The new 1,000 Scientists in 1,000 Days programs hopes to make connecting scientists with schools a lot simpler.
It's not easy for a teacher to randomly call up the biology department at the local college and ask, "Do you have someone who can come talk to my students about how viruses attack cells?" Likewise, scientists interested in working with students and helping support academic instruction in the classroom don't always know which schools really want their help. Thankfully, Scientific American is about to make connecting scientists and schools a whole lot easier thanks to their new 1,000 Scientists in 1,000 Days program. They're recruiting "scientists who are willing to volunteer to advise on curricula, answer a classroom's questions, or visit a school—for instance, to do a lab or to talk about what you do."
Making the connection is essential given that "the U.S. ranks 27 out of 29 wealthy countries in proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering." With dismal stats like those it's no wonder the Obama Administration is concerned about our global competitiveness and is working to get more students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. Along with putting real-life applications of those subject in front of kids, getting real-life scientist role models into classrooms is absolutely necessary.
Interested scientists can head to the Scientific American site to add their name to the list of participants. The program hopes to have a directory of scientists available for teachers by the start of the 2011-2012 school year this fall.