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History of Program

Dr. Kavathas became involved in the New Haven Public Schools when her daughters were attending the public schools. She noted that the budget for science supplies was limited and some teachers enjoyed teaching science while others had minimal interest. After discussing the situation with a group of students, Shalina Mahajan, Dave Miklos, Nancy Morgan, and Doug Robinson, in the Department of Genetics, they decided to enhance science education in the public school by starting an outreach program. Initially, we used equipment from Dr. Kavathas’ lab, and borrowed microscopes from the Yale Biology Department. The labs of Drs. Lynn Cooley and Michael Stern in the Dept. of Genetics provided fruit flies (drosophila) and worms (nematodes). A subsequent volunteer, Jessica Kosa, realizing the need for our own dissecting microscopes and dedicated equipment, obtained a generous donation from her grandfather, Dr. Eugene M. Lang to purchase our own equipment with a small supply budget. We then made a transition from a purely volunteer program to a program in which Yale graduate students could fulfill one semester of teaching requirement by serving as a TA (teaching assistant) in the SEOP program. Their leadership role along with the volunteers and Dr. Kavathas overall coordination, allowed SEOP to expand to more schools. Operating since 1995, SEOP is a thriving program.