Volunteer for Science in the Classroom

Help explain science!

Join us in our science literacy project that makes research papers from Science accessible to a diverse audience.

Science in the Classroom is looking for graduate students, postdocs, and anyone with an advanced graduate degree to help us annotate scientific research papers. We are also looking for expert high school and undergraduate teachers to help us package and present this content in the best way possible.

For more information on volunteering, fill out the volunteer survey.

Please note: due to the high volume of requests to volunteer, we only onboard new volunteers during the first week of each month. Please fill out the volunteer survey and we will contact you during the next window in which we are accepting new volunteers. Thank you for your patience!

Curious about annotating? Learn more:


Why should I volunteer?

As a Contributor, you will have the opportunity to share your science knowledge with aspiring scientists, to contribute to the enhancement of STEM education by making primary literature papers accessible to a diverse audience, and enhance scientific literacy. You will gain valuable science education and communication skills and gain insight into potential careers away from the bench. Contributors are also mentioned on the Science in the Classroom website.

What do Contributors say about their experience?

Feedback from previous Contributors indicates strong gains in feelings of belonging to the scientific community, feelings of responsibility, excitement about the project, and ability to interact with scientists outside of their institutions. They also indicated gains in their ability to think creatively about a research paper, understand journal articles, identify limitations of research methods and designs, contribute to science, and explain their research to people outside their field.

Previous Contributors indicated that their annotation experience taught them skills that helped with their career, provided additional credentials for their CV, and taught them how to better communicate science.

"Annotating a paper for SitC was a unique experience – it required me to evaluate the parts of a research paper that I now take for granted. In terms of improving my science communication skills, having that ability to put yourself in your reader's position, knowing what needs further explanation, is super useful."

"SitC has given me the opportunity to effectively communicate current research in the classroom.  The MCATs have changed to require the students to analyze experimental protocols and to understand data analysis.  SitC lays the groundwork for providing students with the tools they need to evaluate research and develop data presentation and it will lead them to become better scientists during their undergraduate education and beyond."

Can I list this on my CV?

100% of Contributors responding to a feedback survey chose to list their SitC annotation experience on their CV. Depending on format and needs, your contribution as a Contributor can be listed as a science communication experience, a science education experience, an outreach experience, or a service/volunteer experience.

While there is no "right" or "wrong" way to list your involvement with Science in the Classroom, we recommend:

[Year] Contributor: Science in the Classroom, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), [Editor's Title of article, hyperlinked to article]

Who can volunteer?

We are looking for Contributors who are:

  • working on or holding a graduate degree in a science discipline

  • able to understand and interpret the science, methods, and analysis methods used in the paper they select

  • able to translate advanced science writing and terms into language appropriate for an advanced high school or undergraduate level

What's involved?

Volunteers are trained on the basics of science education frameworks and standards, science communication, and the annotation process. Annotation Training is available online and can be supplemented as needed with video calls with SitC team members.

Volunteers should expect to spend about 15 hours writing annotations and accompanying materials, distributed over two months. Annotations should be completed within two months of paper selection. A timeline will be provided to assist in time management. Annotations that are incomplete after two months may not be published.

For more information, check out our workflow:

Annotation workflow

Science in the Classroom in the news:

A March 31, 2017, Science  Editorial by former Editor-in-Chief and current SitC Advisory Board Chair Bruce Alberts recommended Science in the Classroom as a teaching resource to advance "thinking like a scientist."

In the November 21, 2014, Science Editorial, former Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt highlighted volunteer opportunities available through Science in the Classroom.  

See how Science in the Classroom is being used in a variety of educational settings.