BEAM is UC Berkeley's premier outreach and mentorship organization.
Elementary and middle school students should be
able to explore their curiosity of
natural world. However, the reality is that many students do not have easy access to high quality STEM
due to a lack of time, money, or resources. Exposure to subjects in elementary school are related to
courses students later take, and consequently their future careers.
By writing our own engaging and hands-on curriculum, providing a small student to mentor ratio, and encouraging problem-based learning, BEAM hopes to change perceptions of science and engineering—making it more fun and approachable and thus encouraging students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to pursue STEM careers.
Learn more about BEAM in some featured news articles below.
NPR | Will STEM education be the child left behind?
"A combination of budget cuts and policy decisions has left many local, state and federal bodies short on funds to robustly back science education... Volunteer and corporate-backed STEM networks 'can help schools bridge those gaps and make those connections.'"
Berkeley Science Review | Cal Engineering Students Take It To the Classroom
"[According to the Lawrence Hall of Science] 80% of local K-5 teachers spend less than 60 minutes per week teaching science–and 16% spend no time at all. BEAM...step[s] in where the state and local governments have not."
SFGate | Cause on top of classes draw UC Berkeley students
BEAM “is not just some sort of weekly outreach thing and you go and it’s like 'whatever,’” BEAM president ('14) Tiffany Chung says. “We really focus on understanding how to interact with a younger audience and what you can learn from the kids. We’re not just going in to help these kids because we’re some sort of 'benefactor’ group. It’s a two-way exchange.”
BEAM was founded in 2008 as both a non-profit student
organization and DeCal.
We are entirely student-run!
BEAM is run by 40 staff members, divided into 6 committees:
curriculum, external affairs, logistics, mentor development, outreach, and site leading.
Curriculum creates all the lessons we teach for BEAM! This includes not only writing the lesson itself but also testing each hands-on portion of the lesson. Curriculum also facilitates the Final Lesson planning process, guiding each site through the process of writing, testing, and teaching their own lesson.
External Affairs manages BEAM’s finances and public relations. On the finance side, they manage our semesterly budget, secure funding sources from scholarships, grants, and campus departments, and look for ways to cut our costs. EA manages the Facebook page, Instagram account, and website to increase the public’s exposure to the work we do.
Logistics is responsible for all the materials BEAM uses for its lessons. They work with curriculum to ensure that the proposed materials are within budget, then purchases the materials and distributes them into the boxes that we take to site each week. Logistics also manages our overall inventory of materials so that materials are organized, easily accessible, and can be reused between semesters.
MD is responsible for the overall quality of BEAM’s mentorship. They organize various presentations and activities throughout the semester covering topics such as classroom management tips, teaching philosophies, and reflection projects to help facilitate mentors’ growth.
Outreach is responsible for ensuring that BEAM is a positive community where people are able to bond with each other and grow outside of the classroom. They organize internal socials and connect mentors with outside volunteering opportunities like Discovery Days, SPLASH, E4K, and Cal Day.
Site Leading is made up of the site leaders and the two site coordinators. Site Leaders facilitate the weekly lessons at one of BEAM’s partner schools each semester while developing the mentors teaching under them. Our site coordinators act as a liaison between BEAM and all of its partner schools and facilitate conversations between site leaders to improve teaching across the board.