WednesdayFebruary 2018

Omari Baruti joined 826michigan in the fall of 2016 with the goal of leading STEM workshops in Detroit schools. To get started, he made it his mission to learn about 826 by volunteering as an after-school tutor on Liberty Street. There he has continuously helped students in all subject areas—from elementary math to high school biology.

Expanding from just tutoring, Omari rallied his colleagues, fellow tutors, and the 826michigan staff with a vision to develop two science writing workshops for our winter 2017 schedule. In his workshops he led the students through real experiments to introduce them to the scientific method and scientific writing, using laboratory notebooks he designed just for the occasion. The experiments—an egg float and a balloon rocket—were hands-on and set up for students to make observations in their laboratory notebooks. Omari pulled from his own laboratory notebooks and experiments to speak with students about why scientists write about their findings and the importance of having others read and engage with lab reports. Omari taught his Egg Float workshop again in the summer of 2017 (the eggs did float in saltwater, but you’ll have to try the experiment at home to find out how much salt!) and our students were thrilled to talk with him about his field work, too.

This past fall Omari also volunteered with the Young Authors Book Project. He was kind and patient with an energetic group of students who were all writing four different versions of the same interconnected story. But he didn’t just stop at helping students—he stepped up and saved the day for a fellow volunteer who had a last-minute transportation emergency, picking them up so they could make it to Ypsilanti.

Working so closely with students takes warmth and flexibility. And Omari shines as a volunteer because he brings his passion for science together with 826michigan’s commitment to learning. As a chemical biologist and PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, Omari is devoted to sharing his specialized science knowledge with students all over Southeast Michigan. In addition to his work with 826, he has also led science workshops at the Detroit Zoo, volunteered with Science Education and Engagement for Kids, and founded The STEAM Centre, a website linking K-12 students with information on local educational resources.

Next up for Omari is working with 826michigan staff to bring STEM and writing workshops into schools and to help with our STEM and writing field trips. You can also spot him helping with our Family Writing Labs this spring.

We are so fortunate to have Omari share his science chops, creativity, and time with us in order to provide amazing high-quality STEM writing opportunities for our 826 students!

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