Science Buddies

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Science Buddies, formerly the Kenneth Lafferty Hess Family Charitable Foundation, is a non-profit organization that provides a website of free science fair productivity tools and mentoring to support K-12 students in science and engineering research projects, especially for science fairs. Founded in 2001 by engineer and high-tech businessman, Kenneth_Hess, Science Buddies features Project Ideas, Topic Selection Wizard, Project Guide, Teacher Resources, Ask an Expert, and Career Information.

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Science Buddies
Type 501c3 public charity
Founded 2001

Ken Hess, Founder

Courtney Corda, Vice President

Tina Lanese, Vice President

Marisa Montalvo, Director of Development

Dr. Michelle Maranowski, Staff Scientist

Dr. Sandra S. Slutz, Staff Scientist

Kristin M. Strong, Staff Scientist

Dr. David Whyte, Staff Scientist

Debbie Stimpson, Website Editor
Amy Cowen, Online Community Manager

Rebecca Steelman, Editor
Headquarters Carmel, California
Members 10 million K-12 student and teacher visitors


Help students from all walks of life to build literacy in science and technology so they can become productive and engaged citizens in the 21st century. Use hands-on scientific investigations to teach science literacy by providing free science project ideas, answers, and tools to a diverse audience of K-12 teachers, parents, and students.

About Science Buddies[edit]

Noticing how much fun his teenage daughter had participating in science fairs but dismayed to discover a shortage of quality science fair help online, Ken Hess thought science fair "productivity tools" and mentoring would allow many more students to participate in science fairs and develop inspirational relationships with science role models. Over time, such a program would help students improve their science skills and literacy while inspiring them to consider careers in science and engineering. So, in early 2001, Ken Hess started a charity with a mission of developing online tools and support for students doing science fair projects.[1]

In collaboration with high tech companies, government labs and agencies (like NOAA and NASA), universities, and other science education resources, Science Buddies offers scientist-authored tools, tips, and techniques. Dr. Doug Osheroff, (Nobel Prize winning physicist), and Dr. Bernard Harris (retired NASA astronaut) both serve on the Science Buddies scientific advisory board.

Science Buddies is an award-winning website,[2] recommended by educational organizations such as the ALA[3] and the SciLinks program of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).[4] All resources and tools on the Science Buddies website are available free to students and teachers. Science Buddies uses an underwriting model of sponsorship (similar to PBS television) by displaying sponsor recognitions but not commercial advertising. Current corporate sponsors include several Fortune 500 companies, such as Symantec Foundation,[5] Chevron, and Abbott Fund.

Specific tools[edit]

  • Project Ideas is an online library of 1,200+ project ideas which are scientist-authored outlines that help students create a project in 30 different fields of science and engineering. Fields include physical science, behavioral & social science, earth & environmental science, math & computer science, engineering, and other, e.g., digital photography, sports science, and food science.
  • Topic Selection Wizard tool helps students looking for a science project idea by providing personalized results that matches the student's specific interests.
  • Project Guide is a step by step online guide for science research and science fair projects. It includes step-by-step guidance, actual sample assignments, photos of science fair projects, tips for success, and self-grading checklists for students. Also includes tools, techniques, and reference information such as safety guidelines and a section on the engineering process.
  • Teacher Resources were developed to provide teachers with the tools they need to assign, manage, and evaluate a science project program in the classroom. Tools include Teacher's Guide to Science Projects, Teacher's Guide to Science Buddies Student Resources, Science Project Enrichment Tools, Project Guide Printable Handouts and Worksheets, Grading Rubrics, and the Scientific Method Classroom Poster.
  • Ask an Expert online advice forum where scientists and engineers guide students who are doing science and engineering projects. This online bulletin board is staffed by volunteer scientists and high school students who answer science fair project questions.
  • Career Information includes 100 Career Profiles to inform students about science, technology, engineering, and math careers. Profiles demonstrate how the science in the students' science project is used in real-world careers. This library of information includes salary information, links to interviews, and videos made possible through a grant from the Noyce Foundation.



External links[edit]