Letters to a Pre-Scientist Program


Letters to a Pre-Scientist Program

Are you a 5-8th grade STEM teacher who wants to connect your students with real STEM professional mentors to help them see themselves in STEM?

Apply to host the 22-23 Letters to a Pre-Scientist program!

Hosting the pen pen program in your classroom is a serious, year-long commitment. Please read the information below carefully before applying.

Program Goals

  1. Broaden students’ awareness of the people who work in STEM (the diversity of their identities).
  2. Broaden students’ awareness of the scope of STEM careers (the locations, workplaces, fields of study, degrees, etc).
  3. Support students to discover their talent and potential to have a future in STEM if they choose!

Program Description

Letters to a Pre-Scientist is a year long, snail mail pen pal program that connects your students with a worldwide network of real STEM professionals to demystify STEM careers, humanize STEM professionals, and empower all students to explore a future in STEM. 

All students deserve the opportunity to explore STEM careers, which is why we partner directly with you, STEM teachers, to make the program happen during instructional time. We work with you to facilitate the program for every student on your roster.

We aim to give students as much agency as possible during the program because we know your students are more engaged when they have the opportunity to explore topics that are interesting and relevant to them. We also find that students are more willing to practice their writing when they know someone is really going to write them back. Students will learn about and then share their STEM interests with us, then we will pair each student with their own pen pal who has expertise that matches their interests.

We’re extremely lucky to work with an incredibly dedicated and talented network of thousands of STEM professionals who can’t wait to write back and forth with your students. They represent all major branches of STEM, work in many different sectors, and are at varying stages in their careers.

About once a quarter, you will host a Letter Opening Party where students get to open a letter from their STEM pen pal, read it, do some type of activity with it to process and share the content with their peers, then write a reply back. This is the most fun part of the program!

With lots of support from our curriculum, resources, and staff, you’ll guide students to write letters and address envelopes. Then, you’ll collect the sealed envelopes and mail them out to STEM pen pals around the world! Throughout the following six weeks, you’ll collect reply letters from STEM pen pals that arrive at your school and, when you have one for every student, begin the process all over again!

There are four letter rounds per school year; each round has a theme. In addition to addressing the theme, we encourage students to share their stories and ask lots of questions to connect authentically with their pen pal. Read about one student’s experience on our blog. Over the course of the year, students write four letters and STEM pen pals write four letters.

Learn more.