Junior’s Science Outreach Program lets kids do hands-on experiments

By Keane Muraoka-Robertson

A lack of funding in his elementary school’s science program, inspired Brian Jun ’13 to create a program that would give students at underfunded schools the opportunity to conduct science experiments. After proposing the Science Outreach Program last year, Jun has begun to work with local schools, along with Anser Abbas ’14 and Justin Bae ’14.

“My past has really influenced me to give back to the community that supported me socially and emotionally, and I could think of no better way than to start introducing real-life science to students at a very young age,” Jun said.

Every month, SOP works with nonprofit organizations that sponsor extracurricular activates for children in low-income families.

“The mission is to reach out to as many students as possible and perform experiments with them, using the near-unlimited resources that only Harvard-Westlake can provide,” Jun said. “In our lectures, we really try to emphasize the combination of fun and comedic elements with the detailed scientific theory behind each concept.”

Recent experiments involve squid dissections and the use of non-Newtonian fluids.

SOP will soon be exploring bioremediation by investigating oil-eating bacteria and will also have the opportunity to work hands-on with the AIDS virus, Jun said.

Jun hopes his pilot program will continue after he graduates.

“The reason I seek to work with sophomores is because they are the ones who will continue this program.” Jun said. “My job is to lay the foundations and firmly establish the program while expanding it as much as possible this year, but the future generation will be responsible for maintaining this program and building upon the foundation that we create this year.”

Jun attributes the success of the program to the support of Upper School Science Department Chair Larry Axelrod.

Recently, The Korea Times ran an article recognizing Jun’s efforts.

“[I] hope the publicity we receive will help spread our mission and start a wave of more programs with similar missions not just at the local level, but possibly to the national level,” Jun said.

“I believe this program is beneficial to our school because it targets a group of students never before tapped into: intelligent scientists and mathematicians who have a genuine interest in stepping out of the classroom and the laboratory in hopes of bringing tangible change to our society,” Jun said. “More importantly, the program really breaks the stereotype of the scientist.”

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