ACS Science Coaches

What is an ACS Science Coach?

ACS Science Coaches are chemistry professionals who share their expertise and enthusiasm for science with an elementary, middle, or high school teacher over the course of one school year.

As volunteers, science coaches visit a school to assist one teacher at least 6 times during one school year. Some coaches work behind the scenes, while others prefer to interact with students. They may help the teacher plan, assist during labs, present lessons, or mentor small groups of students. Each partnership is a little different with each chemist and teacher deciding together how they will combine their expertise and interests to improve the science education experiences of students. 

Who Can Be a Science Coach?

If you are a graduate student, working professionals, or retiree, you can be a Science Coach! ACS Science Coaches are women, men, parents, grandparents, former students, and community members in traditional and nontraditional fields of chemistry. Regardless of your career path or stage, all coaches share a knowledge and love of chemistry, a personal desire to give back, and a great respect for teachers.

  • Chemist-teacher partners must reside in the United States or territories.
  • Chemist-teacher partners who are married to one another will not be eligible for the grant.

How to Become a Science Coach

Find out how to become an ACS Science Coach in three easy steps!

Can a Science Coach Assist at Any School?

Chemists choose the school where they would like to volunteer. Some chemists choose a school where they know a teacher or student, however, most choose a school where they have little to no personal connection.

Science Coaches assist in public, private, and charter schools across the United States. They are in urban, suburban, and rural schools. They assist elementary, middle, and high school teachers with their chemistry, biology, astronomy, earth science, environmental science, and general science classes.

Some science coaches prefer to work with students already doing advanced work in chemistry, while others feel more useful at a school with few resources and many underprivileged students. Regardless of where or who a chemist chooses to assist, s/he makes a positive impact on the science education experiences of the teacher and students.

Program Benefits

Althought chemists assist teachers without participating in the program, there are several advantages to joining a larger group of chemists who volunteer to support science education.

  1. Establish credibility with school administrators
    Chemists say having the support of their professional organization (ACS) provides them with credibility when initially meeting with principals and teachers. School professionals may be skeptical of outsiders who offer to interact with their students. Learning that a chemist is part of a larger program which has sponsored successful partnerships in other schools nationwide encourages school personnel to consider a chemist’s offer to assist.
  2. Secure a small grant for the school
    ACS offers a grant of $500 for the partnering teacher to use to purchase science supplies or provide science experiences for the students. Regardless of the school, there is always a need. Most teachers choose to purchase general supplies for the lab or items for particular demonstrations or lessons.
  3. Motivate the chemist and teacher to work together
    Chemists say that being part of this larger effort encourages them to assist a teacher more than they would have otherwise. The verbal contract between the coach, teacher, and ACS motivates the coach to make this volunteer effort a priority. It also invites the teacher to identify specific science-related projects, tasks, and questions for the chemist.