Science is inextricably intertwined with our lives and momentous issues that affect and matter to many people, regardless of their passion or profession: the politics of net neutrality, economics of environmental pollution, ethics of privacy on social media, and more.
Understanding the fundamentals of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and skills in scientific thinking has become crucial for everyone. Nonetheless, many view science as intimidating or irrelevant.
Science communication, the practice of explaining scientific topics in an exciting, clear, and accurate manner, is essential for bridging the gap between science and society.
Science & Us aims to teach youth about the growing field of science communication, which is rarely mentioned to high school students, as well as important skills in communication.
We strive to enable STEM-oriented students to better explain their passions to non-expert friends and others, and let students with diverse (i.e. STEM and non-STEM) interests know that they don’t necessarily have to “choose a side.”
We especially try to reach two groups of people:
1. STEM-curious1 students who have always been attracted to the non-technical aspects2 of STEM
2. STEM-curious1 students who struggle to communicate their passion and projects to people who don’t share their interests
1 “STEM-curious students” is a broad term referring to students who demonstrate interest and/or aptitude in science, technology, engineering, and/or math by participating in extracurricular activities, taking and being engaged in classes, or other ways.
2 Examples of the non-technical aspects could be:
We hope to accomplish two goals with our target audiences:
1. Expose students to careers and fields that support science, but aren’t necessarily “doing” science itself. Examples include:
2. Teach students the skills of science communication and get them to put it into practice
We define science communication as explaining scientific concepts in engaging and understandable ways to diverse audiences through any medium (e.g. oral communication, writing, videos).
To reach our goals, we try these approaches and revise them as necessary:
If you spoke with a student before and after they participate in a Science & Us program, what differences would you expect to hear? What does it look like if we accomplish our goals?
Possible Before: Target Audience #1 may be looking for opportunities to combine interests in both STEM and other fields, but may not be aware that these opportunities exist
Ideal After: Students are aware of “bridge-building” careers, including the name of the job, the day-to-day tasks the job involves, what steps they need to take to work toward the job, and ideally diverse people who have that job
Possible Before: Target Audience #2 struggles to communicate what they’re excited about to others who don’t have the same expertise or understanding level
Ideal After: Students can effectively explain their passions in understandable ways, practice and develop that skill, and gain a deeper understanding of their own interests too
Biographies coming soon!