student safety by completing background checks for mentors and placing teachers at the center of the student-mentor relationship. /

Contact Emily Cooper, Program Manager, R&D STEM Learning Exchange at / 312-239-0325


Mentorship opportunity for research engagement 

The Northwestern University Mentorship Opportunities for Research Engagement exists to provide graduate students and post-docs opportunities to mentor high school students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This organization grew out of a partnership with Niles West High School where students participate in high level STEM research under the mentorship of NU graduate students. We aim to expand our connections with local high schools to engage students in real science. 

Contact us at

NU Brain Awareness Outreach

Northwestern University Brain Awareness Outreach (NUBAO) is a graduate student-led public outreach initiative dedicated to educating, exciting, and inspiring the Chicago community about neuroscience. Founded in 2010 as part of the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience PhD Program (NUIN), NUBAO consists of a diverse group of mostly graduate students, in addition to several undergraduate students, post-doctorate fellows, and research staff from a variety scientific disciplines at Northwestern University. Through collaborations with public schools and science education programs in the Chicago area, NUBAO organizes a number of hands-on lectures, workshops, and open house-style events each year in an effort to teach a variety of neuroscience topics to students of all ages. (we also have a Twitter account: @nubrainoutreach)

Contact us at


Phi lambda upsilon

Phi Lambda Upsilon (PLU) is dedicated to promoting an enjoyable and broader learning experience for chemistry graduate students at Northwestern University. We enhance our member’s ability to become active in the department and the greater chemical community by providing volunteer opportunities and holding monthly socials as well as an annual career panel. In particular, we run the Science in the Classroom (SITC) program where graduate students lead science lessons and hands-on demos for 3rd and 4th grade classes at Hayt Elementary School in Chicago. The chapter also sponsors the annual Marple-Schweitzer Lecture, where we recognize graduate-level excellence in research, teaching, and activism through a series of awards. Additionally, we encourage conference travel by offering a series of travel grants.

Contact  for general questions, while for SITC/Outreach related questions contact

Playing with science

Jugando con la Ciencia (Playing with Science) is an after-school Club conducted in Spanish at the Washington Elementary School every other Thursday for 3rd and 4th graders. We teach science through hands-on activities and seek to strengthen critical thinking, trust, respect, self-esteem and cooperation. Although Spanish fluency is not required, it is a great opportunity practice it and also to teach and learn from kids.

Contact us at

Promoting inner-city youth science and medicine 

PRomoting Inner-City Youth in Science and Medicine (PRISM) looks to encourage inner-city youth to explore science and medicine career opportunities through mentor-guided, interactive educational opportunities and activities.

Started by Northwestern University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) students, and maintained through our collaboration with the Northwestern University Science Club and the Robert R. McCormick Boys & Girls Club, the PRISM curriculum is structured around the clinical case. The students interview “patients” with a specific disease and then conduct hands-on activities and experiments to better understand disease development.

Contact C. Paula de los Angeles at & Danny Fisher at

Rsg research communication program 

Great research does not speak for itself. RSG is a research communication training program offered free of charge to Northwestern graduate students and post-docs. It is a 10-week workshop series that occurs each summer, and will be expanding to other terms as well. Students work with experts from theatre, journalism, education, marketing, strategic communications and design. At the end of the summer they create web videos or present their research at the final symposium, “Seven Minutes of Science”.

Contact us at


Science club

Science Club is an afterschool program for middle school students developed in collaboration between Northwestern, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools. Each week throughout the academic year, small groups of youth work with Northwestern scientist mentors on hands-on investigations and experiments. Through this long-term mentoring approach, this program aims to teach kids scientific habits of mind and give them the skills to tackle real world challenges.

Contact Rosie Roche at


Y.O.U. Science Club

A pilot program with Youth Organization Umbrella (Y.O.U.), the Y.O.U. Science Club brings the successful Science Club model to Evanston. This program draws on the long-term mentoring approach to teach underrepresented kids (grades 3-8) about authentic science.

Contact Rebecca Daugherty at