Privacy Policy


Last updated: August 7, 2020

We are committed to protecting the privacy of all the participants in Letters to a Pre-Scientist (“LPS”). We have prepared this Privacy Policy to describe our practices regarding the Personal Data (as defined below) that we collect in the process of administering LPS, including data from scientists, students and teachers. Most of our data is collected via our website located at www.prescientist.org (the “Site”).

1. Questions and contact information

Any questions, concerns or complaints about our Privacy Policy or our data collection or processing practices may be sent to info@prescientist.org.

2. User consent

By providing us with your Personal Data through our Site, you agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy and you expressly consent to the collection and use of your Personal Data in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

3. A note about children

Our pre-scientists, most of whom are under the age of 13, participate in the LPS program with close oversight by their science teacher. Each pre-scientist must have a signed letter of consent from a parent or guardian allowing them to participate in LPS. We do not collect any Personal Data from a child whose parent or guardian does not consent to their participation. Parents or guardians may choose to revoke this consent, either by contacting their child’s science teacher or by emailing info@prescientist.org. We will delete the child’s information as soon as possible after receiving notice that consent has been revoked.

4. A note to users outside the United States

Your Personal Data will be processed in the United States, where laws regarding the processing of Personal Data may be less protective than the laws in your country. By providing your data, you consent to such processing and transfer.

5. Types of data we collect

“Personal Data” means data that, by itself, allows someone to identify or contact you as an individual, including, for example, your name, mailing address, email address, as well as any other non-public information about you that is associated with or linked to any of the foregoing data. “Anonymous Data” means data that does not, by itself, permit the identification of individual persons and that is not associated with or linked to Personal Data. We collect Personal Data and Anonymous Data, as described below.

  1. Information users provide to us

    • When a user subscribes to our email newsletter, we collect their email address, first and last name and mailing address.
    • When a user provides us feedback or contact us via email, we will collect their name and email address, as well as any other content included in the email to us, in order to send a reply.
    • When teachers apply to host the pen pal program, we collect Personal Data related to their application, including their contact information and the name of the school where they teach.
    • When scientists register for the pen pal program, we collect Personal Data related to their request, including contact information and interests and experience as a pen pal.
    • When pre-scientists register for the pen pal program, following our receipt of signed consent from their parent or guardian, we collect Personal Data from them, including first name and last name and the name of their science teacher. We do not collect personal contact information from pre-scientists through the registration process.
    • We also may collect electronic copies of the letters from both STEM professionals and pre-scientists as part of the pen pal program administration.
  2. Information collected via technology

    • To make our Site more useful, our servers (which are hosted by a third-party service provider) may collect information from the computer or device of visitors to our Site. This information includes but is not limited to:
      • The date and time of visit, the web pages and content viewed, and links that were clicked on while navigating our Site
      • The site visited before and after visiting our Site
      • The Internet Protocol (IP) address (a numerical address assigned to each computer by the user’s Internet service provider) that can sometimes be used to derive a user’s general geographic area
      • Search terms entered using our Site or on a referral site
    • We use third-party analytics services (“Analytics Services”) to help analyze how users use our Site. The information generated about the use of our Site (the “Analytics Information”) is transmitted to the Analytics Services in order to compile reports on user activity. The Analytics Services may also transfer the Analytics Information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process Analytics Information on their behalf.

6. Use of Personal Data

All Personal Data that we collect is used either to communicate with users of our Site or to improve the service our program provides.

  1. General use

    We may use Personal Data to:

    • Measure and analyze audience traffic and improve the quality of users’ experience when they interact with our Site
    • Send a welcome email to verify ownership of the email address provided by a mailing list subscriber
    • Send newsletters and promotional materials for the LPS program
    • Understand whether our users read email messages and click on links within those messages
    • Prevent potentially prohibited or illegal activities and comply with applicable laws
  2. Pen pal program administration

    Part of our mission is to create personal connections between scientists and pre-scientists, and we are committed to doing so while protecting the privacy and safety of all our participants. In order to facilitate meaningful correspondence, we match scientists and pre-scientists as pen pals on the basis of their shared interests, including topics in science as well as hobbies and recreational activities. Each pre-scientist’s first name and last initial is disclosed to their scientist pen pal.

    We also ask both scientists and pre-scientists for demographic data, including race and gender identity. Providing these data is not required for participation. We use these data to better understand our diverse population of students and volunteers and to improve the service we provide.

  3. Creation of Anonymous Data

    We may create Anonymous Data records from Personal Data by excluding information (such as name and contact information) that makes the data personally identifiable. We reserve the right to use Anonymous Data for any purpose and disclose Anonymous Data to third parties at our discretion.

7. Disclosure of Personal Data

We may disclose users’ Personal Data as described below:

  1. Third-party service providers

    We may share users’ Personal Data with third-party service providers, such as payment processors or marketing platforms. For example, we use MailChimp to maintain our email list and Airtable to manage our program data. When users provide us with their Personal Data, we may use these services to store and process those data.

  2. Internal access

    In order to administer the pen pal program, we may share some or all of our users’ Personal Data with employees or volunteers associated with the LPS program. All employees and volunteers agree to abide by the terms of this Privacy Policy. LPS is an independent, tax-exempt, non-profit corporation. If LPS is operated by another corporate entity in the future, that organization will assume the rights and obligations regarding Personal Data described in this Privacy Policy.

  3. Other disclosures

    We may disclose Personal Data if such disclosure is appropriate (a) in connection with any legal investigation or proceeding; (b) to comply with relevant laws or to respond to subpoenas or warrants served on us; and/or (c) to protect the safety of our program participants.

8. Third-party websites

Our Site may contain links to third-party websites. When users click on a link to any other website or location, they will leave our Site and go to another site which may collect Personal Data or Anonymous Data. We are not responsible for these outside websites or their content. We encourage users to read the privacy policies of every website they visit.

9. Choices

Users have choices regarding how we use their information:

  1. Email communications

    We may periodically send newsletters and other emails that promote participation in our pen pal program or charitable contribution to our organization. When users receive any communications from us, they may indicate a preference to stop receiving further communications from us. Mailing list subscribers have the opportunity to opt out by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in the email they receive.

  2. Changing or deleting information

    Despite the indicated preferences for newsletters and marketing emails, we may continue to send information about the pen pal program to scientists who have registered to participate in the past 2 years. Users may request to have any of their information changed or deleted by contacting us directly at info@prescientist.org.

10. Changes to this Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time for any reason. We will notify users of any changes to our Privacy Policy by posting the new Privacy Policy at www.prescientist.org/privacy and changing the “Last Updated” date above.