The Teen Science Café Network is a free choice out-of-school program of science cafes expressly aimed at connecting high school teenagers with real-world science and scientists. The program is proving popular and effective with the teens, and the Network has expanded rapidly; programs are now operating at 31 sites in 20 states. In the Teen Cafe model, scientists, engineers, and technologists engage in lively conversation with teens in a highly social setting, coupled with a relevant hands-on activity. Teens achieve ownership of their local programs via the program’s teen leadership component. Evaluations show that the Teen Cafés significantly increase teens’ understanding of the nature of science, the interesting lives that scientists lead, and the relevance of science in their lives.
The Teen Science Café Network benefits from relationships with science educators and with community organizations. Teen Cafes can be held at a wide variety of venues, including libraries. While most Cafes are wide open in terms of STEM subject matter, they can also have a specific disciplinary focus. The TSCN is in the process of recruiting a new cohort of members from around the country, providing them with professional development and mentoring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org