FirstHand at the University Science City Center

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Program Category: Accepting Mentors, Fee Structure, Free, Grade Level, 3 - 6, 7 - 8, and 9 - 12Program Tags: Career, Design, mentor, science, STEAM, and stem

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  • Equal parts Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, FirstHand’s mission is to provide Philadelphia’s curious minds access to the knowledge and resources of the University City Science Center. By fueling discovery and exploration with interactive programming, we are opening the doors for the minds of tomorrow.


    Organization Name: University Science City Center - FirstHand
    Organization Street Address: 3711 Market St. #800
    Organization City, State, Zip: Philadelphia
    Organization Phone Number: 2159666000
    Short Description of Organization:

    This isn’t your typical science class. At FirstHand, an educational initiative at the University City Science Center, classroom lessons are brought to life through engaging projects and real-life lab environments. By adding the Arts to the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, FirstHand provides a gateway to creative, design-based applications of science and technology. Students learn what it means to experiment and determine things firsthand alongside scientists and educators. As a result, they gain personal experiences that allow them to fully grasp the power of STEM subjects and get excited about how to apply the subjects in their own lives.

    There’s nothing more impactful for a student than hands-on experience. Through interactive programming, students design experiments, test hypotheses and work toward final projects to share with the community. Programs are supplemented with mentorships from the Science Center’s resident companies, where students learn about and experience real-life STEM entrepreneurship in real-world applications. For educators who are interested in bringing this inquiry-based learning into their classroom, we also provide the opportunity to join workshops and trainings on integrating STEAM practices into everyday education.

    Serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities, FirstHand aims to spark an interest in the STEAM disciplines for students to explore and cultivate throughout their lives. By giving students the opportunity to ask more questions, create new solutions and explore science firsthand, we’re opening the doors for the minds of tomorrow.

    Program Street Address: 3711 Market St
    Program Phone Number: 2159666000
    Which one best describes your organization?: Non-Profit
    Which one best describes your program?: Site-based - stationary (students come to a site)
    Is your program delivered in collaboration with external partners?: No
    Accepting Mentors: No


    Is STEM the "core" of your program?: Yes
    Which type of STEM programming do you offer? (choose ALL that apply):
    • Biochemistry
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Environment Science
    • Mathematics
    • Medicine and or Health
    • Microbiology
    • Physics
    • STEAM (STEM with Art)
    Which other activities does your STEM program include? (choose All that apply):
    • Project-Based Learning
    • Workforce Development
    Does your program use volunteer STEM mentors?: Yes


    Where is your STEM program offered? (choose ALL that apply): West Philadelphia
    When does your STEM program take place? (choose ALL that apply):
    • Summer
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Spring
    • During school
    • After school


    How many children does your program serve each year? Numbers can be estimates.: 501-1000 individuals
    How many hours/week does each child participate? Numbers can be estimates, and can be specific to a season or semester.: Between 2 and 5 hours per week
    Which ages/grades does your STEM program serve? (choose ALL that apply):
    • 3rd - 6th grade
    • 7th - 8th grade
    • 9th -12th grade
    Which gender(s) does your STEM program serve? (choose ALL that apply):
    • Girls
    • Boys
    • Transgender and Gender Non Conforming
    Which ethnic/racial populations does your STEM program serve?:
    • African-American
    • Latino
    • Caucasian
    • Asian
    What percentage of your participants are eligible for free or reduced lunch? Percentages can be estimates.*: 76-100%
    Who can participate in your STEM program?: Groups only
    Can your STEM program accommodate youth with special needs?: No


    Do participants need to pay for your STEM program?: No
    Is transportation to and from your program provided?: Yes we give students tokens.



    Please select the applicable categories: Accepting Mentors, Fee Structure, Free, Grade Level, 3 - 6, 7 - 8, and 9 - 12
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