Marcelo Caplan- Chosen as One of the Most Influential STEM figures of 2015

10984476_461846130629526_3302356706515863163_nBig news for the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program! Marcelo Caplan, Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, was chosen as one of the most influential Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) figures of 2015 by the National After School Association (NAA) and  featured in After School Today magazine.

Caplan was recognized, along with 16 other STEM professionals, for enriching the educational experience of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and for promoting STEM in communities through the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program, Family Science Day, STEAM Conference and Scientists for a Day program at Columbia College Chicago. “The ideal of our organization is that STEM is a human right that everybody needs to be able to understand and use it to improve their quality of life,” Caplan, 51, said.

It’s an honor and an accomplishment for Scientists for Tomorrow to have Caplan be a STEM figure among professionals such as, astronaut and S.T.E.A.M promoter, Leland D. Melvin, and Anita Krishnamurthi, Vice President of STEM Policy for Afterschool Alliance.

For Caplan, this recognition goes beyond a personal achievement. “I believe that our program is achieving a goal that is to promote STEM in the communities, and many other people are looking at our program as a possible model to be replicated in different communities around the country,” Caplan said. Caplan will continue to work hard to promote STEM programs and enrich student’s educational experience.

After School Today Magazine.pdf

“Music in STEM” Spring Camp: Music to Our Ears

More than 40 students from various Chicago Public Schools (CPS), including Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, Corliss High School, Lake View High School and Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School, attended the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) “Music in STEM” spring camp from April 6-8th.

The program, hosted by the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) in partnership with After School Matters (ASM), gave high school students the opportunity to experience a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) college workshop taught by Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, and Evelyn Oropeza, SfT Program Coordinator. CCC undergraduates and SfT staff members Daniela Cortez, Tyler Davis, Filip Zadro, Maria Dantas, Jose Perez and Andrea Salcedo, along with graduate student Ignacio Mendez, also contributed in the building process.

For three full days, the students focused on building a well-tuned diatonic scale xylophone, and an electric organ based on fundamental electricity principles, which facilitated their understanding of the relationship between STEM and music.

Sixteen-year-old Lake View High School sophomore student, Oleh Lemishka, described the experience as eye opening and enriching. “I had never thought about music and science combined. In 15 hours I found the connection between these things,” Lemishka said.

Lemishka discovered the relationship between STEM and music, but was already aware of the advantage STEM programs offer him for the future. “It brought me a lot of college experience which is going to be helpful in two years. I experienced the pace of work of a college professor,” Lemishka said. Lemishka will continue exploring STEM courses during high school and plans to study a STEM related career in college.

For 15-year-old Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School student, Marvin Gladney, this learning opportunity was a challenging “roller coaster.” Gladney talked about the difference between high school teachers and college professors. “It was challenging at first because he (Caplan) is fast. Nothing like elementary school or high school where they take you hand by hand. You have to actually get it and earn it,” Gladney said. Gladney was glad he took the risk of applying and summed up his experience in his first STEM spring camp as full of “friendship, organization and cooperation.”

After 15 hours of building and learning, showtime was here! Students were ready to showcase the product of their work and the valuable lessons they took from the camp in front of their parents, teachers, SfT staff and distinguished representatives of ASM.

Anxiety was building up. Perfectly tuned xylophones served as background music. “I hear the xylophones, they sound in tune,” Marcelo said as he initiated the showcase.

The evening was followed by the presentation of a short video edited by Dave Morton, Director of CCC’s visualization lab, summarizing the student’s experience in the camp.

Then,  two students took the stage and shouted “1, 2, 1, 2, 3, go!” as they played “Mary had a Little Lamb” with their brand new xylophones. Other students talked about how the spring camp emphasized teamwork, organization, independency and most importantly linked the path between high school and college. “It wasn’t easy at all, it took time and knowledge,” said one of the students.

While the students took away valuable skills from the camp, their journey to college is only beginning! Scientists for Tomorrow and After School Matters are looking forward to seeing these dedicated students return and participate in the ComEd Youth Ambassadors and Junior Research Scientists programs next summer 2015!


Northeastern Illinois University together with Columbia College Chicago, would like to extend to you a formal invitation to be part of  our fifth annual STEAM Conference May 2, 2015, held at Northeastern Illinois University located on 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago, IL 60625 at 10:00am.

The STEAM conference provides youth and their families with a non-risk environment explore activities fostering  Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Architecture/Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM), as well as introduce them to careers related to STEAM. Through student-led, project-based, and career-oriented workshops, the STEAM conference gives the opportunity for participants to increase their motivation to pursue careers in STEM.

To register for the event visit

STEAM conference flyer 2015











Filip Zadro – Clinton Global Initiative CGIU

Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) would like to congratulate one of its staff members, Filip Zadro for the  national recognition he has achieved for his environment-friendly project that helps areas that lack a safe source of water.

Filip is a senior audio arts and acoustics major who was chosen to represent Columbia College Chicago at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU). CGIU is an annual conference that selects students from colleges and universities from all parts of the country to come together and discuss and present solutions to global issues.

