Claremont Colleges student organization Science Bus has received a $3,000 grant from the office of Los Angeles County First District Supervisor Hilda Solis for the upcoming year. The funds will help Science Bus with a variety of costs, including transportation and supplies.
Comprised of more than 60 students from the undergraduate Claremont Colleges, Science Bus is a student-run volunteer organization that teaches weekly, hands-on science lessons to fourth- and fifth-grade students at local elementary schools, with topics ranging from electrical circuits to archaeology. Volunteers teach in 15–20 classrooms at five different schools, reaching more than 600 students weekly. The club writes and tests its own lessons to supplement students’ in-class curriculum and purchases its own materials.
Engineering major and Science Bus President Austin Shin ’18 says club members are excited to receive the grant, which will go toward funding materials based on the students’ lesson plans.
“In the past, we’ve taught lessons about kinetic and potential energy, electricity, viscosity and so much more,” says Shin. “Most of the materials we buy are fairly cheap, such as styrofoam tubing, popsicle sticks and wooden spools. But of course, we need a large number of them, so after a number of lessons, it does chip in to the funds.” At the club’s annual event Science Day, Pomona Unified School District students are invited to the Harvey Mudd campus for exciting lessons and demonstrations from Harvey Mudd students and faculty, which requires additional materials as well as transportation costs.
Outgoing club president and engineering major Paige Rinnert ’17 says the club heard about the grant through former Associate Director for Community Engagement Brian Gray (now at Columbia University), who encouraged them to apply.
“This extra money will allow us to purchase more materials, like lab coats, provide transportation for the kids on Science Day and hold more volunteer appreciation events for the student-teachers,” she says.