What does the Gelfand Center do?
The Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning & Outreach supports activities that enable Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff to use their energy and expertise to improve the quality of life, motivate learners of all ages, or solve problems in the community. We assist with partnership development with individuals, school districts and organizations in Pennsylvania and beyond to design and implement programs and service learning course activities. STEM education outreach programs are our priority.
Where is the Gelfand Center located and what are the hours?
The Gelfand Center is located at Cyert Hall A64. We are normally available between 9am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. If you have a specific question or idea you would like to communicate, please feel free to reach out to us
I am interested in pursuing a career in education. Can I do that while I am at Carnegie Mellon?
It is difficult to complete the requirements to earn PA teacher certification while also completing a degree at Carnegie Mellon. The state requires the completion of several courses, classroom placements and the completion of a 14-week student teaching assignment [an entire semester of full-time teaching, with a mentor]. Students who wish to become teachers may want to cross-register at other Pittsburgh institutions that have an education department to take courses to explore topics related to education.
Many Carnegie Mellon students find their way to a teaching career through alternative programs such as Teach for America or through a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching program. In fact, there are many programs that will cover the cost of teacher certification coursework while also granting emergency teacher certication to allow you to begin teaching. In addition, some Carnegie Mellon courses have a service learning component, which allows students to practice what they've learned and gain teaching skills in the community.
Please contact Miriam Wertheimer to schedule an appointment to learn about pathways to a career in K-12 education.
How can I become a tutor for local children?
The Gelfand Center provides tutors
for multiple schools in the Pittsburgh Public School district as well as local afterschool programs. Our positions, when available, are posted on Handshake. You must be available during the times when tutoring takes place (afterschool hours) and have strong English communications skills. Volunteer tutoring positions are available through academic departments and student organizations that provide services to middle and high school students in the community.
Is there anything I can do to prepare to be a tutor?
Yes. The Gelfand Center offers tutor trainings several times per year. We discuss tutoring tips, child safety, learning styles, and go over several tricky scenarios tutors might encounter while on the job. Contact Miriam Wertheimer
to learn more about scheduling a tutor training. You can also take a look at the online tutoring guide
Do I need to be an undergraduate at CMU to get involved?
You must have affiliation with Carnegie Mellon to volunteer or work at most outreach programs conducted by the university. We provide opportunities for undergraduate & graduate students, faculty, and staff. Each program is different, so it’s important to check with the program coordinator for more information.
For what age groups does the Gelfand Center provide programs & workshops?
We provide tutoring and program opportunities for K-12 students, in selected schools. There is no open tutoring program for drop-in help.
Do I need to have clearances to work with children?
Yes. As of January 2015, you will need Pennsylvania criminal and child abuse clearances in addition to FBI Fingerprint clearances. The Human Resources Office at CMU coordinates child protection activities. Details about PA's child protection law , Act 153, and Carnegie Mellon requirements for individuals who work with children is available on the Human Resources website.
If you are faculty, staff, paid student employee or student volunteer, please contact the Office of Human Resources for more information on how to obtain your Act 153 clearances.
Are there volunteer opportunities for weekends or summer months?
Opportunities vary, so it is best to check the Gelfand Center calendar. We often send out requests for volunteers a week or two prior to events. These opportunities are fun, and often require hands-on work with kids and teenagers, tabling, and organization skills. To be able to work at many of these events, you would need to complete your clearance forms. Contact the Gelfand Center
to be added to the volunteer mailing list.
I can’t commit to any of the opportunities the Gelfand Center offers. Are there other ways I can get involved with my community?