Who Are the
"Scientist-Volunteers?" Each year,
approximately 25% (100 people) of the Jefferson Lab's
technical staff volunteer for the BEAMS program. These
include engineers, scientists, computer programmers,
accelerator operators, technicians, administrators,
financial analysts, writers, and even the head of the
Recruitment. The staff
volunteers are recruited by the BEAMS staff and by other
volunteers, whose enthusiasm seems contagious.
Recruitment begins with an array of activities set up
just outside the lab's cafeteria. This alone attracts
about 10 new people each year, despite low employee
turnover at the lab. Usually, there are seven or eight
volunteers from temporary technical personnel or
visitors, such as accelerator users on an extended tour.
The new volunteers join with veterans to fill the ranks.
Return rates are high: in the history of the program,
only three volunteers have dropped out.
Volunteer Preparation. Each
volunteer leads students in doing one particular activity
from the BEAMS collection. To learn how, the volunteer
first observes another volunteer leading the same
activity for students. The new recruit often takes very
detailed notes, especially on the veteran volunteer's
interactions with the students. In the following hour,
the volunteer actually participates with an experienced
volunteer in the same activity with a new group of
students. Finally, the volunteer leads the activity
him/herself, although as in all activities sessions, the
class teacher and a member of the education staff are
The volunteer also receives the
part of the BEAMS Teacher Handbook that is devoted
to the activity he or she has observed and helped with.
The handbook deals with the objectives of the activity,
background material, and ways to involve the classroom
Activities Sessions. First,
the volunteer in charge of the activity session is
interviewed by the class, then the volunteer helps the
students discover a little about the lab's work. The
volunteer leads the activity and helps the students
examine their results and reflect on what skills they
have learned and how they might apply what they've
learned to "real life."
Other Volunteer Roles. Members
of the technical staff also volunteer for
"role-model visits," during which the students
get an opportunity to visit the volunteers in their labs
or offices and ask them all kinds of questions. These
visits are scheduled in advance.
Technical staff were also
involved in developing the 5th and 6th grade activities
and accompanying instructional materials and are expected
to play a similar role in producing the activities and
accompanying materials for the 7th and 8th graders.
Degree of Involvement. Some
of the technical staff volunteer only three times per
year; others volunteer every week that there are class
visits, i.e. 25 weeks a year.