Are you a 5-8th grade STEM teacher in the US who wants to bring Letters to a Pre-Scientist into your classroom? We would love to hear from you!
Teacher recruitment for the 2023-24 school year is now closed. Please join our mailing list to learn more about the program and be notified when recruitment launches for next year (sometime in spring 2024).
Join LPS Now!
Are you a US 5-8th grade STEM teacher who wants to connect your students with real STEM professional mentors to help them see themselves in STEM?
Apply to host Letters to a Pre-Scientist during the 2023-24 school year now!
Hosting the pen pen program in your classroom is a serious, year-long commitment. Please read the information below carefully before applying.
Please note: You cannot save your answers and return to the application later. We recommend drafting your short answer responses outside the form then transferring your answers to this form when you are ready to submit. Find the application questions here.
- Broaden students’ awareness of the people who work in STEM (the diversity of their identities).
- Broaden students’ awareness of the scope of STEM careers and the many pathways to a STEM career (the locations, workplaces, fields of study, degrees, etc).
- Support students to discover their talent and potential in STEM!
Letters to a Pre-Scientist is a year long, snail mail pen pal program that connects your students with a worldwide network of real STEM professionals to demystify STEM careers, humanize STEM professionals, and empower all students to explore a future in STEM.
All students deserve the opportunity to explore STEM careers, which is why we partner directly with you, STEM teachers, to make the program happen during instructional time and aim to connect every student on your roster with a STEM pen pal.
We work exclusively at schools in low-income communities and the program is provided at no cost. We cover the cost of all materials (such as stamps and envelopes).
LPS aims to give students as much agency as possible during the program because we know your students are more engaged when they have the opportunity to explore topics that are interesting and relevant to them. We also find that students are more willing to practice their writing when they know someone is really going to write them back. Students will learn about and then share their STEM interests with us, then we will pair each student with their own pen pal who has expertise that matches their interests.
We’re extremely lucky to work with an incredibly dedicated and talented worldwide network of thousands of STEM professionals who can’t wait to write back and forth with your students. They represent all major branches of STEM, work in many different sectors, and are at varying stages in their careers.
The program begins at the start of your school year, and runs through the academic year. About once a quarter, you will host a Letter Opening Party where students get to open a letter from their STEM pen pal, read it, do some type of activity with it to process and share the content with their peers, then write a reply back. This is the most fun part of the program!
We estimate the program requires at least 10 60-minute class periods spread throughout the year to successfully implement. We set program milestones individually with each teacher so we can consider their specific school calendars.
With lots of support from our curriculum, resources, and staff, you’ll guide students to write letters and address envelopes. Then, you’ll collect the sealed envelopes and mail them out to STEM pen pals around the world! Throughout the following six weeks, you’ll collect reply letters from STEM pen pals that arrive at your school and, when you have one for every student, begin the process all over again.
There are four letter rounds per school year; each round has a theme. In addition to addressing the theme, we encourage students to share their stories and ask lots of questions to connect authentically with their pen pal. Read about one student’s experience on our blog. Over the course of the year, students write four letters and STEM pen pals write four letters.
Interested in joining us next year?
Teacher recruitment is closed
We are no longer recruiting teachers for the 2023-24 school year. If you’re interested in hosting the program in your class next year, please sign up to receive our newsletter (subscribe below) to receive program updates including teacher recruitment details in the spring.