Children are the future of this world. They’re exposed to all of the wonders that life has to offer. From literature to science, kids develop their passions as they grow up and figure out what they want to do in the future. Their curiosity lets them explore different hobbies, but most importantly, it helps them build character and learn more about themselves.
At Reading Science Center, they encourage kids to learn about the sciences and how science impacts them. They use experimental STEM education to teach children all over the Reading community. Promoting different careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, encourages kids to think outside the box. This helps them understand that it’s okay to want to be in a career that has a shortage of workers.
Sitting down with Executive Director Lisa Meredith-Unrath, a Reading local, she had a lot of passion when talking about the Center. As the Executive Director, she pretty much runs the center. She’s in charge of doing the branding, making sure that the exhibits are up and running, scheduling volunteers, getting grants and finding donors.
“If there are any issues with the exhibits, it’s my job to make sure that they are solved and ready to be used for the kids,” Lisa said while explaining the different tasks that she has to do in her position.
The Reading Science Center hosts a variety of different exhibits. “We have 45 exhibits that are hands-on that cover all the sciences, ages 2 through 8th grade,” Lisa explained when asked about the educational exhibits that the center provides for the kids. They vary from how synapse works in the brain to how the different weather patterns work.
Even with the many exhibits that they have to offer, they’re always looking for more to be constructed and donated to the non-profit.
“I look for people to build exhibits for us. We have things we call ‘cookbooks’ that we give to other organizations so that they can pick out one to build to donate to us,” said Lisa.
Besides having exhibits, they’re also involved with an outreach program with the local university. “We work with Alvernia University through the Holleran Center. We provide after-school programs to different elementary schools every week,” she explained.
Students from Alvernia work with the kids by doing numerous science experiments and learning more about the sciences. They go to the different elementary schools once every other week–they alternate between the schools–and go to the middle schools every week.
Another program they offer is called ‘Sisters in Stem’ which is funded by the Georgio Family Foundation. “It’s a three-year grant, providing exposure to women in sciences who are in the underrepresented demographic. There aren’t a lot of women represented in STEM, so this program brings in a scientist every Wednesday and they talk about their story, how they got to where they are, and what they do.”
The Center’s goal is to help young girls get involved with the sciences, and during this program, they get to learn from other female scientists and also, do an experiment with them. With women being in the underrepresented demographic, it’s especially crucial to have young girls learn about the variety of careers that can come from STEM. Science can be found in anything, you just have to find it.
Many different camps run throughout the year that allows kids to play, learn, and understand things about science. They get exposure at a young age so that they understand and learn from their experiences. These experiences can and will last a lifetime and help them with their future endeavors.
“Research shows that if you’re exposed to science at least three times between age 3 and grade 3, you’re more likely to choose a STEM career,” Lisa talked about the effects that science can have on kids after being exposed at a young age.
Learning about science is an essential part of this non-profit organization. They want to help teach kids all over Berks county and in the Reading community about the different things that it has to offer. They hope to leave an impression and allow kids to achieve their goals, and become whatever and whoever they want to be.