C’YA Provides Science Education To Students

by Staff Reporter / Jun 12, 2017 / comments
Chad Lauritzen, seen here at Dixon Elementary School, volunteered to teach science through Champions of Youth Ambitions. The organization celebrates its third anniversary this weekend since gaining its non-profit status in 2014. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen

C’YA Provides Science Education To Students


Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA), a local non-profit celebrated its third anniversary this weekend, since becoming an official 501-c-3.

The program is known for sponsoring community celebrations such as the annual community asset awards and the monthly community youth awards, providing youth leadership, and offering free science education in community and regional classrooms.


​The very first LANL Foundation grant funded this opportunity for the Future PhDs of Dixon Elementary. Lauritzen still teaches there more than three years later. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen

Prior to its non-profit status, Chad Lauritzen, “the Sci Guy,” as he is known to children, would volunteer on his days off using his own funds, all in the pursuit of science. Lauritzen would travel to schools in the Espanola district, Pojoaque district and others to make science accessible to students in a fun and effective manner.

With a little help from a grant from the Española based Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, and some local fundraising, the program was able to become a formal non-profit and is going strong, with more outreach than ever.

What does Lauritzen enjoy most about teaching science? “I enjoy that smile, twinkle in the eye,” Lauritzen said. "There’s a relationship that is built with the kids over a simple 40-minute science lesson.”

His lessons, which are free of charge, vary by grade level with a few simple rules and are always hands-on or in some cases, feet-on science.

The program began when Lauritzen's children were all in elementary school and he remained involved in it even after his children grew, with the youngest now a junior at Los Alamos High School.

What does he enjoy most about hearing from the children he teaches?

“I really enjoy reading through thank you letters and hearing from the kids how they love science,” Lauritzen said. “I especially enjoy when meeting the kids and their parents in the grocery store and hearing that my science lesson has made it home around the dinner table.”

Monday, C’YA is hosting one of two installments of its Cookies & Conversation program at 1:30 p.m. the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos. The event will allow youth to join seniors for light-hearted conversation on simple topics, to provide an intergenerational activity for summer.

The Champions of Youth Ambitions Board of Directors include; Valerie Harris, Pauline Powell Schneider, Debra Minyard, Karen Greenfield, Megan Pfeffer and Claire Swinhoe.

To learn more call, at 505.695.9139 or visit their website at www.cya-nm.org.