There, Filip had the chance to present his project, a system that provides poverty-stricken communities around the world with access to clean water. In developing this project, Filip worked closely with both Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of SfT and David Morton, Director of the Science and Visualization Lab.

SfT is sincerely proud of Filip’s achievements and trusts that he will continue to make great strides in the world.

Teaching is a Process, It’s not a Factory

Scientists for Tomorrow’s (SfT) third round of Professional Development (PD) workshops, which focused on building a solar powered car to explain the module of  “Alternative Energy,” took place on Saturday March 7th, 2015.

Instructors from 8 different Chicago Public Schools (CPS) who just integrated into the SfT program for the Winter 2015 quarter, arrived at Columbia College Chicago’s 623 Wabash building and enjoyed a quick Dunkin Donut breakfast.

After the instructors were powered by coffee and donuts, Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor of the Science and Mathematics Department and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, took the lead.  Around 9:00 AM Marcelo gave out the lessons plans to the instructors and started the workshop with a PEP talk explaining the programs main goal, which is to promote science and technology in the communities. “We promote kids, we don’t promote institutions.” Marcelo said.

Marcelo also showed the instructors the different resources the web page: has to offer. He also displayed some videos of past activities like the last “Family Science Day” at the Field Museum, where more than 600 kids and parents from 25 communities attended.

He encouraged the instructors to watch the video tutorials, read the handbooks, and follow our social media accounts to learn more about the program and get the best out of this educational experience. “We’re not judging you or evaluating you. Our task is to support you.” Marcelo told his audience.

“This is not your bible, this is your guide.” Marcelo said as he pointed to the lesson plans. Even though the tutorials are complete and the lesson by lessons are concrete, instructors are encouraged to try the experiments before class and contribute with their own creative ideas.  Our program not only focuses on the kids and the community, but also enlightens instructors and guides them through the teaching process.

At 10:00 AM everyone was out of their seats. All of the instructors along with CCC students Jose Perez, Martin Bayang, Maria Dantas and Andrea Salcedo, who also collaborate with SfT program by filming, photographing or writing about SfT events, participated in various games and activities.

“You have 1 minute to figure out how to light the lamps!”  “Make the buzzer work!” Marcelo yelled. At first, most of the participants had no idea how to complete these challenges, but by trial and error they eventually succeeded. This is one of the principles of our organization, let the kids learn as they experience by themselves.

Participants bumped each other as they passed energy charges in the “human energy circuit” dynamic, wrote paragraphs describing how their lives would be without energy, measured the voltage and current of lamps, and drew lamp circuits on the board. With these activities Marcelo explained most of the energy concepts and emphasized why it’s necessary to use alternative energy to preserve our non-renewable resources.

After a quick lunch break, construction time was finally here!  Marcelo gave out the materials and everyone started building their solar cars as a team. He didn’t just say “Cut and paste this here.”  Marcelo guided the instructors through the process and taught them the importance of every part of the car.

The table was full of saws, soldiering machines, batteries, wires, wheels and lots of glue! With the song  “I feel good” as the background music, participants measured and cut the dowels and paste the frames and even soldered the wires of the car.

By 4:00 pm, all of the participants had a smile on their faces as they looked with amusement at their creative product.  The base of the car was ready!

As the day came to an end, Marcelo had a brief talk with the instructors where everyone agreed this had been a unique learning and bonding experience. “At the end we worked as a team. We united as a community,” said one of the instructors.

After a long day of work, every instructor left with their toolbox and cardboard box ready to teach what they had just learned to their students!

Andrea Salcedo
SfT- Staff Journalism Student

To check out the pictures follow: SfTinitiative

Building the Xylophone February 21st PD

The Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program held their second Professional Development (PD) for this academic semester, for the module Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music. The PD was held Saturday, February 21st 2015 with thirty-six instructors from twenty-eight sites in attendance. In adittion we had a guest speaker, Linda Keane, from and Yahvi Pichardo from Rush Hour Music participating in the PD.

Several SfT student leaders from Columbia College Chicago attended the PD to document the event and help the instructors. Jose Perez and Martin Bayang, both Film majors and SFT videographers, took video of the PD to produce tutorials needed as a resource tool for instructors. Maria Dantas, a first year photography student took photos of the PD, while  Filip Zadro and Tyler Davis, both Audio majors and SfT instructors at Shields Middle School, participated in guiding instructors during the building process of the xylophone.  Daniela Cortes, a Film student was also in attendance, working side by side as the associate coordinator for the program  with Evelyn Oropeza and Marcelo Caplan.

Marcelo, associate professor in the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, began the PD at 9:00am by explaining the mathematics behind the construction of the wind chimes that were built during the last PD. Marcelo then moved along to the main lesson: the building of the xylophone. Instructors began the construction process at 11:00am, teaming up into groups of five to efficiently complete the xylophone on time.

