NSF Grant Courses: 2011-2012

This page provides information for volunteers about the kinds of readers we need for our new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses developed under NSF Grant DUE-1043674. (You can read the grant proposal summary here if you’re interested.)

These courses will all require volunteers with scientific or technical backgrounds of various sorts. Depending on the course, volunteers will need experience ranging from environmental policy making to engineering management to programming. For some of these courses volunteers will work with individual students, while in others readers will be matched with student teams. Our expectations for volunteer commitment is generally aroung 4-6 hours over the semester.

If you are considering volunteering for one of these courses, please look over the list below, paying special attention to the details under “Reader Requirements.” We especially welcome volunteers who, recognizing the innovative nature of this project, can provide us with feedback and ideas for how to make it work better in the future.

If you think you might be a good fit one or more of these courses, please email us, stating the course number(s) and name(s). And if you haven’t previously signed up as a reader, please also go to our home page and click on the ALUMNI AND EMPLOYEE SIGN UP button to add you name to our volunteer pool.

If you’re not a good match for one of these courses, but you’d like to be informed about volunteer opportunities for other Reader Project courses, please as your name to our volunteer pool via our home page.


Fall 2011 Semester

Computer Science 161.1: iPhone Application Program Design and Construction

A new course in programming project management using iPad and iPhone application development as a way of learning project management. Each student team will use an iPad to test and develop an application for their semester project, developed for a client.

What are students writing? 
(1) project plan; (2) design documentation

Readers needed: Two sets of readers: (1) Recent programming experience; (2) Any professional IT experience. (If you are volunteering for this course, please tell us for which writing project–1 or 2.)


Biology 274:Genomic Perspectives on Human Evolution

Human evolutionary history as studied from the perspective of the genome. Nature of contemporary genomic data and how they are interpreted in the context of the fossil record, comparative anatomy, psychology, and cultural studies. Examination of both the origin of modern humans as a distinct species and subsequent migration across the world. Emphasis on language, behavior, and disease susceptibility as traits of particular evolutionary interest.

What are students writing? Grant proposal for research project

Readers needed: basic knowledge of genetics and molecular biology, preferably with experience in anthropology, genomics, public health or medicine


Environmental Science 101: Integrated Environmental Science and Policy

Interaction between the natural and the social systems as they relate to the environment.  Focus on ecological and earth system cycles, processes, and fundamental relationships.  The environmental impact of human-induced change at the local, regional, and global levels.  The role of technology and the policy process in determining how environmental problems evolve and are addressed.  Use of ethical analysis to evaluate environmental tradeoffs. Use of case studies to integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives on environmental problems and to address issues of environmental justice.

What are students writing? Policy Memos

Readers needed: Environmental science or policy background


Engineering 20L: Engineering Innovation

Introduces freshmen to the process of team-based creative conceptualization, visualization prototyping, and product realization. Students use computer-aided design tools to create custom circuit boards and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machined components to produce prototype systems. Design concepts are introduced and supported through hands-on assignments.

What are students writing? (1) problem description, (2) design proposal

Readers needed: Training in engineering, plus experience in management, venture capital, corporate officer, etc.



Spring 2012 Semester

Chemistry 168L: Physical Chemistry Laboratory 

Laboratory experiments in physical chemistry, including quantum chemistry, molecular structure, molecular spectroscopy, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

What are students writing? Journal-style research report

Readers needed: Basic knowledge of undergrad physical chemistry