EnvironMentors is a science education and national college access program with a mission to mentor and motivate high school students from communities underrepresented in the sciences as they plan and conduct environmental research and acquire skills that will allow them to build careers and become more active stewards of their communities and the environment.EnvironMentors is a program of the Global Council for Science and the Environment. EnvironMentors chapters are located around the country and are hosted through partnerships with universities and educational based nonprofit organizations. Chatham University hosts an EnvironMentors chapter, and currently runs programs in two Pittsburgh schools: PPS Westinghouse Academy 6-12 and Environmental Charter High School.
Environmental, natural resource, and science professionals, faculty, and college students volunteer as mentors to high school students. Mentors not only support students in conducting rigorous research projects, but also serve as important role models, motivating students to pursue college degrees and careers in environmental and natural resource fields. As much as possible, we strive to match student and mentor identities (especially race).
With the support of their mentor, students design and conduct a project based on an environmental topic of their choice. Depending on program constraints and goals, some years these projects are experimental research projects, and other years they are more open-ended community action projects, which can be based in the arts, education, or any area of student interest. Through the process, students develop critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills vital to their success in college and future careers.
Throughout the EnvironMentors program year, students have multiple opportunities to engage in local environmental justice work through field trips, including urban gardening, vacant lot and habitat restoration, and air/water quality sampling.
EnvironMentors provides students with a range of college preparation activities, including exposure to a college campus, labs, and library; assistance with college applications and financial aid; and an introduction to sustainability, environmental science and social justice degree programs.
National Science Fair
(Currently on hold due to the pandemic.) Each summer, GCSE hosts the EnvironMentors National Science Fair and Awards Ceremony. Up to three students from each EnvironMentors chapters travel to Washington, D.C., to present their research and compete for college scholarships. The National Fair is an opportunity for students to learn more about our nation's capital, to meet fellow EnvironMentors students, and learn the role science plays in environmental decision-making.
Poems on Pittsburgh's Air by Sean Russell, Westinghouse Academy
EnvironMentors Student Testimonial
I was actually learning so much. I learned a lot about people in my own community. [...] I was able to network so much. [...] It opened my eyes. [...] I would recommend this group to anyone.
Interested in becoming an EnvironMentors site in Western PA? Contact EnvironMentors Chapter Director, Kelly Henderson at email@example.com or 412-365-2416.