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Creating Future-Ready Students

A Look at the Thermo Fisher Scientific and Cherokee Heights Middle School
Adopt-a-School Partnership

Through our Adopt-a-School (AaS) program, the Foundation works diligently to pair organizations and businesses with schools. This “matchmaking” has resulted in many meaningful connections and is one of the most powerful ways to support our schools and scholars. For Thermo Fisher Scientific, an organization that is committed to making a difference in the community, the opportunity to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math was the impetus for their partnership with Cherokee Heights Middle School (CHMS).  

The Thermo Fisher Scientific AaS partnership was established in May 2012, after Thermo Fisher Scientific representative Janine O’Rourke participated in A Principal Experience. During that event, O’Rourke learned about the AaS program and immediately saw an alignment with her company’s social responsibility program. What followed was a conversation that led to a mutually beneficial partnership that is still thriving 10+ years later.   

As we enter 2023, the AaS partnership has been maintained through the tenures of five CHMS Principals and several staffing changes at Thermo Fisher Scientific. But, despite personnel changes, Thermo Fisher Scientific has consistently invested a robust combination of human, material, and financial resources into the CHMS community. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific team members consistently contribute to the CHMS community by sharing their time, attention, talents, and experiences with students, staff, and teachers – from serving as classroom guest speakers to participating in science and career fairs and helping with rocket design and launch projects. Currently, all new Thermo Fisher Scientific hires learn about the AaS partnership with CHMS as part of their orientation, and help to assemble hundreds of ‘snack packs’ that are distributed to CHMS classroom teachers to give to their students as needed. In addition to the ‘snack packs,’ Thermo Fisher Scientific has also provided countless other material contributions over the years, including school supplies, warm winter gear, science kits, microscopes and other science instruments, and hundreds of lab coats. 

(Left) Thermo Fisher Scientific donated drawstring black bags containing goggles, rubber gloves, an apron, and a small notebook, among other things. (Right) CHMS students performing a science experiment.

“It has meant so much to have the support of Thermo Fisher in supporting our needier families here at Cherokee. They responded with enthusiasm in providing groceries and gloves and hats for our families and it was super meaningful the way that they responded ‘snap, just like that,'” commented former CHMS Social Worker, Kim Stalker-Herron.

CHMS’s gratitude for the human and material resources provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific is endless, but it is some of the experiential learning opportunities made possible through their AaS partnership that have had the greatest impact on students. Over the years, Thermo Fisher Scientific has funded opportunities for students to visit STEM-related destinations, such as the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at UW-Madison, the Madison Science Museum, and Discovery World in Milwaukee.

CHMS students test the water quality during a field trip to Aldo Leopold Nature Center, funded by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

“We are very, very fortunate that the [Madison Public Schools Foundation], through their Adopt-a-School program, set up an excellent partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific. Today, we are here for a science field trip to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Thermo Fisher has paid for the entire trip which is so incredibly helpful because we have students whose families do not find it easy to finance these kinds of trips. This kind of partnership has just meant so much to us,” commented CHMS DLI Teacher, Kristen Scott during a field trip with her students.

Continuing their support of the Foundation, and the broader Madison community, Thermo Fisher Scientific will be graciously hosting the 2023 Adopt-a-School Summit on Thursday, April 27 from 7:30 am to 11:00 am. Please join us to learn directly from current Adopt-a-School partners about the mutual benefits of this program.

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