Teaching a passion for science to kids in Philadelphia
Jonathan Nguyen is no stranger to STEM education. As a science teacher in the Camden, NJ school district, he leads high school seniors through the rigors of scientific concepts, memorization, and testing on a daily basis. What’s missing, he said, is passion behind science – want to know how he finds it?
For the past 13 years, Jonathan has taught GSK Science in the SummerTM across local libraries in Philadelphia. Here, he is able to help elementary school-aged children experience the wonder of science at a much more impressionable age – igniting a passion that, hopefully, will grow into a life-long love of the study and applications of science.
“At times, the education system gets caught up in content, and we teach facts instead of skills,” Jonathan said. “Even the best students can become detached from science if they don’t understand how these facts are applicable in their everyday lives.”
He continued, “The GSK Science in the Summer program is unique, and the students are unique as well. There’s such a high level of interest and engagement. The kids aren’t worrying about grades, being tested, or competing with other students, they’re just having fun."
The GSK Science in the Summer program, which is in its 31st year of operation, now reaches more than 25,000 kids across the country per year, and has nearly 200,000 alumni to date. The 2017 program focused on the Science of Sports – allowing kids to explore how their favorite sporting activities link to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In 2018, the program will focus on the Science of Space– and, if the stars align, we hope Jonathan will join us again for another summer.
A student, Noah, shares his thanks for the program below.