Ah, to be a STEM student! It's a universal experience to feel the frustration of wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) for a science lab that peaks at utilizing a double boiler. Might I add, water and *gasp* sugar will have to be dissolved—time to break out the laboratory goggles!
All jokes aside, the procedures you practice in rather mundane labs will set you up for future success as a STEM professional. Though it may seem like you are stirring Kool-Aid right now, you’re actually preparing for a very difficult titration lab that awaits you when the time is appropriate. Until then, let the hot plate get up to temperature and check out these five great volunteer opportunities you can take advantage of right now to excel as a STEM student and get more experience in the field!
1. Your public library
I will always stand by local libraries because they are hidden gems with resources galore. Many libraries post about events and opportunities either on social media or within the building, including volunteer positions that need to be filled. Just the other day, I saw an ad seeking volunteers to act as patients for Nursing students to practice good bedside manners and take vitals. Even if your library doesn't have a directory of opportunities, you can always ask the staff to help you refine and tailor your searches to find the perfect experience for you.
2. Roswell Park Summer Cancer Research Experience Program
The High School Summer Research Experience at Roswell Park is a prestigious program that lets high school juniors work with experts on an independent research project. Though it might be a shot in the dark—just apply. As a high school student, it may feel like gaining research experience is critical to your college applications or solidifying your devotion to the field. But I am here to tell you to take it slow. Have an open mind and focus on developing a clear sense of what you enjoy. Still, filling out applications for summer programs like this one can be very beneficial, oddly enough. Not only are you thinking about why you may want an experience like this, but you can also recycle the application prompt responses or phrases for similar programs (or the Common App!).
3. RoundPier Medical Competition
As a student, wouldn’t you want to be compensated and recognized nationally for your hard work? Well, look no further than the RoundPier Medical Competition! This program is virtual and accepts applicants from around the world. All you have to do is register your school's STEM club and create a presentation discussing a specific health-related topic with your team's resolution to the cause. You have the chance to win a cash prize for the top three winners and have their project featured on RoundPier’s media platforms. Being involved in any STEM competition can be a significant experience to bulk up your résumé and even pave the way for future opportunities.
4. The Wishing Crane Project
The Wishing Crane Project may sound familiar if your TikTok “for you page” has recently been infiltrated by Studytok like mine has (no complaints here!). It's a great nonprofit organization that creates uplifting art for hospice and hospital patients. It’s also a quick and easy way to earn service hours from home and hopefully build a relationship with your nearest hospital. Get started by volunteering on your own or involving your school to create a local chapter. The initiative also makes for a fun pastime with friends to unwind over some paper cranes and cute stationery!
5. Girls in Med
Another gem all thanks to social media: Girls in Med! This media-based platform is a student-led organization created by a team of bright young women interested in teaching and supporting fellow girls in STEM. The organization offers free tutoring services in several subjects and is currently looking for individuals to fulfill leadership positions. The best part is that it’s an all-virtual volunteer endeavor! You can collect service hours from the comfort of your own home all while furthering your own knowledge.
There you have it—five great opportunities for STEM students to get involved in the field! Finding volunteer projects or simply knowing where to begin can be tough enough without all the competition. So please remember to be kind and uplift your classmates by sharing any resources you find. Extend invitations to club members and share meaningful initiatives with your school administration. After all, what good comes out of your service if you’re not involving as many people as possible? Start brainstorming, emailing, and drafting applications—I wish you all the luck in your STEM endeavors!
Looking for a great school to pursue a STEM major? Check out our lists of featured science colleges and start connecting!