When thirteen-year-old Parin’s parents signed her up for a “science communication” event, she wondered, “Why would I go to an event that’s probably about writing lab reports?” After all, she spends most of her time in theater classes, not studying science.
An hour into the event, though, Parin found herself excitedly jotting down notes instead of doodling Sailor Moon-inspired characters (as she was prone to do during biology class). What changed? When a workshop leader demonstrated using Twitter to share science, Parin realized that there were more ways to interact with science than she’d thought.
Science and Us is a youth-led nonprofit teaching teens how to communicate—and by extension, understand—STEM. Science and Us opened up a new world for Parin, one where Sailor Moon and photosynthesis could coexist. Now, as the youngest member of our team, she’s helping make that change in others’ lives too.
Part of the Science and Us team with Gabi Serrato Marks (right) of Communicating Science at MIT and Mackenzie Lemieux, an event volunteer
But Parin is lucky. There are thousands of programs getting young people into STEM, but virtually none focused on communicating it, or highlighting ways to appreciate science without being a scientist. Careers in science media, policy, and outreach—which are important to society and fulfill students’ wide-ranging interests—are almost never mentioned in school. We’re changing that.
We’re interviewing dozens of diverse people who bridge STEM and the public, then compiling their stories and advice into a book. We’ll share this book and free excerpts with classrooms across the country, because finding a place for STEM in your life shouldn’t depend on luck.