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 project productivity tools and mentoring to support K-12 students, especially for science fairs. Founded in 2001 by engineer and high-tech businessman, Kenneth Hess, Science Buddies features STEM content and services to assist students and educators. Since its founding, it has expanded its original mission to provide teacher resources targeted for classroom and science fair use.

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Science Buddies
Type 501c3 public charity
Founded 2001

Ken Hess, Founder and President

Jayme Burke, Vice President of Development

Tina Lanese, Vice President of E-Commerce

Hugo Paz, Chief Software Architect

Dr. Sandra S. Slutz, Director of Science

Sabine Dukes, Controller

Constance Irish Hess, Chief Financial Officer

Debbie Stimpson, Website Editor

Amy Cowen, Online Community Manager

Debbie Stimpson, Website Editor and Programmer

Dan Mizuba, Quality Assurance Manager and IT Manager
Headquarters Milpitas, California
Members 12 million K-12 student and teacher visitors


Science Buddies mission is to help students to build their literacy in science and technology so they can become productive and engaged citizens in the 21st century.

The site has personalized learning tools, over 15,000 pages of scientist-developed subject matter (including experiments based on the latest academic research), and an online community of science professionals who volunteer to advise students.

Science Buddies also provides resources to support parents and teachers as they guide students seeking out and performing science projects. They attempt to provide a bridge between scientists, engineers, educators, and students, giving students access to current scientific research and simultaneously giving scientists a way to reach out to young people interested in their fields.

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 information. Current corporate sponsors include several major companies, such as Best Buy, Cisco, Genentech, and Toyota USA Foundation.

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., big data, 3D design, 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 fair and project program in the classroom. Tools include:
  • 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, engineers, and students who answer science project questions.
  • Career Information includes 160 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]