"Aha" Moments

<div style="color:#FFFFFF;">Scientists in the classroom...</div>

Scientists in the classroom...

dissecting sheep’s eyes, building and launching rockets, isolating DNA from a strawberry…and more.

<div style="color:#FFFFFF;">Teaching critical thinking...</div>

Teaching critical thinking...

and how to be a science detective, helping students to learn how to more closely observe the world around them.

<div style="color:#FFFFFF;">Engaging all children in learning...</div>

Engaging all children in learning...

with the joyful hands-on discovery of the amazing natural world around them - in the classroom and on field trips.

<div style="color:#FFFFFF;">Inspiring career aspirations...</div>

Inspiring career aspirations...

in STEM fields ranging from medicine to astrophysics, chemistry to entomology, opening a future of possibilities.

Working Side by Side

Science Alliance scientists conduct experiments and lead field trips with District 97 3rd-8th graders.

Working alongside experts in scientific fields, our students learn that science has practical applications that smart, interesting adults in their community use in their work every day.

Our exciting roster of visiting scientists includes environmental scientists from the EPA, a cardiologist from Children’s Memorial Hospital, an astronomer from IIT and an evolutionary biologist from the University of Chicago. Working side by side with these professionals, our students learn that science has many practical applications that smart, interesting adults in their community use in their work every day.
Scientists, students and teachers in Science Alliance classrooms run experiments and take field trips together. Putting the scientific process into action inspires some students to consider careers in science, and inspires all students to look more closely and critically at the world around them.



engages children with real scientists


engenders discovery and critical thinking skills


inspires students to consider careers in science

<div style="color:#FFF; font-weight: normal;">District 97 Teacher</div>

District 97 Teacher

“There isn't any other part of our curriculum that is like this. It gives students a glimpse into a very specific world of science through a person who is making a career of it, but it also carries over into our everyday science units in school. I appreciate the time the scientists give this program.”

<div style="color:#FFF; font-weight: normal;">Science Alliance Scientist</div>

Science Alliance Scientist

"It really gives me a great feeling afterwards to be able to share my knowledge and to give back to the community and school."

<div style="color:#FFF; font-weight: normal;">District 97 Teacher</div>

District 97 Teacher

"Students were engaged in scientific discovery, had access to scientific content outside my expertise, learned from a professional scientist, and saw me as a learner as well."

<div style="color:#FFF; font-weight: normal;">Science Alliance Student</div>

Science Alliance Student

"I used to think science was boring. I love science now because of [our Science Alliance scientist]. I wish we had more time with him. I'd trade recess for more time with him."


Science Alliance News

Back to the Birds at Irving

For over five years falconer and scientist Craig Hendee has been swooping in to Oak Park schools with his Peregrine […]

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Beye, Hatch, and Longfellow Visit with Scientists

Around here, April showers don’t just bring flowers, they bring scientists! On April 3, Dr. Elizabeth Goodman visited Ms. Baker’s […]

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Getting Our Science On

Oak Park has a surprising amount of scientists living in our small village, and OPEF is thrilled to be able […]

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man at front of class

4th Graders Learn to Fall Fast

Dr. David Kupperman of Argonne National Labs gave Whittier 4th graders some hands-on experiences with gravity and its affects on […]

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"We Can’t Do It Without You"

$100 pays for a year-long residency with a Science Alliance scientist.

Donate Now

Seth Baker

Seth Baker

Science Alliance Coordinator / sbaker@op97.org

Seth has been teaching 6th-8th grades in Oak Park since 1994. He has participated in Science Alliance every year, and has coordinated the Science Alliance program (formerly known as Global Village) since 2005. A Golden Apple winner, Seth is also a member of the Educational Advisory Board of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Research Experience for Teachers program. He lives in Oak Park, has three children in the District 97 schools, and his wife teaches K-1st grade in District 97.

Heather Guido

Heather Guido

Science Alliance Co-Cordinator / hguido@opef.org

With a life long interest in science and agriculture Heather volunteers with the Cook County Forest Preserves at Trailside Museum, with the Oak Park Conservatory and as the Hatch Patch volunteer coordinator. She joined OPEF as the Science Alliance Co-Coordinator in 2017.

 Our “Science Alliance” Scientists Represent the Following Institutions

  • Argonne National Labs
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Elara Engineering
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Loyola Medical Center
  • Northwestern University
  • Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Dominican University
  • University of Chicago
  • Roosevelt University

  • Trailside Museum
  • Rush Oak Park Hospital
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Cook County Hospital
  • Middle Eastern Falcon Research Group
  • Elevance Renewable Sciences