Welcome to Open Labs — A fellowship of graduate and professional students devoted to educating and mentoring young scholars, and encouraging them to pursue careers in the sciences. We focus on 6-12th grade students, because this is a crucial time in their development of critical thinking and empirical skills that will propel them towards science careers. Since our inception in 2012, our non-traditional structure and network of events have enabled us to reach over 700 students and parents in the greater area of New Haven, CT. We have expanded to University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Columbia University.
Who participates? Students from local schools in the vicinity of Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Columbia University. At Yale in particular, Open Labs extends to the greater New Haven area, including West Haven and Orange Public Schools (6-12th grade).
What's your cost? $0 - Thanks to the Fellows, donations, and our sponsors.
What is an Open Labs Science Café? Open Labs hosts the Café, a series of outreach events, presentations and breakout sessions, featuring bite-sized talks on cutting-edge research. These short presentations are given by Open Labs Graduate Student Fellows and cover a wide variety of scientific fields (Biology, Physics, Sociology, Medicine, Neuroscience, Astronomy, etc.). Through the talks, we place the students in the shoes of a young professional scientist and and help them discover how research is done, and why we choose to devote our lives to it. During Café breakout groups, students interested in pursuing a topic further are led through a guided discussions.
Our first Science Café audience was a select group of motivated and academically promising high school students from S.C.H.O.L.A.R., a 3 year program sponsored by Yale's Pathways to Science. Over the summer, Open Labs hosted two Science Cafés where the S.C.H.O.L.A.R. students attended presentations and participated in breakout group discussions focusing on science, education and college preparation. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to sign up for lunch discussions, lab visits and scientific internships in Yale University laboratories.
Love to communicate your passion for science? Excited to give short talks to motivated local students? Want to make a difference in STEM? Join the Open Labs Fellowship (go to your school's page and submit the application form)!
Who is Behind Open Labs?
Open Labs involves a spectrum of graduate and professional students in the sciences. At Yale, Open Labs relies on the close collaboration of the Graduate & Professional Student Senate (GPSS) Community Service Committee and Yale Pathways to Science, a division of the Office of New Haven and State Affairs.
A Bit of History
The idea of Open Labs crystallized in late 2012. By early 2013, Zlatko Minev (Yale, PhD '17, GPSS Senator) linked Yale GPSS with Pathways to Science. We began planning our first flagship event series - Science Café - for a group of diverse high-school students from New Haven, West Haven and Orange, CT. In its first year, Open Labs directly impacted roughly 100 young scholars.
Great feedback following the first Science Café events motivated an expansion of the program. In late 2013, the Open Labs Science Café opened its doors to over 800 middle and high school students and their families from the Yale Pathways network. Since then, Open Labs continues to hold public events throughout the academic year and during the summer through S.C.H.O.L.A.R.
At the final Science Café of 2015, registration was overwhelming - seeking an audience of 40, we had 164 people sign up for the event. The last kids left two-and-a-half hours after the end of the event, discussing science, and forming the start of a research project. The popularity showed a testament to the positive history of the event, speakers, and interesting topic.
We are thrilled to continue our expansion of Open Labs by spreading to the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Columbia University, and look forward to inspiring even more young scholars in science.
Community Service Committee Senator
Graduate & Professional Student Senate (GPSS), Yale University