Outreach and Volunteering

Science programs by the Neuroscience Graduate Program


            Greater Questions in Neuroscience

            Saturdays with Scientists at the Michigan Science Center


Other science programs at the University of Michigan

        Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and the Sciences (FEMMES)

        Graduate/Undergraduate Mentorship in Biology (GUMB)

        Mentoring Students and Early Leaders in Neuroscience (MYELIN)

        Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)


Volunteer opportunities in Ann Arbor


Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor YMCA

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County

Food Gatherers

Humane Society of Huron Valley

Michigan Theater

Neutral Zone

Project Grow

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor

Safehouse Center

The Ark


Science programs by the Neuroscience Graduate Program


As students of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, we have all developed a craving for new scientific knowledge. Much of the public, on the other hand, avoids learning about scientific theories and experiments because they think science is “too complicated.” Unfortunately, many K-12 students fall into this category of people -- science proficiency lags far behind other subjects, with proficiency rates in Michigan hovering around 15%! It is our responsibility as active members of the scientific community to engage with youngsters and demonstrate, in a manner that is clear and accessible to young students, the fascinating concepts underlying brain function.. With this mission in mind, we organize BrainsRule!, an annual event during which we host over 300 local sixth-graders at the University of Michigan for interactive, educational demonstrations. As these young students hop from booth to booth, they partake in engaging activities that teach them the basic principles about how their brain works. Consider being a part of this exciting event – we need your enthusiasm and love of science to help inspire the next generation of scientists! We welcome all UM faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates to volunteer at the activity booths.


2017 Event: March 15 @ Michigan League

Interested in volunteering for BrainsRule this March? Get more information below.

Website: https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/brainsrule


Greater Questions in Neuroscience (GQIN)

GQIN is a colloquium series hosted by students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program that aims to explore unique, neuroscience related topics which are often overlooked in the classroom. For each colloquium, students choose a theme and invite a diverse group of faculty members from various Schools across the UM campus-- including the School of Medicine, Ross School of Business, and School of Art & Design-- to discuss their unique insight on the chosen theme. During each 90 minute session, graduate students facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation amongst themselves, invited faculty members, and undergraduate students to explore concepts underlying the “greater question.” Recent discussions have included: “The Mind on Movies and the Movies on the Mind”; “Altruism: Your Genes vs. Your Group”; and “Beauty and the Brain.”


Saturdays with Scientists at the Michigan Science Center

The Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization regularly collaborates with the Michigan Science Center in Detroit, a nonprofit science museum with a mission to inspire curiosity about STEM in youngsters, to offer Saturdays with Scientists. Neuroscience graduate students organize and lead educational, hands-on activities geared toward encouraging children and families in the Detroit Metro community to learn about the brain. One Saturday each semester, NGP students bring 3D interactive models, lively demonstrations, games, and arts and crafts to excite and teach people of all ages about how the brain works. The group is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers!


Interested in volunteering? Send an email to the Saturdays team to get started or learn more.

Email: SaturdayScientists@gmail.com



Other science programs at the University of Michigan...

Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and the Sciences (FEMMES)

FEMMES is dedicated to closing gender and racial divides in computer science and science, technology, engineering and math (CS/STEM) fields. Working specifically in diverse, under-served communities, FEMMES creates collaborative teaching and learning environments to promote leadership development, technical skills, and self-confidence in women of all ages.

FEMMES hosts 2 types of activities for girls in 4th through 6th grade:

  1. Saturday Science Capstones are free programs held twice annually on the University of Michigan’s campus. These events are typically held from 8:45am to 3:30pm. Each event includes about 200 girls from all over Southeast Michigan. The day starts with a keynote speaker who talks about her path into STEM and why she loves her work. The girls then participate in hands-on activities throughout the day led by Professors from UM. Lunch is provided for free. We hope our activities increase girls’ excitement for STEM and confidence in their abilities.
  2. After School Events are held at local schools and led by graduate and undergraduate students from STEM fields at UM. They typically run for 2 hours and are similar to our Saturday Science Capstones in that they engage the girls in hands-on STEM activities. We love getting the chance to interact with girls further by visiting their schools.

Interested in volunteering with FEMMES? Get more information below!

Website: http://femmes.studentorgs.umich.edu/

Email: umich.FEMMES@gmail.com


Graduate/Undergraduate Mentorship in Biology (GUMB)

There are large undergraduate and graduate biology student communities at University of Michigan, yet there is limited communication between the two groups. GUMB hopes to create a comfortable environment, away from research and classes, to connect graduate student mentors with undergraduate mentees majoring in biology or considering biology as a potential career.

