The response to our call for scientist volunteers was absolutely outstanding! Over 620 scientists have signed up and requested a pen pal, which means that none of our excited students will be left out. So what happens now?
This year, we have 400 students in several classrooms, eager to start chatting with scientists. We’ve sent them a survey so that we can learn a little about them and the kind of science they’re most interested in, and then we’ll get them matched to one of our volunteer scientists. We’re working on that process now, and if you’ve requested a pen pal you should know within a couple of weeks whether you’re going to need to sharpen your pencil (or warm up your mouse).
What if you don’t get a pen pal?
Thanks to the overwhelming response to our social media campaign, we have more scientists than students in the program! We are very grateful to have so many great people interested in LPS! Everyone who asked for a pen pal and didn’t get matched will stay on our waiting list in case another scientist drops out – we don’t want to leave a kid hanging if someone gets overwhelmed or sent on a three-month arctic voyage and can’t keep up with the letters. It doesn’t happen often, but scientists warming the bench do sometimes get called to play!
We’re hoping that this great response means that we can add even more classrooms to the program next year and reach many more students. Several teachers have already reached out to ask if they can join the next round! In the meantime, you can still participate in Letters to a Pre-Scientist by checking in on our blog, where we’ll be posting stories about the classrooms we’re working with. The Facebook page and Twitter accounts will stay active, sharing updates as the school year progresses and letters make their way back and forth. And please, tell others about us! While we only do the matching once a year, scientists can sign up for our mailing list at any time, and they’ll get an email at matching time every year, to check whether they would like a pen pal.
You can also donate to help keep LPS alive. The program is run entirely by volunteers, and we pay for the web hosting and other operating costs out of our own pockets. More importantly, our participating classrooms can have a hard time affording the stamps for all their letters. We’re very grateful for any donations you make through our site, which go to fund stamps and other supplies for our participating students.