Welcome to the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach!
We work with faculty, students and staff through on-campus and community-based activities that improve educational opportunities, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for youth. The Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach was endowed by alumnus Mark Gelfand to create and strengthen partnerships with local schools and education providers.
Our services are wide-ranging. The Gelfand Center:
- conducts professional development activities for teachers and educational workshops for children.
- hires students to tutor at the SciTech Academy and Colfax School of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
- owns and operates two vehicles that enable faculty to conduct service-based courses in local neighborhoods. These vehicles also permit faculty, students and staff to easily travel to schools and community centers where they provide workshops, tutoring, mentoring and other services.
- assists with the planning and implementation of activities to satisfy the Broader Impact criteria of the National Science Foundation.
- provides annual faculty and student awards to recognize significant contributions made to the community.
Please explore our site to learn about the work of the Gelfand Center and contact us if you have any questions!
George Kantor is a researcher and educator at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University... He develops experimental robotic systems that demonstrate novel concepts, develops theoretical advances for problems in robot estimation and control, and disseminates knowledge through teaching and outreach. He is dedicated to K-12 STEM educational outreach activities. He directs several STEM educational activities, and he is the co-founder and director of the Girls of Steel Robotics Initiative, which started in 2011 as an all-girls high school FIRST Robotics Competition team and has since grown into a pipeline of hands-on robotics activities for girls ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, and which now reaches over 200 students each year.
Judith Hallinen, assistant vice provost for Educational Outreach and director of the Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, is once again serving as chair of the Pittsburgh Local Arrangements Committee, a position she’s held since 2010. Luis von Ahn, associate professor of computer science, was the keynote speaker and 44 faculty, researchers, graduate students and staff from Carnegie Mellon are serving as judges for the world’s largest pre-college science competition at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center this week (May 10-15). They’ll be among those evaluating more than 1,700 high school students from over 80 countries, regions, and territories, who will be showcasing their research and competing for more than $5 million in prizes.
Carol Frieze is director of Women@SCS, a professional faculty/student organization, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science (SCS). Women@SCS works to promote, create and encourage women's leadership, social and professional opportunities. She is also director of SCS4ALL, a new student advisory council (also hosted by SCS) working to broaden interest and participation in computing by underrepresented groups. She has worked on diversity issues in SCS for the past 15 years. On a day-to-day, basis Frieze works closely with graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff to build social and professional development programs for the SCS community. Also, under her guidance both organizations work extensively on educational outreach to promote diversity in computing in Pittsburgh and beyond, through such programs as the Outreach Roadshow (since 2003), TechNights (since 2005), the OurCS workshop (since 2007) and Computational Thinking Activities at Sci-Tech (since 2010).
The Gelfand Center is presenting STEM-focused summer courses for K-8 students, designed by Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. These week-long workshops will be held in July.
Class titles are “Anatomy and Robotics,” “Green Engineering,” “Beginning Alice Programming,” “Science and Engineering Summer Sampler,” “Science of Everyday Stuff,” “Robotics Programming and Designing.”
Advance registration for families affiliated with Carnegie Mellon can be found here.
The Gelfand Center is presenting a new series of STEM-focused workshops that are designed by Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. The next workshops will be held on Saturday, April 25. Class titles are "Science of Everyday Things," "Building Up," "It's a Material World," "Additive Manufacturing," "Extreme Weather Trends, Climate Science & Public Opinion," and "Puzzles, Games and Problem Solving."
Advance registration for families affiliated with Carnegie Mellon can be found here.
University in Qatar recently held the first outreach program of the 2014-2015 academic year, Ibtikar. The Ibtikar workshop, which focused on human-centered design and the impact of design and technology on the world, was the first in a series of three workshops designed to highlight the field of information systems to high school students in Qatar. Over the coming months, Carnegie Mellon Qatar will offer a variety of additional outreach workshops related to its programs in biological sciences, business administration and computer science. The events will lead up to the university's March 1 admissions deadline.
The Andy Awards, named for Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, are a tribute to the spirit of teamwork and dedication embodied by the staff at Carnegie Mellon University. The award goes to individual staff members and teams of colleagues whose work has had a significant impact on the university. This year, a number of outstanding CMU faculty and staff received awards, including two Gelfand Center employees, for their dedication and service to service learning and outreach.