In either small groups or one-on-one settings, undergraduates have the opportunity to ask graduate students questions about various topics (e.g. reasons to pursue biology research; how to prepare for graduate school; alternate biology career paths; how to navigate under/graduate school as a first generation student, etc.). GUMB also organizes graduate student panels and workshops on topics requested by the undergraduate students. Undergraduates may also request to shadow graduate students in their research labs.

Interested in mentoring with GUMB? Find more information here:

Website: https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/GUMB/

Email: gumbcoord@umich.edu


Mentoring Students and Early Leaders in Neuroscience (MYELIN)

MYELIN is a student based organization at the University of Michigan that is dedicated to science outreach education for Ann Arbor’s minority and low-income communities. Through educational outreach programs, MYELIN strives to inspire and support the next generation of researchers and college students. Once a month, small groups of U-M student volunteers travel to a local community center to teach students a science lesson using hands-on activities and a visual presentation. Additionally, MYELIN volunteers recently developed a college preparatory initiative specifically for highschool students. This comprehensive program is intended to support and encourage higher education in the community.

MYELIN continually hopes to implement new events and programs to expand and deepen its impact on the Ann Arbor community. These include university visits, financial assistance, scholarship services, and science-literacy starter kits prepared for the community centers. MYELIN currently serves two community centers, Bryant Community Center and Hikone Community Center, and is working to expand its reach by including more Ann Arbor sites. Recently, MYELIN has also established faculty alliances in the Biopsychology area at UM that serve as mentors to the members of the organization and provide financial support.

Interested in becoming involved in MYELIN? Check out their webpage for more information:

Website: https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/MYELIN/about


Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), University of Michigan Chapter

SACNAS is dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics and Native American scientists, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). SACNAS is a national organization with over 110 professional and student chapters. All chapters meet annually at the SACNAS national conference during which students present their research and participate in leadership and professional development sessions.

The University of Michigan Chapter of SACNAS is a student-run organization that provides an inclusive environment to support professional development for students of diverse backgrounds. SACNAS aims to inspire the next generation of students to pursue an education in STEM through outreach activities, professional development workshops, and social events. Involvement in SACNAS at UM provides members the opportunity to get involved in the community, network with other SACNAS members around the country, and promote diversity in STEM.

Hoping to get involved with SACNAS? Find more information below:

Website for UM Chapter of SACNAS: https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/SACNASatumich

Website for SACNAS: https://sacnas.org/

Email: sacnasatumich@gmail.com


Volunteer opportunities in Ann Arbor


826 is a non-profit writing center that inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers provide one-on-one homework help, teach creative writing, and work the counter in Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair, among other tasks. Volunteer opportunities are typically long-term and individual, though they occasionally host day-long activities that benefit from  large groups of volunteers.

Volunteer website: https://www.826michigan.org/get-involved/volunteer/

Address: 115 East Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 761-3463

Email: info@826michigan.org


Ann Arbor Art Center

The Ann Arbor Art Center is a visual arts organization that serves to enrich the lives of community members through retail, exhibition, education, and community engagement. 

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers may help with office assistance, special events, preparing the gallery for a new exhibition, and serving on committees. Volunteers are welcome for short-term participation or long-term commitments.

Volunteer website: http://www.annarborartcenter.org/get-involved/volunteer/

Address: 117 West Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 994-8004


Ann Arbor YMCA

The Ann Arbor YMCA is a charitable organization that offers physical fitness opportunities, daycare, and afterschool programs to community members. An important aspect of their mission is to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income, race, gender, faith, sexual orientation, or cultural background, is able to participate and lead a healthy life.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers participate through the Adult Volunteer program or within YMCA programs as coaches, program volunteers, or crafters.

Volunteer website: https://www.annarborymca.org/about-your-ymca/volunteering/

Address: 400 West Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone (ask for Abbey Davis, Volunteer Director): 734-661-8012

Email (Abbey Davis, Volunteer Director): adavis@annarborymca.org


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers will devote two hours each month for at least one year to mentor their Little. Mentoring activities vary and may include sports, movies, art, education, etc.

Volunteer website: http://www.bbbswashtenaw.org/volunteer.html

Address: 11 West Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Phone: (734) 975-0933

Email (Andrea Furtos): andrea.furtos@bbbswasthenaw.org


Food Gatherers

Food Gatherers fights hunger by distributing food to partner organizations for local distribution and serving meals to shelter guests.

Volunteer opportunities: At the Food Gatherers Warehouse, volunteers sort produce and canned goods and repackage bulk foods. At the Community Kitchen, volunteers prepare and serve meals to shelter guests at the Robert J. Delonis Center in Downtown Ann Arbor. Opportunities are available for group or individual volunteering.

