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Science Communication & Outreach

Opportunities in & around NYC

CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
(Illumination Space)

The GC-affiliated ASRC has an educational space where visitors can learn more about nanoscience, photonics, neuroscience, structural biology & environmental sciences and how science shapes our everyday lives. There are interactive motion and touchscreen games to accompany activities led by ASRC researchers. If you’re a current GC student interested in volunteering in the Illumination Space, you can contact Camille Santistevan at csantistevan@gc.cuny.edu.

American Museum of Natural History

The museum has a ton of volunteer opportunities in different areas (e.g., information desks, tour guides, education hall interpreters, behind-the-scenes collections work, leading class field trips, assisting in big events like SciCafe).

The New York Academy of Sciences

Mentorship opportunities are available in the following programs:

1000 Girls, 1000 Futures

This program was designed to engage young women from around the world interested in STEM and to advance their pursuit of science careers through mentoring and 21st-century skills development. The mentoring is virtual, and you touch base with the student at least twice/month.

Junior Academy

During bootcamps, STEM experts may choose to help lead learning activities, including lectures on challenge-related topics, lessons on research methods and design thinking, and team-building exercises. Scientists can also be mentors to a team, guiding them through the process, and providing in-depth feedback and individualized support.

After-School Program

Mentor middle school students in under-served communities throughout NYC, with the goal of inspiring a lifelong interest in STEM. Participating Mentors receive training in STEM curriculum and youth development, then work in pairs to implement weekly sessions.

Family Science Nights

Spend an evening working with kids on hands-on scientific projects and demonstrations.

500 Women Scientists

500WS is a nonprofit grassroots organization powered by locally organized pods around the world, one of which is in NYC. The mission of 500WS is to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible. They have many events throughout the year including social (happy hour meet-ups), public-facing (science film festival), and activism (Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Women’s march) events. You can join the NYC pod to get involved or peruse their online science communication resources.

Taste of Science NYC

Taste of Science is an annual festival in cities across the US. You can volunteer to speak at the NYC event or just to help run workshops during the 5-day festival. The festival aims to inform the public of the important work taking place in NYC, and for scientists to connect with the people/organizations benefiting from their research. They also have a blog and a podcast you can participate in.

City of Science

Graduate students can volunteer to lead an exhibit at events which rotate around the boroughs. You can see the types of hands-on activities run at the exhibits in their activity guide (PDF). Email volunteers@worldsciencefestival.com to learn more.

Online & Remote Opportunities

Skype a Scientist

Skype-a-Scientist is an online program that matches scientists with classrooms around the world to give students the opportunity to get to know a “real scientist.” Teachers choose the type of scientist they want (general categories like geology, animal scientist, etc.) and an algorithm matches them with scientists who fit the description. You can sign up to be a scientist on the website, and can choose how many classrooms you want to be matched with each semester. You can do it as much as you have time for and want to! You can also choose which K-12 grades you’re comfortable speaking with or choose the ‘any grade’ option.

5 Levels

In 5 Levels, an expert scientist explains a high-level subject in five different layers of complexity— first to a child, then a teenager, then an undergrad majoring in the same subject, a grad student and, finally, a colleague. There is also a Youtube channel. It’s a great way to see how the same concept can be explained in different ways, depending on your audience.

ComSciConversation

The ComSciCon (Communicating Science Conference) blog has articles about science communication strategies, upcoming events, interesting podcasts, etc. A good all-around resource to consult if you’re looking to increase your involvement with SciComm.

SciLine

Run by the AAAS, SciLine is an editorially independent, philanthropically funded, free service connecting journalist with scientific experts around the world. SciLine as a database of scientists (which you can sign up to be included in!) that journalists can consult if they have questions about a particular topic for a story. SciLine also hosts workshops and “boot camps” to build links between scientists and journalists, and to help scientists become better communicators. Scientists can also submit a “tip” (a story idea) that is shared with reporters on SciLine if they need ideas for scientific content.

Other Resources

ComSciCon (Communication Science Conference)

A series of workshops focused on the communication of complex and technical concepts organized by graduate students, for graduate students. ComSciCon attendees meet and interact with professional communicators, build lasting networks and writing original works. There is a flagship conference every year plus several regional ones (New York workshop hosted by Cornell University in Ithaca the past couple of years). You must submit an application to attend the flagship conference, but if you are accepted you get free registration, lodging, and travel to the event.

Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Annenberg Public Policy Center has an ongoing research area on science communication and how the media portrays scientific discoveries. They also maintain SciCheck, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fact-checking platform that monitors the accuracy of scientific statements made on TV, in speeches & interviews and in press media.

National Science Policy Network

The National Science Policy Network is a non-profit American organization that provides a platform for sharing resources, building relationships, and training scientists to become engaged with, and involved in, policy-making at all levels. There are 40 chapters in 22 states with more than 500 members. Microgrants are available to chapters for planning events, training members, etc. and individual members also can apply for professional development grants (e.g., attending a conference, participating in a workshop, taking a course). The NSPN also hosts a policy memo writing competition open to early-career scientists; the website offers resources on how to write policy memos and how to engage with policy-makers. They also maintain a comprehensive resource list of science policy conferences, fellowships, job boards, online resources, and and social media accounts.

Public Face of Science

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Public Face of Science project examines the complex relationship between scientists and society as well as the science of science communication. They have released reports on Perceptions of Science in America, Encountering Science in America, Science During Crisis, and Science & the Legal System. These reports aim to assess how demographic variables affect perceptions of scientific topics, where people get scientific information, and what motivations can be leveraged in science engagement and outreach.

Center for Public Interest Communications

The Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida maintains a list of publicly available articles, podcasts, and videos on strategies to improve your science communication skills.

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