Community Support Expands Science Booster Clubs’ Reach

In 2017, NCSE’s Science Booster Club program expanded nationally, providing free, engaging educational opportunities to more than 120,000 people in ten states: Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Tennessee, and Texas. Our teacher micro-grant program also went national, with grant opportunities expanding beyond Iowa to all the states where booster clubs are active. Booster club members locally raised and awarded ten micro-grants to teachers in six states. These local fundraising efforts allowed teachers to purchase basic equipment such as scales and thermometers, which their districts could not afford to purchase, to enhance their science education experiences. In all, 3,400 students had enriched science learning experiences because of the impact of the micro-grants.

Those of us who coordinate the science booster clubs are inspired by the number of individuals, supporting organizations and institutions, as well as local businesses that came forward this past year to directly support the science booster clubs in their communities. We’d like to thank everyone who supported our grassroots community events, many of which were in Iowa. My sincere hope is that our work in Iowa will provide a national model for growth and change. As we have seen through the success of our national expansion, that process has already begun.

Enduring Partner: The University of Iowa

Our partner in developing our initial science booster clubs in Iowa deserves special recognition. The University of Iowa provided interns who helped launch science booster clubs, helped us access supplies and technology equipment, and provided space for our staff and volunteers. Our enduring public-private partnership has provided significant service in education to the people of Iowa, and a model for national service.

Science Booster Club Supporters


The PTC Corporation

This generous gift supported supply purchases for the national expansion.

The National Science Foundation (NSF)

Our partner at the University of Iowa, Maurine Neiman, was granted additional NSF funds to support graduate student work on the Science Booster Club Program. Neiman’s support, energy, and incredible ground efforts as well as those of her team, have translated into not only significant funding, but also being recognized for their evolution outreach efforts by receiving the 2017 T. H. Huxley award given by the Society for the Study of Evolution.


Iowa Department of Natural Resources

We want to thank the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for its first grant to our program which will fund education on genetics and evolution across the state of Iowa.

Integrated DNA Technologies: ATCG Community Foundation Grant

For the second year in a row, IDT supported our summer camp in Iowa and allowed our students to tour the company’s facility. We appreciate this opportunity for real-life career modeling for youth who participated in our summer camp.

Steve and Kathie Jenkins

A generous donation from Steve and Kathie Jenkins enabled a veteran intern in Iowa to continue and expand the activities of the Iowa City Science Booster Club over the summer, while I transitioned to NCSE headquarters in Oakland.


Rockwell Collins Green Communities Program

Rockwell Collins has been a strong supporter of our program since 2015. This year, grants from Rockwell Collins funded local education on climate change to thousands of Iowans.


Combined Small Donations

So many people give to the SBC program. Every small donation adds up. Thanks to your support, we make a significant impact across the country.

The UU Church of Ventura

The UU Church of Ventura gave to our internship program, which contributes to graduate student support at the University of Iowa. Our graduate student interns work hard on the ground, running exhibits at locations throughout the state and teaching kids at our summer camp. The congregation’s kind gift not only helped a student, but helped that student reach thousands of other people. 

The European Society for the Study of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)

The ESEB has provided significant financial support to the SBC Program since 2016. This year’s funding has contributed to the development of new evolution-focused exhibits, with an emphasis on the needs of agricultural communities.

University of Iowa Community Credit Union (UICCU)

A regular donor since 2016, the UICCU always gets us over the hump when we need funds for a local education event.

The ACT Corporation

The ACT Corporation once more gave generously to support our science education programs in Iowa.

Hills Bank

Hills Bank, a regular donor since 2016, has helped us bring great education programming to thousands of Iowans in agricultural areas.

In-Kind Donations

Earl May Nursery and Garden Centers

Earl May gave us all the supplies we needed to provide early childhood education on climate change to hundreds of kids across Eastern Iowa.

Iowa City Department of Parks and Recreation

Our friends at Parks and Rec gave us facility access and transportation support to reach underserved kids in Johnson County. We are grateful for its help in providing these opportunities.


Thanks for all the shirts! We wore them with pride.

Do You Want to Give?

You can support the clubs financially here—or send us a postcard. Let us know you care, and what you think your community needs to learn about in 2018.

Emily Schoerning
Short Bio

Emily Schoerning is the former Director of Community Organizing and Research at NCSE.