Volunteer or mentoring opportunities for science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics?

slide ruleElizabeth emails:

Are there any local organizations that need volunteers to mentor or tutor K-12 students interested in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics? I am interested in volunteering, but having trouble finding a reputable organization where I can have an impact. I am especially interested volunteering for an organization that encourages high school aged girls to pursue a degree in a STEM related field. And while I've got your attention, are there other organizations (any type) you would recommend volunteering for?

Sometimes having someone there to lend a hand now and then, and tell you "I did this and you can, too" can be a powerful thing.

So, got a suggestion for Elizabeth? Please share!

photo: Flickr user s58y (cc)


I just finished a 6 year match as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sister Capital Region (she graduated from Watervliet High in June and is starting at HVCC in the fall hoping to eventually go into pharmacy or something health-science related!). While I would encourage you to check out volunteering with the organization as a Big Sister (it is really not a huge time commitment and you learn a lot about yourself) they might know of "Littles" who need tutors (often times the parents cannot afford to hire tutors so I'm sure they would love a volunteer tutor). I also think that Big Brothers Big Sisters has an in-school after school program (but I cannot really remember). Additionally your local Boys and Girls Club would probably be a good place to start.

Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region has a major focus on STEM education.


How to volunteer:

Another suggestion: the New York State Museum has an after school Museum Club that includes volunteers and interns tutoring kids from the surrounding neighborhood. You could incorporate the science exhibits (biology, geology, archeology) into STEM tutoring.

I second Girls Inc. great group. Also, Junior Acheivement.

If you have any experience or interest in Wind Energy, I am part of a group called Women Of Wind Energy. We do volunteer about every other month for educational events for a wide range of ages. Usually 3-5 hour commitment, sometimes during the day, sometimes on the weekends. If interested, search for Women of Wind Energy online, and then go to the Chapter search and you'll find our email contact. :-)

I would suggest you reach out to Questar's New Visions program, which has STEM and other programs that frequently rely on experienced professionals for their instructions and labs. One of my daughters went through the STEM program, the other will be in the Scientific Research and World Health program this year. They're an amazing introduction for high school seniors:


Consider coaching a Mathcounts (middle school) or Science Olympiad team (high school). Both organizations have websites where you can be put in touch with local coordinators. I was involved with both as a student and still remember talking with my coaches about their jobs at GE. It helped me realized that I wanted a career in STEM.

I was in touch with MISci for a while about volunteering there, but it didn't work out. They may have new opportunities now.

I also second Junior Achievement! While it is not necessarily STEM oriented it is still a great organization. I love the 7 class program which allows me to volunteer for 2-4 weeks without having to make an extended year long commitment.

DIGI GIRLZ, run by microsoft. Goes into high schools to encourage girls to enter the STEM fields and hosts events for them. I know there is a local effort as a family member of mine is deeply involved in this.

I strongly recommend looking into a FIRST robotics program (either FIRST Robotics Competition for high school-aged students or FIRST Lego League for younger children). There are several FRC groups in the Albany area, and they are always looking for support. The FRC team I was on during high school definitely turned me on to an engineering career.

Click on "Teams" here: http://www.usfirst.org/whats-going-on

Try volunteering at the Boys and Girl Club in Troy.


As far as other organizations, Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County needs people interested in helping others improve their literacy skills. http://www.lvorc.org/

If you live in Rensselaer County, the Junior League of Troy is a nonprofit that is focusing on improving childhood literacy. Visit our website at jltroy.org
Junior League of Albany - http://www.juniorleaguealbany.org/
Junior League of Schdy / Saratoga - http://www.jlschenectadysaratoga.org/

Hey there!
I saw this article and would like to tell you about the program I run in Albany. I work at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and we host the ACPHS Academy which is an after school program focusing on the STEM fields. Being a science based institution, we feel strongly that we can help mold the minds and interests of young children at an early age to get them thinking about pursuing a career in the STEM fields. We welcome students starting in the 3rd grade and hope to keep them through their senior year of high school. If any of them who have been in the program for the entire 10 years apply to our institution and are accepted, they have been promised a scholarship to attend! We have been running this program for about 7 years and this year we will have 6 classes (3rd - 8th graders)!

This program is always looking for volunteers to act as mentors to the students in our program! We would LOVE to have you join us! Please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail to learn more! rebecca.beach@acphs.edu!!!


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