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Graduate Student Fellows



Become a GRASSHOPR Fellow!

Teach the subject of your choice in a local preK-12 classroom as a GRASSHOPR Fellow! The Graduate Student School Outreach Program (GRASSHOPR) pairs Cornell graduate students with teachers in Tompkins county and Geneva to teach 3 to 5 mini-courses (your choice!) on topics related to the graduate student's field or interests. Teachers and graduate students share the benefits of exchanging ideas as they develop a curriculum, while preK-12 students experience new mentors in their classroom who are eager to share knowledge and excitement about their field of study. The entire application process takes place online. 


Apply for 2016-17

Applications for graduate students are CLOSED. Want to be notified when 2017-18 Applications open up? Fill in this form: 2017-18 Fellow Notification List

***NOTE: If accepted as a GRASSHOPR Fellow, you must attend the mandatory Info Meeting



Benefits to you
  • Do something meaningful outside of your lab or office
  • Share your knowledge in local classrooms
  • Inspire students
  • Make an immediate difference in our community
  • Gain valuable experience presenting to and communicating with others
  • You can teach alone or as a small team

Example Program Timeline

  • Mid September - Online applications open
  • You must have a rough lesson plan ready for submission
  • Late September - Applications close
  • October/November - Accepted applications will be matched with a suitable teacher host and classroom
    • Matches are announced 
    • Contact your teacher immediately to schedule when you will be teaching in the classroom
  • Late Winter - Attend GRASSHOPR workshops to further develop your mini-course and to prepare you for teaching in the classroom
    • Meet with your teacher to develop your mini-course
    • Check-in with the Coordinating Committee with any questions or concerns
    • Prepare and and purchase your supplies early in case there are any delays with shipping, etc. 
  • Spring Semester - Go out and teach your mini-courses! Have fun!
  • Submit any necessary forms for reimbursement
  • You'll be asked to complete an Evaluation Survey of your experience 

Our support to you

  • Fellows t-shirt for that year - wear it when you teach!
  • The Coordinating Committee does it's best to match you with an appropriate teacher and classroom
  • We act as the liaison between you and your teacher during the initial steps
  • Training workshops are designed for all levels of teaching experience
  • The Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT) has generously agreed that GRASSHOPR fellows can access materials from the CIBT lending library. Many types of kits are available, and some are designed specifically for elementary, middle, or high school levels!
  • We'll host networking and social events, so you can get to know the other GRASSHOPR Fellows who share similar interests
  • Fellows selected to participate will receive reimbursements of up to $150 per course (plus an additional $50 dollars for each additional cohort of students to whom any unique lesson is presented) to cover the costs of supplies and materials for mini-course activities and travel to the school


Application Instructions

Applicants must develop a mini-course topic related to their areas of interest and expertise. Mini-courses must contain 3 to 5 unique lessons and can be taught individually or as a team.

Designing Your Mini-Course

To increase the odds of a match between prospective with a teacher host:

  • Create a catchy title
  • Design the course proposal to be flexible - Each teacher will need to make adjustments to fit each mini-course into his or her curriculum, which encompasses the core requirements of New York State (view the requirements here)
  • Make your course age-appropriate - Remember you will be teaching K-12, not college level
  • Make your lessons unique each lesson should teach something new. They can indeed build on each other, but should not be overly repetitive.

Sample course catalogs from 2015-2016:  Elementary        Middle        High


Special Notes

Participants are only required to teach their mini-course to one class, although some participants may have the option to teach their course to multiple groups of students, which can be a great way to hone teaching skills. If you only want to teach one class, teachers who have more than one cohort of students will need to select one of their classes to participate. If you are willing to teach multiple classes, which may require spending the entire day at your placement school on lesson days, an increased reimbursement can be provided. If you choose to teach to multiple class cohorts, then you will repeat each of your lessons over multiple class periods; however, you must still have 3 to 5 unique lessons.