Check It Out: DC EnvironMentors

Guess what I got to do today?? I got to interview Jackie Krisch, the Director of DC EnvironMentors!! Plus, Jackie is a 2008 graduate of American University, where I am currently a Washington Semester student. Here’s a recap of my interview with her, with information on why (and how) students should get involved at EnvironMentors.

So, What is EnvironMentors?

EnvironMentors is a national college access program that helps prepare high school students for college-level environmental science work. Students are paired with mentors who are college students, educators, or science and environmental professionals. The high school students work with their mentors on a research project, with the top projects receiving college scholarships. Students gain the skills to not only get into college, but also to succeed in college. For this reason, the program focuses on improving college-level writing skills and teaching students to design their own experiments that include databases, academic journal articles, and expert interviews. Nearly 2,500 DC high students have participated in EnvironMentors, with 96% of these students graduating from high school and 92% accepted to college. For more information, you should check out their website: http://ncseonline.org/program/environmentors

How can a busy college student get involved?

-Become a Mentor: (3 times per month, 1-2 hour meeting) Being a mentor is an amazing opportunity to really impact a high school student’s life. Mentors come from a variety of places, so the experience is also a great networking opportunity for college students who are looking to find jobs after college. The mentors and students meet in a group, so volunteers get to meet other college students, educators, and professionals who are also passionate about education and the environment.

-Experimental Design Workshops: (2 hours) Students who are interested in getting involved, but don’t have time to commit to being a mentor should contact EnvironMentors about participating in an Experimental Design Workshop. This opportunity would be great for a Biology major, because college students at the workshops help the high school students brainstorm how to do their experiments.

-Reviewing Students’ Work: (2 hours per meeting, 4 meetings) The experiments and written assignments are judged for the scholarship component of the program, so there are opportunities to get involved in the review process of the students’ work.

-University Library Visits: EnvironMentors works with universities in DC to bring their students to university libraries. College students could work with EnvironMentors to set up these visits and help the high school students learn how to use the library for their research projects.

-Career Advisor: (2 hours at the Environmental Career Workshop) Share your story of your college journey with students in order to broaden their understanding of an environmental career.

If you are thinking about jobs after college…

I know that after college I hope to be involved in an environmental organization, so I asked Jackie to describe what it is like working for EnvironMentors. She said that working at a small non-profit is a great job for someone who considers himself or herself a “jack of all trades.” Their staff is only fifteen people, but within this group is a wide range of skill sets. It sounds like a really fun place to work and take on a lot of responsibility.

So, that’s the recap of my exciting first interview of this project! I had a lot of fun speaking to Jackie about EnvironMentors, and I will continue to keep you posted on ways to get involved with this and other environmental organizations in DC.

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