There was a break halfway through the construction for a presentation on www. given by Linda Keane, the creator of the website. Linda explained how her website explores digital media by leading students on a journey through across the board activities such as nanotechnology, architecture and ecology. The website is offered as a tool for instructors to guide students through the “five goals of environmental education:  Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes and Environmental Ethic, Citizen Action Skills and Citizen Action Experiences.”

After Linda’s presentation, instructors continued to work on their xylophones. Many instructors who have been through the Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music module before finished early and proceeded to help other participants who were still working. Some instructors finished constructing their xylophones as early as 12:30pm while others took the full four hours to complete theirs.

The PD ended at 2:00pm as intended. The SFT team will follow up the PD by sharing the Activity Journal folders with those who did not have access to the file and with new instructors. For more information on how you can get involved visit


Lyric Opera presents Carousel

Coming this April,  Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) and Community Organizations implementing the Winter 2015 module, will participate for a special event at the Lyric Opera to watch  Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical, Carousel.

Carousel tells the story of carnival barker Billy Bigelow who gets a second chance to live and redeem his life as he returns to his wife and daughter he once left behind.

Contact your site Resource Coordinator for SfT special event information. For information about shows at the Lyric Oper, visit:


Destination Chicago: Winter Break Success

Scientists for Tomorrow would like to thank the Chicago City of Learning and the HIVE Network for inviting us to present at Destination Chicago: Winter Break. The event held on January 24, 2015, hosted workshops and many hands on learning activities from many organizations from across Chicago and suburbs.

Children and teens who attended the event received digital badges through the Chicago City of Learning, and had the chance to be entered to win raffle prizes.

Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT), collaborated by doing a make and take activity where participants built their own night light devices using LED’s and florescent beads. (See below for pictures).  Through the Chicago City of Learning, SfT was also invited to give a glimpse of the activity for a special news segment on Destination Chicago for WGN-TV, along with Best Buy’s Geek Squad and Witchcraft Workshop.

For more information about future Destination Chicago events go to:
To see more pictures of the event go to:

WGN-TV News Segment: Destination Chicago: Winter Break
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8th grade/High school Spring 2015 Programs

2015 Spring Programs- 8th Grade Girls
After School Matters (ASM) is looking for 8th grade girls who attend James Hedges Elementary to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) after school program, Scientists for Tomorrow. Girls must attend Hedges in order to participate.
- Learn about the Physics of Music and build three musical instruments using hand tools.
- Participate and present at the STEAM Conference May 2, 2015 where they will get a certificate and recommendation letter.
- Visit and explore the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for free with their families at the Family Science Day May 23, 2015
- Learn about other programs where high school teens get paid to learn and have FUN through After School Matters!

High School Teen STEM Program
The Junior Research Scientists program at Columbia College Chicago is looking for teens interested in learning about Astronomy, Solar Energy and other STEM related topics. The program begins in February and runs Tuesday and Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30pm at Columbia College Chicago.
- Design, engineer, and build solar power and astronomy based projects!
- Conduct college level research and science projects in a college setting. Gain real work experience and work with established scientists.
- Teens conduct collaborative research projects and increase their competence in conducting scientific investigations by designing and building personalized products such as a programmable solar powered rover and a desktop planetarium (nanotarium).
- Participants present their results of their engineering designs and research through oral presentations supplemented with PowerPoint slides and physical models in a public symposium at the College. The symposium is attended by participants’ friends and family, members of the scientific, engineering, and artistic communities, and the community at large.
- Attend and present at the STEAM Conference May 2, 2015
To apply register at
Look for: Junior Research Scientists-Columbia College Chicago
This is an Advanced Apprenticeship and participants will be eligible for a small stipend through After school Matters. For more information contact





Lyric Opera: “Carousel” Cultural Afternoon

More than 250 students from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) accepted Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) invitation and attended Chicago’s Lyric Opera on May 18th for an afternoon full of theater, culture and learning. Students along with parents and instructors got a chance to see “Carousel”, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical play.

Before the presentation, attendees got the opportunity to experience theater from backstage. Students listened to a pre-presentation where they learned theater and opera secrets, microphones’ location and function, frequency of sound on stage and special effects.

Thirteen-year-old Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School student, Cynthia Sadie Morales, was surprised to learn about the secrets behind a musical play and had very high expectations of the show. “Not a lot of people have the opportunity to be coming here. You get to experience something new that you don’t experience everyday,” Morales said.

Frida Kahlo Community Organization instructor, Ikeem Jones, also appreciated the opportunity Sft organization gave his students from Edward N. Hurley Fine & Performing Arts Magnet. “I think it’s amazing because I didn’t come to the opera until I was 24, it’s good to be cultured,” Jones said.

Parents also took advantage of this cultural opportunity.This was Ines Montero, mother of two,  first time at the opera “It’s a great investment because children should learn to love theater from a young age, that way we plant a seed for them to be future artists,” Montero said.

Claps and a standing ovation were the conclusion of a cultural afternoon where students,parents and instructors took advantage of a unique occasion thanks to Scientists for Tomorrow initiative.