Reed College Science Outreach

Reed student explores chemical reactions with an elementary student.Mission Statement

Reed’s Science Outreach Program aims to empower Reedies and K-12 learners alike to understand scientific thinking as a collaborative tool for discovery and self-determination. To achieve this goal, the program focuses on the power of liberatory education. In partnership with local elementary school teachers, Reed students facilitate inquiry-based, hands-on science experiences that connect rigorous state science standards with real world social and climate justice issues.

About the Program

Reed Science Outreach strives to:

  • Establish long-time partnerships with schools in order to provide access to high quality science education and materials that would otherwise be unavailable to students. We also intend for Reed Students to act as role models to encourage students to embarce a life of learning.
  • To engage students with interactive, inquiry-based science education to help students develop an early interest and understanding of the sciences.
  • To provide Reed students with a positive service-learning opportunity in the greater Portland community and to provide Reed students with the chance to gain critical skills through significant, in-classroom teaching experience and community outreach.

To date, during the program's nearly 20 year history we have reached over 11,000 elementary and middle school students and supported more than 600 Reed student teachers. We currently work with up to 20 classrooms at six schools in the Portland area: Pioneer Special Schools, Lewis, Grout, Gilbert Park, Mill Park, Earl Boyles, Ventura Park Elementary, and Lincoln Park Elementary. For the Reed students in particular, the program has often had a profound impact on students' education at Reed.

Read about the experiences of a few of our alumni here.

“Outreach has been a defining part of my year at Reed. It increased my love of, and understanding of, science. I learned first hand that teaching someone, particularly a fifth grader, about something is the best way to ensure that you learn it. As a Reedie, I am privileged to receive one of the best educations available, but I take much more pride in the ability to use that education to someone else’s benefit…. Outreach provided a structured environment where I could use my education in the community and I was significantly happier for it.”  
-Monica Fraenkel ’10, biochemistry and molecular biology major, Reed College


Students look at tadpoles through a microscope.How the program works...

Science outreach send teams of 2-4 Reed students into the same classroom once a week for 15 hour-long lessons throughout the school year. The Reedies encourage students to explore concepts through hands-on, inquiry-based activities and limit lecture-style teaching. Because of Science Outreach's team approach, small group interactions are maximized and individual students receive personalized attention. Reed students form a bond with the students that they teach every week and many Reed students go out of their way to rearrange their class schedules so that they can work with the same students for multiple semesters.

We offer both paid and volunteer positions to Reed students.

We also help to connect community members looking for science fair judges or mentors to interested student volunteers. Click here to learn more.

Learn more about opportunities for Reed students here...

Check out examples of past curriculum here...

If you would like the program to come to your classroom, contact Siira Rieschl at or 503-788-6625 for more information.