The goal of RE-​​SEED, Northeastern’s vol­un­teer pro­gram that trains retired sci­en­tists and engi­neers to assist K-​​12 sci­ence teachers in the class­room, is to make a life­long dif­fer­ence in the lives of young learners, says Christos Zahopoulos, exec­u­tive director of Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion.

At RE-SEED’s 20th annual con­fer­ence on Tuesday morning in the Raytheon Amphithe­ater, Zahopoulos noted that the pro­gram has sur­passed its goal of helping stu­dents improve their knowl­edge of sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering, and math. But there is still work to be done.

You are making a big dif­fer­ence in class­rooms,” Zahopoulos told more than 50 vol­un­teers in atten­dance. “That we have found people that are so ded­i­cated has sur­passed all of my expectations.”

Founded 22 years ago, RE-​​SEED is part of Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion, which seeks to build and sup­port a com­mu­nity of edu­ca­tors, researchers, and stu­dents with the col­lec­tive goal of strength­ening K-​​12 STEM edu­ca­tion in Greater Boston and across the nation.

Over the last two decades, RE-​​SEED has trained more than 700 volunteers—many of whom are North­eastern alumni—who have worked with at least 125,000 stu­dents in 14 dif­ferent states. Vol­un­teers can work along­side teachers, tutor stu­dents, or present their work to the young learners.

The bottom line is your con­tri­bu­tion is valued by the teachers and stu­dents and they all think you are making a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence,” Zahopoulos said.

The con­fer­ence was focused on the program’s future. Zahopoulos noted that RE-​​SEED is looking at estab­lish regional cen­ters in other parts of the country and strengthen the program’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with STEM pro­fes­sional societies.

The conference’s keynote speaker was former Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Michael Dukakis, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Polit­ical Sci­ence at North­eastern. In his speech, Dukakis thanked the vol­un­teers for their ded­i­ca­tion. “I hope North­eastern con­tinues to have these types of pro­grams for a long time to come,” he said.

As part of the con­fer­ence, the vol­un­teers vis­ited the Snell Library’s 3-​​D printing studio, which houses a full suite of 3-​​D fab­ri­ca­tion and mod­eling tech­nolo­gies, and the First Year Engi­neering Lab, which pro­vides new engi­neering stu­dents with the tools to suc­ceed at Northeastern.