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Northwestern MRSEC Graduate Students Host Virtual Science for Seniors Program

Olga Ricketts-Peart is not what she calls a “science person.” But she loves science anyway.

The 77-year-old has been attending “Science with Seniors,” a program offered at the Levy Senior Center in Evanston that’s gone online in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third Thursday of each month, graduate students from Northwestern University meet virtually with seniors from the Levy Center for lectures on science and technology, topics that range from sleep to solar cells.

“It’s a good, brief overview on how these topics affect their lives as adults and seniors,” says Tim Carter, program coordinator of the Levy Center. “And it’s a good way for the Northwestern students to reach out and share what they have learned about their studies.”

The idea for the program came from Suyog Padgaonkar, a chemistry student working on a doctorate at Northwestern. When Padgaonkar started at the university in 2016, he saw that most of the outreach opportunities offered revolved around kids.

He says he wanted to reach the older, voting population because it seemed there was a lot of misinformation among that group.

“In terms of being able to provide information for people who currently vote, it just felt like that opportunity was a little bit lacking,” Padgaonkar says. “So the simple idea was to reach out to senior citizens because they vote a lot.”

Continue reading "Northwestern graduate students host virtual, monthly science talks with seniors" by Michael Lee, Chicago Sun Times.