Engaging all ages in science and engineering
The practice of blending basic and applied research, in combination with our educational focus, puts us in an ideal position to further a better understanding of the societal importance of science and technology and fosters connections that extend well beyond the ivory tower.
Our faculty, students, and staff are committed to participating in and improving the local community.
Contact: Kathryn Hollar, Ph.D.
Director of Educational Programs
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
K-12 Activities for Teachers
Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
Through our six-to-eight week joint Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, teachers are able to devote energy to educational and technical research as part of a scientific research community. Participants have the benefit of significant collaboration with the science education community within the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) programs, as well as the support of other RET participants.
The RET program is designed to build bridges between K12 education and research in nanoscale, bio, and materials science & engineering; involve educators in the research community; enhance the quality of pre-college education; and result in the production of classroom-tested instructional materials.
Teachers in three National Science Foundation-funded programs will work closely with faculty, staff, students, and each other to develop educational modules based on their exposure to research throughout the summer. While all teacher participants share common meeting and training activities, each funding source has a distinct focus.
K-12 Activities for Students
Cambridge 8th Grade Science & Engineering Showcase
400 students participate in a science and engineering fair on the Harvard campus.
Boston Area Girls STEM Collaborative
- Tech Savvy - for Middle School Girls
- SET in the City - for High School Girls
The goal of Project TEACH is to raise kids’ educational aspirations and get them excited about college. The plan to get there: Project TEACH (The Educational Activities for Cambridge-Harvard).
A collaboration between Cambridge Public Schools, Harvard College, and Harvard University’s Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs, Project TEACH aims to motivate more Cambridge youth to think about college by exposing them to the possibilities—and by better preparing them to enter that world.
Early outreach to students really makes a difference, which is why Project TEACH brings seventh-graders to Harvard for a special science class and demonstration, lunch in Annenberg Dining Hall with local college freshmen, a tour of campus, and a presentation on early college awareness and college preparation.
Project TEACH also provides a free homework hotline to Cambridge middle schoolers in the public schools, fielding hundreds of calls every year.
Boston STEP UP
In spring 2006, Mayor Thomas M. Menino challenged the presidents of Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University to join the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in their efforts to close the achievement gap. The universities responded by designing and launching Step UP, a partnership with BPS and the City of Boston that harnesses universities’ expertise, intellectual resources, and substantial experience in public education outreach to deliver targeted services to ten selected Boston schools.
Step UP recognizes that a child’s ability to learn can be affected by a variety of factors, both in the classroom and outside of school. To help improve student performance, Step UP provides comprehensive, coordinated services in response to needs identified by ten schools in Boston.
TEAMS/JETS flagship program, is an annual academic competition that gives students, in grades 9-12, the opportunity to discover the practical applications of math and science by solving some of today's greatest engineering challenges. More than 14,000 students compete every year in this fun and fast-paced competition that inspires creativity, teamwork, critical thinking and valuable insight into the world of engineering.
SEAS hosts the annual competition for nearby high schools in Boston and the surrounding area.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is a mechanism for integrating a broad spectrum of undergraduates into materials research, nanoscience and engineering.
Research opportunities are available for 50-70 students each summer. The 10 week program provides accepted participants with a stipend and housing on campus.
Funding is provided by NSEC, MRSEC, REU Site, Robobees, NNIN/CNS, Wyss Institute, Rowland Institute, and various faculty-based grants.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Activities
- Public communications internships at the Museum of Science, Boston.
Current Science & Technology Center (CS&T), a part of the Boston Museum of Science, works with Harvard researchers to develop educational talks and programs for the general public that cover the latest discoveries in small-scale science and engineering. CS&T's wide range of topics include: health sciences, genomics, immunology, the brain, behavior, biotechnology, Earth and space, matter and energy, nanotechnology, information technology, A.I., materials science, engineering, robotics, technology, and more.
Holiday Lecture Series
Since December, 2002, SEAS has held holiday lectures for families. Modeled on a famous set of presentations first given to children a century ago as part of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in London, the lectures highlight science in an engaging and fun forum geared for children aged 10 and up.
Experiments, audience participation, and highlights from current research bring science to the community in an event which is free and open to the public.
Cambridge Science Festival
The Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States, is a celebration showcasing fun and the leading edge in Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Math in our region. A multifaceted, multicultural event, the Cambridge Science Festival makes science accessible, interactive and fun, highlighting the impact of STEM in all our lives.
The Festival's collaborators – MIT, Harvard University, the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge Public Library, WGBH, and the Museum of Science – reach out to K-12 students, the general public, and the science community, to excite and ignite curiosity.
Talks, Lectures and Exhibits
Harvard University is proud to be an integral part of Greater Boston.
The vitality of our host communities, united with the academic and cultural power of Harvard, results in extraordinary, mutually beneficial relationships that enrich lives both at Harvard and in the community.