Pitt Volunteers Overview

Pitt Volunteers Overview

If you ever had an inspirational teacher, role model or mentor, you probably still remember how important they were to you. Perhaps you had a teacher who gave you challenging math problems that really got you thinking, or you heard a talk by an astrophysicist who opened your eyes to the wonders of the universe. If you're a scientist, chances are someone encouraged you or provided a unique hands-on opportunity that got you excited about science - and helped you to realize your potential while giving you the confidence to explore your dreams.

At the University of Pittsburgh we recognize the numerous contributions of students, staff, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and faculty in the Schools of the Health Sciences are essential to help create dynamic science education programs. As volunteers, each of these dedicated individuals serve as positive role models for the next generation of students, their teachers, and community supporters.

If you are a student, postdoctoral fellow, resident, clinical fellow, staff member, or faculty member in the Schools of the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, the Office of Science Education Outreach, Health Sciences, invites you to consider becoming a PITT Health Science Volunteer.

Entering Mentoring Training: Becoming a Mentor for High School and Undergraduate Students - this workshop is currently unavailable; however, the other opportunities described below are available.

The goal of this program is to assist participants with accelerating the process of learning to be a mentor. This workshop will provide new mentors with an intellectual framework for mentoring, an opportunity to experiment and try approaches to the mentee-mentor relationship, and a forum in which to explore and resolve mentoring dilemmas with the help of peers. To learn more and to register for this workshop, visit the Entering Mentoring page. Registration is now open for the winter session.

How to Get Involved

If you are interested in serving as a PITT Health Science Volunteer, consider starting with a local activity in your community and/or school district. You might offer your knowledge and expertise to help a teacher in Grades K-12. You may alternatively, consider helping a school student to realize their potential in math or science by becoming a mentor. Even an email of encouragement from a “real” scientist can help inspire a young student.

Please see the Discover page for Grades K-12 student opportunities and the Explore page for Undergraduate student research opportunities to look for ways you can contribute to an ongoing program that explains how science works.

Background checks are required for anyone who will have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children. The clearances required are: 1) Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse History Clearance; 2) Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check; and 3) FBI Criminal Record Check. Please visit the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Provost website for more information.

The School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs also has information on the University's policies regarding Child Protection Clearances.

Volunteer Opportunities

Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania is a youth development organization designed to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement programs are taught in grades K-12 by volunteers from the local professional business community. Each year, over 3,000 volunteers in Western PA from diverse backgrounds - high school and college students, corporate citizens, parents, and community leaders - lend their time and energy to equip students with the tools necessary to succeed in a competitive economy by teaching Junior Achievement programs in the classroom. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of our future leaders by volunteering your time to teach for the day, please contact Amanda Laichak at alaichak@jawesternpa.org

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair would not be possible without volunteers like you! They need more than 1,000 judges, 500 general volunteers, and 200 interpreters in multiple languages in order to make this event successful. This year's event will be held in Los Angeles, CA. Volunteer opportunities will begin as early as Thursday, May 8 and the need will vary by day throguh Friday, May 16. Learn more

The Summer Science Program is seeking innovative, college-level curricula to expand its residential program for motivated and gifted high school students. Authors of two selected curricula will each be awarded the $2,000 Curriculum Prize and additional funding to test and launch their curricula. Proposal summaries are due by May 31, 2014. Learn more


English Communication for Scientists is a brief guide on how to communicate more effectively in English, no matter how much previous experience you have. Although it was developed with non-native speakers of English in mind, it should prove useful for native speakers, too. Organized as six self-contained units, it will help you understand basic communication strategies and address various audiences (Unit 1); design and draft not only scientific papers (Unit 2) but also e-mail, resumes, and short reports (Unit 3); structure, support, and deliver oral presentations (Unit 4); create and present posters, chair sessions, and participate in panels (Unit 5); and prepare, run and evaluate classroom sessions (Unit 6). Learn more

The University of Pittsburgh's Office of Enterprise Development (OED) is the business development arm of technology transfer at the University. The OED, in partnership with the Office of Technology Management, helps to develop start-up companies that use innovations developed by Pitt Innovators. Learn More

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers leads an effort to reduce the barriers and difficulties that women encounter during their careers on the biomedical and research sciences. The website states that "[A]  report found that women face institutional and environmental barriers to advancement at all career stages and called for broad, innovative action from universities, professional societies, and government funding agencies."  For more information on how the group works to eliminate these difficulties, you may visit the website here. To view their past and current newsletter updates, please click to learn more.

Resources for Volunteers

The National Institute of General Medicine Sciences (NIGMS) division of the NIH offers free PDF publications in a variety of science topics. The NIH encourages the use of these materials in order to teach and mentor high school and college students, with some even geared towards middle school students. Educators from a variety of backgrounds can make use of these free materials! Learn more

Become a PITT Health Science Volunteer

If you have questions or a general inquiry, staff members in the Office of Science Education Outreach (OSEO), Health Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh are available to answer your questions. Please send us an email and we will do our best to answer your questions and provide you with appropriate information.

Contact Information:

Victoria Groce, Project Coordinator
Suite M-240 Scaife Hall
3350 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Office: 412-648-9000 
Fax: 412-648-9065