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For Scientists to Engage With RockEDU

Scientists who volunteer with us develop teaching and group management skills applicable to K-12 and college level education as well as a deeper understanding of the broader impact of their work.


The RockEDU team is revamping our programming to better align with the communicated needs of our scientific community while also ensuring that we meet best practices for inclusive science engagement. Basically, we love working with all of you, so we created more entry points for the development of inclusive engagement (+related) skills for campus.

Simultaneously, we are continuing to adjust our pandemic programming to adjust to current and near-future circumstances — check out both virtual and planned-in-person engagement opportunities below!

RockEDU Fellows 2024

Audience: High School Students (16+ yo) who are in their Junior or Senior year when applying

Commitment Level: This is a large effort, recognized with a stipend, leadership opportunity, and online content authorship. Jumpstart Fellows will dedicate substantial time during the program running February 29 through June 13, on Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-7:00pm. SSRP Fellows will dedicate substantial time during the summer program while students are present daily June 24 – Aug 8, 2024.

Description: The RockEDU Fellows program represents a dedicated & structured initiative for scientists to develop mentorship and teaching skills through a consistent series of workshops, discussions, and direct mentoring experience. This is designed to guide scientists along a theory-to-practice path culminating in leading a research track team of scientist mentors and students through the process of science in summer 2024 and disseminating successful elements of this work on RockEDU Online.

Expectations: RockEDU will provide the training, tools, and community resources for each RockEDU Fellow to: (a) develop a set of tailored mentorship skills that consider both their personal approach and best practices in cultural responsiveness; (b) develop educational structures and supports suitable for diverse, advanced high school students, including the design of a research based course or track; (c) disseminate program & project design (via creative commons licensing) on RockEDU Online.

To Apply: Ideal RockEDU Fellows approach new things with a growth mindset, value mentorship and training our next generation of STEM-loving youth through a social justice lens, and are organized enough to manage their fellowship obligations alongside required laboratory efforts.

All applicants should be prepared to answer the following prompt in your application: As a RockEDU Fellow, you will receive training and support in developing high-quality mentorship skills through a lens of social justice. Why is this important to you and what is something specific you hope to learn through the experience of being a Fellow?

In addition, there are specific considerations and prompts for Jumpstart and SSRP Fellow applicants:

  • Ideal Jumpstart Fellows are interested in developing a discussion-based course for NYC students from under-resourced communities. Be prepared to answer the following prompt in your application: As Jumpstart Fellow, we are looking for two scientists who can engage a group of 16 NYC students from underserved backgrounds in the process of science through laboratory skill building, data analysis, and the process of asking good scientific questions using the resources of the RockEDU lab, computer lab, and/or utilizing other Rockefeller spaces accessible to a group of 16 students. RockEDU will provide assistance to translate your ideas into a practical project. Please describe the scientific topic you are interested in developing and what experience you have in this area to guide your work.
  • Ideal SSRP Fellows are interested in adapting an area of their research or a scientific interest in a way that high school students can partake in using minimal or readily available resources at Rockefeller. Examples from summer 2020 and summer 2021 tracks and student posters give ideas for the types of projects that were successful remotely and could continue to be successful in the continuation of this model in person. Be prepared to answer the following prompt in your application: As an SSRP Fellow, we are looking for scientists with creative ideas for translating an area of science (could be related to your lab work or a personal interest) into a research project theme that students can do semi-independently in the RockEDU lab, on computer, and/or utilizing other Rockefeller spaces accessible to a group of ~8 students. RockEDU will provide assistance to translate your ideas into a practical project. Please describe the scientific topic you are interested in developing and what experience you have in this area to guide your work.

RockEDU Fellows is only available to current Rockefeller employees or students, with Lab Head/Supervisor approval.

RockEDU BIOME (view flyer)

Audience: Rockefeller scientific community + broader Tri-I community

Commitment Level: This is a small, ongoing effort. BIOME has multiple entry points that differ in commitment degree and kind. By allowing these tiers of involvement, we believe that this community can fulfill the professional and personal goals of our participants in the most authentic and sustainable way.

Description:  RockEDU: BIOME (Building Interactive Opportunities for Mentorship Education) is a virtual Slack community that is designed to facilitate connection and collaboration among members of the scientific community at Tri-I around the theme of mentorship. 

Expectations: Participants are invited to engage with the BIOME community in different ways depending on their determined goals and commitment level. While some individuals may take a more active role in shaping the future of BIOME or creating content others may prefer to absorb reading materials and attend guest lectures. In respect to commitment levels, there are no formalized expectations. However, within our slack space, we do require that individuals regularly indicate their continued interest in being a community member by filling out our quarterly survey. More information on this will be shared via Slack. Additionally, we adhere to a strict code of conduct for all participants operating within our spaces. This information, along with our welcome guide, is shared with all participants upon entry into our Slack workspace.

Join our community: In order to join our Slack workspace, fill out our brief interest form, and we’ll email you the link! We also invite individuals to subscribe to our newsletter for monthly reminders and updates.

(several RockEDU volunteer opportunities are on hold during the changing pandemic response)

LAB Backstage

Audience: Middle and High School students

Commitment Level: This is a small effort. Most sessions will be 30 minutes to 1 hour. In addition to your time talking with your class of choice, you will receive some preparatory training in advance and will be asked to take a feedback survey afterward. Total time estimated to be 2-4 hours for your first session. You can participate one time or many, and sign-ups for teachers and the scientific community will continue on a rolling basis throughout the school year.

Description: LAB Backstage aims to give high school students and teachers a “backstage” pass to the scientific enterprise, with a focus on science as a human endeavor.

Expectations: Members of the scientific community will connect with a teacher and their class over zoom for a ~1 hour conversation about a scientific topic. Topics will be tailored to both the presenter’s interest and capacity, and could include a laboratory tour, equipment or program demonstration, or general application of a scientific technique. Presenters will be required to rehearse their general message with members of the RockEDU team in advance of their scheduled session, which will vary based on teacher requests. In return, RockEDU is expected to provide guidance and feedback for successful engagement with their eager audience.
Participation as a LAB Backstage volunteer is an excellent entry point to gaining teaching experience and improving your science communication skills.

To Sign Up: Browse our teacher sign-ups and sign up for one (or more) requests where the date, time, and topic are a good match for you.

Audience: Middle and High School Classes from NYC Schools

Duration: Full day (10am – 2:30pm)

Frequency: Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during school year

Commitment Level: We have several volunteer options to accommodate busy schedules. Scientists can work with us during the morning or during the afternoon, or if they can – the full day.

Description: Full-day, out of school field trips designed to engage middle and high school science students and their teachers in ongoing research in a way that is hands-on and relevant to themselves and their communities. Get to know students living in our local community. LAB Experiences are designed to engage middle and high school science students and teachers in ongoing research at The Rockefeller University. As a LAB Experience volunteer you will act as a teacher and mentor. Engage with a broader representation of our local community–the people we are doing science for.

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RockEDU Science Outreach
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue, Box 53
New York, NY 10065-6399

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