In the 2014-15 school year, “Be A Scientist” began as a 3-year pilot project in Berkeley middle schools. Be A Scientist was developed by Mary Wildermuth, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley. Mary wanted to bring UC research scientists into 7th grade classrooms for hands-on science education and mentorship.
Community Resources for Science coordinates the program, which has brought more than 300 UC scientists into Berkeley’s middle schools over the past 3 years. Be A Scientist has served as a vehicle for early implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and is a model for collaboration between Berkeley public schools and UC Berkeley.
The Berkeley Public Schools Fund paid for the development of the Be A Scientist program and is funding the 3-year pilot with support from Bayer and UC Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund grants. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, BUSD will add their support, ensuring that Berkeley’s 7th graders are inspired to “Be A Scientist” for years to come.