December, 2013 through May, 2014 marks the ninth year that CSV’s NetPals program has partnered seventh graders with scientists from several local corporations. CSV welcomes returning companies – the Charles Stark Draper Lab, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, and Massachusetts BioEd Foundation – along with newcomer the Broad Institute. Thank you for serving as science mentors to 75 students, every seventh grader in the Cambridge Street Upper School (CSUS). The upcoming semester is already off to a great start!
To launch the program, the four corporations each sent representatives in December to speak in one CSUS science class, under the watchful eye of seventh grade science teacher, Pam Shwartz. Each volunteer speaker gave a media presentation outlining the company’s science or engineering expertise. Over the coming months, students will delve more deeply into their NetPals’ real-life science and engineering work and learn first-hand about the intersection of science and medicine in the treatment of disease; the process of clinical trials in the discovery of new cancer drugs; and the links between healthcare, energy, space exploration and security.
The NetPals program depends on bi-weekly e-mail communication between each student and his or her science mentor. E-mails concentrate on questions of science, technology and career choices, in addition to autobiographical information that gets exchanged during the first communications. New this year is a 7th grade curriculum that emphasizes matter, cycles and energy. NetPal partners will be able to share many of these targeted systems during their e-mail exchanges.
CSV thanks its corporate partners for their continued dedication and involvement with Cambridge’s middle school students. We look forward in January to having the students make field trips to each of the four corporations for both lunch and a tour of the facility. Later in March, scientists will attend a Science EXPO breakfast at the CSUS for students to share their science projects. A final farewell luncheon will take place in May, again at each corporate work site. Thank you volunteers for building in such quality time and involvement with our students!