College Administrator
Are you looking to develop or enhance the service learning opportunities you offer to your student body?

Are your faculty members interested in engaging their students as mentors to young people in local, underserved communities?

If so, you many be interested in Science Firsthand: Partners in Discovery.
Science Firsthand: Partners in Discovery (SF) is an after-school mentoring program for children ranging in age from 10 to 15.

SF brings together supportive adults with inner-city youth to investigate science topics of mutual interest. Mentors work collaboratively with one or several mentees at local community-based organizations (CBOs) that are equipped with simple tools and materials to support exploration and experimentation. The goal is to build enjoyment in science, to develop skills, and to gain confidence in one’s own abilities.

College students have proven to be effective mentors, and many have found the experience to be of value, both personally and academically. In fact, being a mentor has been shown to positively impact college students’ academic performance.

Do you wish to learn more about how you can incorporate Science Firsthand as a service learning opportunity at your institution? Contact us directly, respond to a short survey so that we can learn about your interests and needs, or click on one of the following links to learn more about the program:


What is a science mentor?


How can a college professor participate?


Examine the Science Firsthand Implementation Manual.


Examine the Science Firsthand Manual for College Mentors.


Voices from the Field

From an administrative perspective, there is a natural "fit" between the educational mission of the college and SFH's mission. Beyond the alignment between what both organizations want to accomplish, opportunities to involve college students in SFH programming has a double benefit: they provide powerful learning experiences for our students and they allow the college to fuflill it institutional responsibilities to the community in which its students live and learn. An added benefit, from Medaille's experience, is that SFH youth associate Medaille with an early experience on a college campus.
College Administrator

It’s great for the kids to have college students as mentors. Our kids have begun to think about their own futures. A big factor in this neighborhood is the drug trade. It’s easy money. Why work for minimum wage? The college students represent other options.
After-school Program Coordinator


I realized how much I love working with kids. I now want to change my major so I can.

College Mentor


At Canisius College, …as a faculty member of The College of Arts and Sciences, I initiated a service-learning project in a freshman course. One goal of the …Human Anatomy and Physiology course was to promote deeper understanding, empathy, and action in undergraduate students towards working with children in urban schools. In order to promote this goal, a twenty-hour service-learning requirement was added to the course. For twenty hours, students in the course worked in multicultural urban community centers mentoring middle school students. Students shared new conceptual understanding they learned in the course with middle school students. Overall, the students, who mostly came from suburban environments, felt the experience was rewarding. Many students came to realize that their preconceptions about urban communities were inaccurate. Also, students became aware of the many basic needs of children in urban settings and how these needs affected student learning.
College Professor