The Science Explorers program works on the front lines of science education.

Our mission is to make a tangible difference in the lives of underserved Chicago Public School high school students. By building authentic mentoring relationships focused around science education, we hope to put students on a path to academic success and teach them the skills they need to succeed in science class and beyond.


Freshmen science classes are tough. New 9th grade students in Chicago often struggle to adapt to the rigors and intensity of high school science classes. As a result, academic performance starts to decline…quickly. Freshmen Biology is one of the most failed classes in Chicago Public Schools. Recent studies have shown just one or two failures in the freshmen year is enough to put students at risk for not graduating (Rosenkranz, YEAR).

Science Explorers was designed to help promising Chicago Public School students succeed in their freshman biology classes and acquire the skills needed to flourish in high school. Started in 2015, the Science Explorers program is a collaboration between Mather High School (Chicago Public Schools) and Science in Society (Northwestern University). The program is funded by a grant from the AT&T Foundation.

Program Details

Full-Time Employment

Mentoring and Tutoring Students

Science Explorers Fellows tutor small groups of students twice a week throughout the academic school year. Tutoring sessions meet during the school day and cover a range of topics, including biology, academic skills, and goal setting. Fellows will follow the Science Explorers lesson plans but are empowered to adapt the sessions for the needs and interests of the students in each group.

Training and Support for Fellows

Science in Society and Mather High School staff provide training for the Science Explorers Fellows. All fellows will participate in a one-week orientation in the summer and then weekly professional development meetings during the school year. Onsite support is also provided, so Fellows have the resources they need to best serve the students.

Science Explorers Fellows will be employed full time by Northwestern University and will work at Mather High School five days a week. These 10-month positions provide recent college graduate students an opportunity to explore urban education and science teaching. Fellows will be paid a stipend of $18,750 and are eligible for Northwestern University health benefits.


Research and Evaluation

Science Explorers is an educational research project. Fellows will have the opportunity to both participate in the research and learn more about effective program evaluation.