First image: Gabbriella (student) and Thanh Truong; Second image: Kelsi Radzikinas and Lianora (student).
In the large, sun-filled atrium of Novartis in Central Square, 18 seventh graders from the Cambridgeport School joined their 18 Novartis NetPals on January 25 for lunch and conversation. Every seventh grader at the Cambridgeport School gets a Novartis scientist as a NetPal to support them in learning about the scientific method. The luncheon was their first face-to-face meeting since beginning the new semester’s NetPal program.
The program focuses on a Science EXPO project that students design, with assistance via e-mail and in-person communication from their Novartis NetPal friend. Students and partners have four face-to-face visits, culminating in a breakfast at the school, where students showcase their EXPO project to NetPals and parents.
For students, it is probably the first time they get to design a science experiment, develop a hypothesis and procedure for testing the hypothesis, do the testing and describe the results. For the NetPal mentors, it is a wonderful opportunity to share their science knowledge and give helpful suggestions during the process. Plus, students get to meet and work with a real scientist, visit a large biotech company up-close and consider possible career choices. This particular NetPal program has been in existence for seven years under the management of Cambridge School Volunteers.
NetPals and its sister program, KeyPals, are rites of passage at several Cambridge middle schools. Cambridge School Volunteers will work to preserve these corporate partnerships next year as upper school grades move to new locations and expand.
First image: John Sullivan and Akhari (student); Second image: Erhan Altinoglu and Jonathan (student).