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SERVICE IN MIND: Civic engagement at the heart of academically based community service courses

Penn Parents

Monday, May 20, 2019

“Keep an eye on the ping pong balls,” calls Jay Shah, C’19. Jay is a teaching assistant for The ABCs of Neuroscience, and today’s class has Penn students partnering with freshman at Paul Robeson High School in West Philadelphia to teach how brain damage can affect cognitive function. The current experiment: see how many times you can successfully aim a ping pong ball into a paper tube. The catch: you have to wear Vaseline-coated goggles to mimic neurological vision impairment.

The ABCs of Neuroscience is a perennial favorite among the more than 50 Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses offered each academic year through the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Spanning all four undergraduate schools and more than 20 departments, ABCS courses combine community service with course curriculum for academic credit. Students learn the theory first, then apply it in a hands-on, real-world setting.