In his own work, award-winning author, poet and filmmaker Jim Daniels does not shy away from difficult subjects. Detroit born and raised, Daniels often explores the culture of working-class life and his own personal experiences. In 1999, he founded the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards to help Pittsburgh-area students better understand King’s lasting legacy of combating racial inequality. The program has received more than 2,000 entries from high school and college students over the years – poetry and prose pieces that are reflections of the students’ personal experiences with race and discrimination.
Ozeas created the CMU Urban Music Education Program, which annually reaches about 400 Pittsburgh Public Schools and Wilkinsburg School District students in grades 4 through 12, helping these students find an appreciation for music that’s relevant to them. Through the program, students get to dabble in the classics and learn to rap as well. Some students even performed on stage during a fall 2012 concert at Carnegie Music Hall with the Carnegie Mellon School of Music Wind Ensemble. Ozeas stated, “Our goal is to make music accessible to children in all schools, and we want them to relate to the music they hear in their own households and neighborhoods.”
For the fifth consecutive year, Carnegie Mellon has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The selection by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education recognizes CMU's commitment to community service and service learning. Assistant vice provost for Educational Outreach and director of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach’s Judy Hallinen said nearly 5,000 students spent more than 143,000 hours engaged in community service in 2010-2011.
Since 1998, Mertz has taught “Technology Consulting in the Community,” a course in which nearly 400 students have helped nearly 300 nonprofit organizations, schools and businesses in the Pittsburgh region. Similarly, Mertz directs an international program, “Technology Consulting in the Global Community” (TCinGC), that has sent dozens of students to help government ministries and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries improve strategic uses of technology.
“This willingness, on Professor Mertz’s part, to go above and beyond just being a professor to his students, is what sets him apart. Not only is he a fantastic teacher, but he actually cares about the world. He walks the walk. He is willing to give his time and energy to students who elicit his expertise,” she said.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the premier competition for students in grades 9-12. More than 1,500 high school students from about 70 countries are displaying research and competing for more than $3 million in awards at the David Lawrence Convention Center downtown. The project included Home Exploring Robot Butler (HERB), Immersive Shopping, and Data Center Observatory (DCO). Carnegie Mellon is playing an active role in the event, with about 45 faculty and staff serving as judges, and about a dozen students working as interpreters and assisting with educational outreach activities.
Doonan has developed outreach activities for students of all levels, from primary school-aged Girl Scout troops, to teenagers from church groups, to AP course students and teachers from local high schools. Her lab is often students’ first exposure to scientific discovery… The labs are always framed within an interesting and exciting story, such as a murder mystery relating the science to CSI, in order to engage the students,” wrote Nina DiPrimio, special faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. “These programs not only educate but inspire students that may not have originally considered going into the sciences to think about that field as a realistic option and provide them with contacts at CMU.”
More than 730 rising high school juniors and seniors applied for 55 open spots in Carnegie Mellon University's Summer Academy for Mathematics + Science. The six-week program, which ends August 6th this year, is marking its first decade. Since its inception, more than 800 students from 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have attended SAMS. The majority of participants are from historically underrepresented groups in STEM careers. "The students build circuits every day, starting with very simple ones and working up to quite complex circuits," Peterson said. "Many students are very timid at first, convinced this type of work is beyond their ability. Most of the circuits don't work at first, but they learn to use an oscilloscope to diagnose problems. Pretty soon they are modifying the designs and coming up with their own. By the end, some students say 'I could be an engineer.'"
Prof. Leonard Kisslinger is the co-awardee of the first Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach. Since 1998, Leonard Kisslinger has led the Carnegie Mellon Physics Concept Program. Middle school students from Pittsburgh Public Schools interact with undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty from the university to study fundamental physics concepts in an effort to provide the children with hands-on experience on how scientific research is carried out.
Hundreds of Carnegie Mellon undergraduate and graduate students served as tutors, lab assistants, instructors, and more, by volunteering or enrolling in the more than 30 university 'service learning' courses, allowing them to complete coursework while assisting local non-profit organizations.
"We are looking to develop the whole student, not just the academic student," added Hallinen. "We want our students to consider 'what can you do that will change someone's life, what is the thing that you can do that will make a difference?'"