We’re a team of teachers, youth development professionals, and scientists committed to improving STEM education.


The Next Generation Science Standards introduced a new approach to classroom STEM education- focused on student-driven learning, hands-on investigations, and evidence-based communication. These standards give students a chance to think like scientists and engineers. They do, however, require a radical shift in classroom teaching. Many public school teachers do not feel prepared to bring the Next Generation Science Standards and this new approach to science teaching into their classroom. Science Club Summer Camp was designed to help teachers and students succeed.

Science Club Summer Camp grew from the close collaboration between Chicago Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and Northwestern University. The program gives teachers in-depth and hands-on experience teaching the Next Generation Science Standards along with support from experienced teachers and scientists. At the same time, kids enrolled in the Boys & Girls Clubs summer camp gain additional opportunities to play with science, learn valuable critical thinking and problem solving skills, and get mentorship from caring professionals.


Patty Whitehouse

Engineering Teacher, Chicago Public Schools
Patty’s passion for science began when she was a child hiking in Michigan and looking for fossils in Ohio limestone quarries. She has brought her enthusiasm for science to the field of education for over 25 years. She currently teaches science and engineering to 1st- through 4th-grade students at Goudy Technology Academy in Chicago. She believes in tapping into children’s natural curiosity through hands-on creative learning. She is the author of several books introducing science and engineering to elementary school readers. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, watching eagles and finding fossils.

Emily Mathews

Senior Program Coordinator, Science in Society
Emily loves making science fun, exciting, and accessible for all audiences. She began working with Science in Society in the Spring of 2016. Prior to that, she taught in CPS for ten years before joining the STEM Center at DePaul University as a science instructional coach and NGSS Professional Development Leader. Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with family, napping, knitting, and learning how to garden.

Michael Kennedy, PhD

Research Professor and Director, Science in Society
Growing up with incredibly supportive teachers, coaches, and parents, Mike believes deeply in the magic of mentorship. He is founding director of the Science in Society research center at Northwestern – dedicated to developing world-class STEM learning opportunities for Chicago’s teachers and underserved youth. In his spare time he coaches travel hockey, fishes, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife and three children.

Jennifer Lewin

Science Teacher, Chicago Public Schools
Jen Lewin has recently joined Science in Society full time to work on K-8 STEM programs and partnerships. Previously, Jen was a middle school Science Lead in Chicago and is currently completing her second master’s degree in education technology & urban STEM learning at Michigan State University. She has been a Master Teachers in NASA’s Precipitation Education program and awarded a National Science Teacher’s Association New Science Teacher Fellowship. She previously won a scholarship through Honeywell for the Educator at Space Camp Program, and has presented at multiple educator conferences including NSTA and the National Institutes of Health.

Anita Douglas

Program Director, Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club
Anita is very passionate about developing youth programs that teach skills needed for success in life. She likes to build relationships with youth to empower them to make positive choices. Anita is Program Director at the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club. You can call her a “fashionista” because she enjoys shopping. She is a true fan of the Chicago Bears!

Fernando Lopez

Program Director, True Value Boys & Girls Club
Fernando Lopez has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago since 2003, implementing and supporting enriching youth development programs. Fernando is currently the Club Director at the True Value Boys & Girls Club in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. His excitement for science projects reignited when he watched an 11-year-old club member extract DNA from a strawberry as part of Northwestern’s Jr. Science Club! In his spare time, Fernando coaches youth baseball and loves to spend time with his family and BBQ!


Science Club Summer Camp is an educational research study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director (#5R25GM129223)

Science Club Summer Camp is led by Science in Society – a Northwestern University center dedicated to leveling the playing field for Chicago and Evanston’s underserved youth. The Center has thirteen science education programs serving youth from grades 2-12 across Chicagoland.