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Innovation Mobile Lab | Volunteer Overview


Thank you for volunteering to assist with the Innovation Mobile Lab!We’re excited to have you.Started in 2022 as a partnership with Novozymes, United Way of Franklin County utilizes the Innovation Mobile Lab to help provide STEM education to grade school students in rural areas of North Carolina who previously lacked access to these opportunities.

As a volunteer, you’ll be helping students reach their full potential by guiding them through fun STEM experiments and exploring career opportunities.Please read the following information to ensure you’re well-prepared for our upcoming event.

What you need to know (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • What is offered to students? K-12 students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment while completing experiments using scientific methods and learning about career options for their future.
  • Where do the events occur?The bus is driven by United Way to a local school or other designated site, and students can use the materials inside of the bus, or they can be unloaded and used outside, weather permitting. All you need to do is show up to the location, and you’ll be guided by a leader from United Way.
  • When do the events occur? The bus is available year-round for visits to schools or other groups. Volunteering is available year-round as well. To book the bus for an event, or to sign up to volunteer for a future event, visit uwfc.org/mobile-lab.
  • What kinds of experiments are offered?The Innovation Mobile Lab offers a variety of experiments divided into educational programs.
    • Educational programs include subjects such as chemistry, plant and animal biology, electrical engineering and energy, mechanical engineering, human and health sciences, weather and environmental science, coding and computer science, and mathematics.
    • Examples of experiments include examining ferrofluid and magnetic fields, exploring mass and density, engineering a variety of structures, growing bacteria in petri dishes, simulating earthquakes, building and testing boats, and many other engaging activities.
  • Which equipment and items are available to use?Items include Sphero Mini, Wonder Workshop Cues, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, MakeyMakey, 3D Pens and 3D Printer, Lenovo VR, Microeye Microscope, Fischer Scientific Microscopes, LEGOs, Brain Flakes, magnetic blocks, Zoobz, K’Nex, kinetic sand, rock samples, scales and balances, hot plates, chemicals,beakers, pipettes, and more!
  • How do we learn more about each program?The leader from United Way will have a lesson plan for the material, but you may also read the material at uwfc.org/programs-and-experiments.
  • Who teaches the programs?A leader from United Way will teach most of the material, but you are able to assist if desired.
  • What is my main role?You will lead the student group(s) through the experiments. After the teaching session is completed and discuss career opportunities that are tied to the respective educational program.

Talking Points and Career Opportunities

It’s important that the students understand how the experiments tie to potential careers, as this could open new avenues for exploration for them and change their lives. You’re planting the seed and becoming part of something much larger than yourself!

The following talking points and questions can be used as a guide for your interactions with the students.

Talking points

  • There’s more to science than you might think! Of what did the experiment remind you of? (Ex: structural building project could be related to engineering, architecture, etc… building homes!)
  • Experiments have many components. Why did we use the specific items? (Ex: what kind of chemical reaction happened in a chemistry lesson?) What happened? Are these household items? Who develops these items?
  • Can we name some major brands/corporations/etc. that we think of when we think about the experiment we participated in? (Ex: chemical reactions; cleaning solutions?; biosolutions!)
  • What skills are needed to be better at the experiment? (Ex: understanding how to balance items/structures better to build a taller house).
  • If we were to repeat the experiment, what would you change? Why?

Career opportunities

Here are some career opportunities (and salaries!) tied to today’s educational programs. Jobs are available in and around Franklinton and the Raleigh areaat Novozymes, Franklin County Schools, Cisco, Red Hat, WRAL, and more! Sources: GlassDoor, ZipRecruiter,Indeed, U.S. Census, nces.ed.gov, and Salary.com

Educational Program

Career Opportunities

Average Salary in NC (as of 2023)


  • Researcher (Chemist)
  • Teacher
  • Toxicologist
  • $73,500
  • $44,349
  • $85,588

Plant and Animal Biology

  • Researcher (Biologist)
  • Zoologist
  • Medical Scientist
  • $82,500
  • $56,200
  • $87,300

Electrical Engineering and Energy

  • Electrical Engineer
  • Engineering Technician
  • Broadcast Engineer
  • $96,984
  • $56,479
  • $82,223

Mechanical Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • $89,300
  • $93,100
  • $80,920

Human and Health Sciences

  • Clinical Dietitian
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Healthcare Provider (MD)
  • $75,266
  • $54,000
  • $170,000

Weather and Environmental Science

  • Meteorologist
  • Policy/Legislation
  • Environmental Scientist
  • $73,031
  • $58,383
  • $64,068

Coding and Computer Science

  • Computer Scientist
  • Software Engineer
  • Data Analyst
  • $112,800
  • $101,862
  • $102,004


  • Statistician
  • Actuary
  • Financial Analyst
  • $105,000
  • $98,600
  • $76,800


How you can help after the event

First, thank you so much for your support. We can’t do it without you! Also, we’d love to hear your feedback. What worked well? What didn’t? Do you have ideas to share for future events?

We’d also love for you to help be our ambassador. We encourage you to share your photos and experience on social media and tag the school or organization and #UnitedWay.

We hope to see you again soon!


Have more questions?Contact us!

Andrea Bell Wright, Director

Email: uwfcdirector@embarqmail.com

Phone: 919-495-9179






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