Role Model and Activity Volunteers Needed to Help with BEAMS – Jefferson Lab's Science and Math Outreach Program for Students

Role Model and Activity Volunteers Needed to Help with BEAMS – Jefferson Lab's Science and Math Outreach Program for Students

Becoming Enthusiastic About Math and Science – or BEAMS – Jefferson Lab's long-running math and science enrichment program for upper-elementary and middle-school students needs help. Lab staff members, users and students interested in assisting with educational activities conducted at the lab during normal business hours, are encouraged to contact Christine Wheeler, Science Education.

The largest need, between October 2016 and April 2017 is for volunteers to support Role Model Visits. An important part of the BEAMS experience is the Role Model Visit; and Science Education is seeking lab volunteers to provide these 15-minute interactions with the students, according to Wheeler.

For a Role Model Visit, a group of 12 –15 students is brought to the volunteer’s office or a conference room if the office isn’t feasible. Volunteers usually begin by introducing themselves and briefly talking about their job, their education, how they came to Jefferson Lab, or aspects of their job that they most enjoy. Volunteers engage the students by asking them questions and answering the students’ questions. Students should be encouraged to ask questions. Many questions deal with education, careers and job training. An adult, either a teacher or a lab Education staff member, accompanies the students.

Role Model Visits usually take place from 11–11:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays from mid-October through early April.

“These are fun and easy!” Wheeler says. “While they are short interactions, these visits have a positive impact on the students, and provide them with information about a variety of careers and workforce development in fields using science, technology, engineering and math.”

Volunteers are also needed to lead or help with classroom activities. These volunteers spend about 75 minutes in a BEAMS classroom in the Support Service Center, Bldg. 28, either leading an educational activity or assisting students as they carry out an activity. Over the course of the school year, a range of activities are presented in the BEAMS classroom. “Many times volunteers will select an activity that they enjoy and lead or help with it on a recurring basis,” Wheeler points out.

BEAMS supports Newport News inner-city public school students as they progress from fifth through eighth grade. Over the course of the school year, nearly 1,500 students and their teachers visit Jefferson Lab between two and three days to participate in BEAMS science and math activities conducted with the help of lab scientists, engineers, technicians and administrators.

BEAMS program goals include: motivating students to boost their learning; strengthening students' math and science skills with hands-on activities; and having students interact with individuals who use math and/or science in their daily work environment. BEAMS also provides teachers with classroom activities based on Jefferson Lab science and technology.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, BEAMS class visits will begin in mid-October and run through early April. Usually two classes visit the lab at a time and participate in two to four separate activities during each day-long visit.

"Lab staff, students and users are critical to the success of the lab's science education programs, especially BEAMS," Wheeler says. "Our BEAMS volunteers have been sharing their passion and excitement for math, science and technology with students for more than 25 years. Students gain knowledge and skills and volunteers have a chance to make a difference in the lives of students and have fun working with lots of smiling faces. Everybody wins!

"Want to help, but not sure how? That's what we're here for," Wheeler points out. "Science Education staff members are happy to provide the training you need whether you’ve assisted previously, would like to try a new activity, or you are volunteering for the first time. If you want to observe a classroom activity before signing up, we can schedule that, too."

For additional information, class visit schedules and volunteer opportunities, contact Wheeler at ext. 7560 or email

You may view some of the BEAMS activities' work sheets at the following pdf links:
- Cold Stuff:
- Hot Stuff:
- Solar System:
- Thermometers: