curriculum that focuses on general or specific community issues. In each model, students plan their Service-Learning projects, under their professor’s guidance, based on coursework and the community partner’s needs. After serving a minimum number of Service-Learning hours, students reflect on their experiences in a specified way. Students receive course credit and a Service-Learning designation on their college transcript, which can be a plus in transferring or on employment resumes. Student reflection, which is key to Service-Learning’s success, differentiates it from volunteering or interning, said Lynch. “Volunteering is great, but there’s no intentional learning piece to it. And, internships help you learn, but there is no service required,” she explained. “With Service-Learning, you help others as you learn. Teaching Chemistry to Children 4 For eight years, Service-Learning students in Professor Sally Quast’s chemistry classes have conducted fun science experiments at Girls Inc. Middlesex Chemistry Professor Sally Quast’s students roll up their sleeves every April spring vacation week and teach “Chemistry for Kids” to members of Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell. Now in its eighth year, the program is one of MCC’s most successful, longterm Service-Learning partnerships. “It’s totally hands-on,” said Quast. “The girls come to my lab in the Talbot Building on the Lowell campus and work one-on-one with my students – 24 students and 24 girls – for a full 90-minute lab period.” Before meeting the girls, the MCC chemistry students set up goals, outcomes and objectives to prepare for the program. And, they decide on the experiments they will teach the kids. “It’s an experiment they have done and want to teach to the girls. They must design it for the age group they are working with,” said Quast. Favorite experiments include making aspirin, snake soap, perfume and fruit flavors, explained Quast. Then, following the session, the Middlesex students journal about how working with the girls affected them. This Service-Learning project reflects two of Quast’s biggest passions: volunteering and involving women in science. “I talked about my passions at a Service-Learning conference, and Girls Inc. suggested we implement it there,” said Quast. Girls Inc. members clamor to participate, said program coordinator Kate Adams. “It’s wonderful for the girls to work in a real laboratory with college students. They learn a lot, and it fits in with our Operation Smart science program for our girls, ages 8 and up,” said Adams. “Chemistry for Kids” at Girls Inc. was so successful that Quast now offers it each fall with students at different Lowell middle schools. “Fifty of my students do ServiceLearning each year, and in all the years I’ve done it, only one has said it wasn’t worthwhile,” said Quast. “It builds my students’ confidence, and exposes middle school students to mentoring — and that’s key to developing young scientists.” • “People learn best by being active, and this is active learning at its finest – it’s a positive thing.” Cynthia Lynch, Director of MCC’s Service-Learning Program “Reflection links service to learning, and can be done in many ways, including journals, PowerPoint presentations, debates, plays, blogs, even letters to the editor,” explained Lynch. “What’s important is that students reflect on their experiences and learn from them.” Middlesex kicked off the ServiceLearning Program’s 20th anniversary last October at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica, a long-time community partner. At the celebration, MCC students, Boys & Girls Club staff, and MCC faculty and administrators enjoyed cake and praised the program’s success. continued on page 16 Nancye Tuttle [ 15 ] Profiles