What amazing energy and excitement there was in the Link Science Lab recently, when a group of 7th grade students presented the science projects they worked on for 16 weeks in a special class, under the mentorship of scientists from Novartis in East Hanover! Students were selected for the class – the Novartis Science Mentoring Program – based on their interest and aptitude in science. Over the course of the program, students researched a topic of interest that had application to every day life. Using the “scientific method,” they developed their projects. Some were research based and some were experimental. They created presentations, and the competition for one of the top three prizes began!
As the students worked on their projects, they emailed at least once a week, and often more, with volunteers from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, who provided knowledge, advice and encouragement to the younger scientists-in-the-making. They helped students refine their ideas about their projects and gave them pointers on how best to present their findings.
Mentors and parents were invited to a final event – a celebration of all participants’ accomplishments and the announcement of the competition, judged by three Link science teachers.
The goals of this program were to enrich the educational experience of Link students by providing them with one-on-one mentoring, to expose students to science beyond the regular school curriculum, and to inspire them to consider education and careers in science and science related fields.
Here are a few student reflections about the mentoring part of the program:
• ” Ms. DiNatale guided me in thinking through the kind of project…to do.”
• “My mentor, Farahn Hossain guided me by helping me decide on my project. I told her how picky I am and how much I change my mind. So being the good person she is, she gave me the pros and cons for each topic…and then I chose.”
• “My mentor, Ms. Katie Picone, helped through this…she gave me a lot of positivity and kept on pushing me to keep on going.”
• “My mentor, Doris Lo, inspired me because she does what I want to do when I get older. She gave me the advice to think about what I love doing the most and think of how you feel while doing it. She also corrected some errors in the science part of my project.”
And about the science learning that took place:
• “From this program I learned different scientific methods to figure out different things. I learned from my project, and also my classmates’ projects, about how science is all around us…the key to life…made me think outside the box.”
• “Every project taught me something about life.”
• “This program taught me that to accomplish anything, you need will and determination. Meet your own expectations and then you will reach the top.”
• “…a great experience researching a topic I really enjoyed.”
• “Presenting my topic gave me confidence in myself that I can achieve anything when I put my mind to it.”
• “How to think and plan something, and put it into action.”