If you have interest in getting involved in any physics outreach event or program, contact the coordinator or an SPS officer if you would like an introduction or help getting involved. Volunteers are always welcome for one-off events or continuous commitments. Any amount of time you have to contribute is welcomed and appreciated!

Current Events

Ongoing Events/Groups

All year

Science Literacy Program

The Science Literacy Program seeks talented, motivated, and hard-working Undergraduate SLP Scholars to help co-teach general education courses for non-sciences majors. Students will be paired with a faculty mentor from the participating departments (Biology, Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Human Physiology or Physics). Application is available on the website.  We are very interested in enhancing the creativity, diversity, and talent of the next generation of science educators, and students from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. The program offers outstanding opportunities to assist with course development, lecture/activity/assessment preparation and presentation, and in-class demonstrations.

SLP Scholars will register for CAS 409 SLP Scholar Practicum Credit.

Practicum Description:

In this practicum, Undergraduate Science Literacy Program Scholars will help co-teach general education science courses with direct supervision from a faculty mentor. Students will be paired with a faculty mentor and Graduate SLP Fellow in a teaching team. Students will attend a weekly science education journal club to explore theories of science education and help develop and implement classroom activities and assessments to support student learning.

Practicum Goals:

Undergraduate SLP scholars will

  1. Have the opportunity to explore science courses behind-the-scenes as a teacher.
  2. Receive mentored teaching support from a faculty co-instructor.
  3. Learn about scientific teaching and active learning and how to apply it to science courses.
Practicum Outcomes:

At the completion of this practicum, Undergraduate SLP Scholars will be able to

  1. Explain the theory and evidence behind scientific teaching and active learning as techniques that support student learning.
  2. Design assessments and activities to implement active learning techniques in a SLP affiliated science course in partnership with a teaching team.
  3. Read and practice applying pedagogical theory from current science education literature to classroom experiences.
  4. Coordinate classroom support activities with faculty mentor and teaching team.
  5. Write and discuss reflections of the experience.

Please contact Elly Vandegrift, Associate Director of the Science Literacy Program, if you have any questions.

Eugene Science Factory and Planetarium 

The Science Factory is a private non-profit children’s science museum and planetarium. The organization hosts field trips and families year round, and is dedicated to getting children excited about science. Volunteers are always welcome–especially students with some background in science. The planetarium trains volunteers on giving the interactive presentations, so if you’re into astronomy, this is the perfect way to get some volunteer hours in and brush up on your constellations and public speaking skills, all at the same time! Other volunteer opportunities include exhibit guides, camp counselors, and administrative help.


Science Open House

When: October
Where: Willamette Hall Atrium
Contact: Brandy Todd
What: Free science outreach event! A variety of different UO and community groups gather to present science demonstrations, activities, information about their programs and more to visitors. All groups who provide science education (formal or informal) are welcome to attend. All that is required is that your table have some sort of interactive science content.  As always, lots of volunteers to help with set up and take down are needed.

If you or a group you work with would like to host a table at the event please send the following information to Brandy Todd:

Group Name:
Contact Person:
Activity you will present:
Do you need power/water/other?

Tables, linens and chairs will be provided.  The table is 6 feet long.  There are a limited number of 8-foot tables and you can use more than one table if needed. If you would like to give a showcase demonstration, let us know and we’ll work with you on that as well.

The UO Fall Science Open House is a showcase of all the wonderful formal and informal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach available in our community. The open house features 25+ interactive, hands-on science tables and demonstrations. The event is free and open to the public. The goal of the open house is to connect families and teachers with science education opportunities. Participation raises awareness of your group and the work you are doing, provides a pool of enthusiastic recruits for your education and research projects, and raises the profile of STEM in the community.

The event is coordinated by the SPICE program. Participation is 100% free for presenters and attendees.


 Meet a Scientist Day

When: January or February
Where: The Science Factory
Contact: Nick Spicher
What: A variety of different groups gather to present science demonstrations to families, visitors and kids! Very fun, very high energy. Kids tend to range from ages 3 – 14, along with parents and community members. Past activities with UO groups have included:

  • Light spectra viewing
  • Infrared camera and ice fun
  • Total internal refraction with a tank of water
  • Astronomy and space presentation/pictures
  • Make your own circuits
  • Try out a Transmission Electron Microscope
  • Liquid nitrogen and balloons

Commitment level: 4 hours



SPICE Science Fair

When: May
Where: Willamette Hall Atrium
Contact: Brandy Todd
What: A science fair for local students, complete with fun demos, judging and prizes! Students plan, execute and write up projects in February though April and present in early May. Volunteers are needed for the following positions:

  • Set-up, around 5pm (3-5) – May 8th
  • Registration table/pop-corn queen or king (3)
  • Flubber-making table (3+)
  • Egg Drop table (3)
  • Lazer Maze (2-3)
  • Dry Ice Bubbles (2-3)
  • Floater volunteers (Unlimited!)
  • Judges (8-10)

Commitment level: varies, < 1 day



Summer Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE) girls summer camp

When: Mid-June through July
Where: UO, Willamette Hall
Contact: Cori Brant
What: SPICE is a two week summer science program for middle school aged girls. The mission of SPICE is to collaborate in creating a learning environment where girls can thrive in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This broad goal is achieved by enhancing the science experiences through a set of proven intervention strategies, including mentoring, early hands on research experience, role models and access to information and equipment they may other wise not have access to.

SPICE looks for volunteers in:

  • Leading activities
  • Developing curriculum
  • Helping the lead Instructors
  • Preparing for camp

Volunteer shifts can run anywhere from an hour to all day depending on your schedule!

SPICE camp offers Discovery Camp for 6th grade, Forensic Science Camp for 7th grade and Engineering Camp for the 8th graders. For more information about the camps please visit the SPICE website.

Pine Mountain Observatory

When: Summer months, May through September
Where: Pine Mountain Observatory, ~30 miles east of Bend on highway 20
Contact: Pine Mountain Observatory and Scott Fisher
What: Pine Mountain Observatory is a research and public outreach facility in Eastern Oregon operated by the Department of Physics at the University of Oregon that is home to 4 domes: a recently restored 15″ and a 24″, both used for star parties, and two research-only telescopes. During summer months, the Observatory opens to the public on weekends for short talks on astronomy and space science and star parties, as well as for several astronomy-related camps and research events. University students with an interest in astronomy are very welcome to volunteer as sky guides at weekend star parties. Sky guides operate 10″ Dobsonians and introduce the public to the night sky. A familiarity with the night sky, its main attractions and general knowledge of astronomical concepts is preferred, and training is also available.

Two of our header images for this site were taken at Pine Mountain by UO student Charity Woodrum!