Columbia Students

Sci-Inspire Volunteer Training Session.
Sci-Inspire Volunteer Training Session. Photo Credit: Tomi Akingbola

The Outreach Programs Office supports Columbia students who volunteer their time, passion, and content knowledge to inspire young STEM learners in the local neighborhood. We train undergraduate and graduate students to be effective communicators, mentors, and educators.

We also advise student groups with outreach and education as their core mission; we connect groups with local schools and educators; and we provide physical and financial support for existing groups’ outreach activities and events.

To engage busy Columbia students, Outreach Programs offers one-time events for those not able to make a regular commitment, as well as ongoing programming for those who want to develop a stronger bond with young students.

To learn more about the outreach programs and get involved, visit our program page.

Volunteer Development

Through a process-based approach, participants will explore an intellectual framework for research mentoring, have opportunities for reflection on mentoring skills, and a forum to solve mentoring dilemmas and share strategies for success.

The research mentor training workshop may include the following competencies:

  • Maintaining effective communication
  • Establishing expectations
  • Assessing understanding
  •  Addressing equity and inclusion
  •  Promoting professional development
  •  Fostering independence

The Protection of Minors training is an online module provided by Columbia University Human Resources that all CU affiliates must complete if they are interacting with children under the age of 18. All volunteers working in an Engineering Outreach program or student group need to complete this training before engaging with children. Protection of Minors certifications last for 2 years from the date of completion.

PoM trainings must be done in-person with the Engineering Outreach office and usually take about 30 minutes to complete.  The Engineering Outreach office can schedule group and individual trainings throughout the year. Email engineeringoutreach@columbia.edu to schedule a time to complete the training.

Volunteers who are entering K-12 schools on a regular basis (attending a school at least three times in a year) need to go through an additional layer of clearance before engaging in service. Regular school-based volunteers must complete fingerprinting with the NYC Department of Education. Fingerprint clearance remains valid indefinitely and only needs to be completed once.

Outreach Programs arranges an on-campus fingerprinting session at least once a year.