Volunteer website: http://www.foodgatherers.org/?module=Page&sID=get-involved

Address: Warehouse: 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

   Robert J Delonis Center: 312 West Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: (734) 761-2796

Email: info@foodgatherers.org


Humane Society of Huron Valley

Humane Society of Huron Valley is a not-for-profit public charity whose mission is to support the loving, responsible care of every animal in our community. The Humane Society cares for animals in its shelter, places adoptable animals in loving homes, reduces pet over-population, cares for the physical well-being of animals in the community, provides education and outreach to the community, and stops animal cruelty.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers help with various tasks including staffing community events, supporting the veterinary clinic, and walking dogs. Volunteers may also help at the Tiny Lions lounge & adoption Center (TLC) Cat Cafe. 

Volunteer website for Humane Society: http://www.hshv.org/site/PageNavigator/help/volunteer.html

Volunteer website for Tiny Lions: http://www.tinylions.org/volunteer

Address: 3100 Cherry Hill Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone: (734) 662-5585


Michigan Theater

Michigan Theater is Ann Arbor’s non-profit center for fine film and the performing arts.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteer at live events presented by the Ark, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and LiveNation; work Guest Services; work the Cinetopia International Film Festival; assist with special events like Taste of Ann Arbor, Cinema Circus, or the Ann Arbor Film Festival; and contribute to projects like goody bags for holiday kids’ shows.

Volunteer website: http://www.michtheater.org/support/volunteers/

Address: 603 East Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone (Volunteer Coordinator): (734) 668-8397 x39

Email: volunteers@michtheater.org


Neutral Zone

The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers help with special events and projects as well as the community dinner program. Volunteers can participate as individuals or large groups.

Volunteer website: http://neutral-zone.org/donate/volunteer/

Address: 310 East Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 214-9995

Email (Suzie Staley): suzie@neutral-zone.org


Project Grow

Project Grow is a non-profit organization that facilitates organic community garden sites throughout Ann Arbor. Project Grow also offers classes and programs on garden-related topics.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteer opportunities change throughout the year. Call or email for more information on how you can get involved.

Volunteer website: http://projectgrowgardens.org/volunteer

Address: PO Box 130293, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: (734) 996-3169

Email: volunteer@projectgrowgardens.org


Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor

The Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor provides a temporary, inexpensive “home away from home” for families of children receiving medical treatment in the Ann Arbor area. Families may stay from a day or two to several months. The Ann Arbor House is located within walking distance of the University of Michigan Medical Centers and serves over 600 families a year. The “Mott House” provides a short-term respite for families of the most medically fragile patients.

Volunteer opportunities: Individual volunteers must commit to at least a biweekly, 3 hour shift per month for at least 1 year (or 2 consecutive semesters.) Volunteer activities include housekeeping, office tasks, and greeting new families. Large groups (up to 8 people) can volunteer to cook a meal for the residents at the Ann Arbor House. Meal preparation includes planning the menu, shopping for food, preparing and serving the meal, and cleaning the kitchen. Groups can also volunteer in other ways such as assembling Birthday Box Kits, Toiletry Kits, and gathering items for Wish List Collections.

Individual volunteer website: http://rmh-annarbor.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/

Group volunteer website: http://rmh-annarbor.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer-group/

Address: 1600 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 994-4442

Email (Stacey Laho): slaho@rmh-annarbor.org


Safehouse Center

The Safehouse Center provides support for those impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault. SafeHouse provides free and confidential services for any person victimized that lives or works in Washtenaw County. Their services include emergency shelter for those in danger of being hurt or killed, counseling, legal advocacy, support groups, and especially, hope.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers can participate as Direct Service volunteers in four ways: Shelter/HelpLine Volunteers; Children and Youth Volunteers; Response Team Volunteers; and Support Group Volunteer Facilitator. Volunteers may also participate behind-the-scenes as Administrative Assistants and Receptionists. All volunteers must complete volunteer training.

Volunteer website: https://www.safehousecenter.org/volunteer-information/

Address: 4100 Clark Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone (Volunteer Program Coordinator): (734) 973-0242 x 252

Email: volunteer@safehousecenter.org


The Ark

The Ark is a non-profit organization and music venue that hosts folk and roots music shows over 300 nights a year.

Volunteer opportunities: Club Volunteers work the concessions stand, sell merchandise, take tickets, usher, and process memberships. Tech Volunteers are in charge of sound production, meet artists for load-in, sound check, and set the lighting. Volunteer Loaders help with heavy lifting of band equipment. (Bonus: volunteers often have the opportunity to see the shows for free!)

Volunteer website: http://www.theark.org/support-the-ark/volunteers

Address: 316 South Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 761-1800

Are you interested in science outreach, mentorship programs, or volunteer positions within local organizations? Learn more about opportunities at the University of Michigan and in the surrounding community below!