About WSOP

Background

Mr. Webber had some aspects of his scholarship program extremely well conceived. In particular, he was firm that the program must have a community outreach component; specifically, the recipients must not only be women science majors but must also become actively involved in encouraging school age children to learn more about science. In Mr. Webber's words, "Young girls are an untapped resource in science, mathematics, and engineering and therefore they need encouragement and positive role-models so that they will continue to pursue their studies in these areas."

Dr. Christina Brink, PhD, developed the WSOP program in the 1995/96 academic year. She spent that year coordinating all aspects of the implementation of the Webber Scholarship so that it would become a strong academic and community outreach program for Willamette University.

Webber scholarship awards are given to juniors and/or seniors who are declared majors in biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics. During the fall semester of their award, the scholars meet regularly to devise a twelve-week schedule of class sessions, laboratories, and projects for a classroom of students in the selected public school. The scholars are required to participate in an outreach program which enables them to share their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the sciences with children. Each scholar is responsible for developing a month-long series of weekly hands-on activities as well as two or three hour-long class sessions in her field of science. As much as possible, the class sessions are designed and ordered to illustrate the interconnectedness of the fields of science. Hands-on projects, experiments, and demonstrations are planned and tested, and supplies are ordered. Though each scholar is responsible for leading some class sessions individually, several group sessions are also planned. Typically, the first and last meeting with the class are group led, and occasionally two scholars present a session that combines their two fields of science.

There are also other similar programs across the United States, such as the "National Girls Collaborative Project": National Girls Collaborative Project.