On Using a Makerspace for STEM Education

The Maker Movement has proved itself to be a valuable component of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education ecosystem. The underlying philosophy of this movement involves open-ended creativity, development of critical thinking and intellectual flexibility, as well as instill confidence and a sense of accomplishment. The blueprints for building a makerspace are fairly straightforward, and usually incorporates a few key items like 3D printers, sewing machines, power tools, soldering gear, and maybe a laser cutter. But is it as simple as “build it and they will come?” To help answer the question of “So you have a makerspace, now what?” Jaymes Dec, middle school technology teacher and founder of NYC Makery, served up some valuable advice at our recent SOWING Circle Meetup (SOWING stands for Science Outreach Working to Inspire the Next Generation, and is a gathering for anyone who works as a STEM educator to share resources and brainstorm ideas). In his talk, Jaymes outlined a series of questions to help educators maximize the impact of making in STEM. What is a makerspace? According to Jaymes, a makerspace is simply a space where people use a set of shared tools for making things. There is usually a facilitator

Four Things I Learned by Starting a Science Podcast

By John Borghi Last week, I released the first official episode of Bold Signals- a podcast where I attempt to capture the human side of science. In each episode, I interview either a scientist about the lived experience of doing science or a non-scientist about how they experience science in their everyday life. If this sounds interesting, you can stream the podcast on SoundCloud or download it through iTunes. A new episode will come out every Wednesday this summer, with a second season starting sometime in the Fall. I started the podcast because I wanted to reveal the struggles and frustrations that exist between the lines of the results and discussion sections of scientific articles. But, even in the short time I've been working on Bold Signals, I've learned a whole lot about how science is produced, applied, and communicated. Here are the bullet points: 1. Making a podcast isn’t so difficult (except when it is) On some level, recording a podcast is as simple as plugging in some microphones and talking with some neat people for about an hour. Before I conducted the first interview, I spent a long time researching recording equipment, editing software, and hosting options. I interrogated experienced

Creating a New Identity: Transitioning from Research to Outreach

The following series is based off The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program’s presentation at the annual AAAS meeting, presented in San Jose, CA by Jeanne Garbarino, Elizabeth Waters, and Ali Cohen. The goals for this presentation and blog post series are to introduce science outreach, how to get started in science outreach, and how to leverage science outreach for professional development. Find your authentic voice when creating your new identity. Images: http://bit.ly/18hqFB7 & http://bit.ly/1vv70rs Written by Elizabeth Waters, PhD, Lead Scientist for The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program You are s scientist who is transitioning into a career in science education, and you find the advertisement for your dream job: A PhD in education, science, technology, or math preferred; A track record in innovative and results-oriented leadership; Exceptional written and oral communications skills; Knowledge of education best practices from across various STEM disciplines; understanding of diverse pedagogical approaches to education, familiarity with learning styles and developmental stages; an ability to bring to bear a broad range of educational tools and methods; facility with creating innovative, personal, and high-touch educational experiences for diverse audiences; A network and working relationships in the STEM education sector; Specialization in one or more STEM domains:

My Graduate Career: How one student is using science outreach for professional development

The following series is based off The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program’s presentation at the annual AAAS meeting, presented in San Jose, CA by Jeanne Garbarino, Elizabeth Waters, and Ali Cohen. The goals for this presentation and blog post series are to introduce science outreach, how to get started in science outreach, and how to leverage science outreach for professional development. WCMC student Ali Cohen participating in science outreach for career development Written by Ali Cohen, WCMC Graduate Student and Sackler Fellow  I discovered the flavor of science outreach as an undergraduate, when I taught elementary and middle school girls from underserved communities simple science lessons. Finding this type of experience was not obvious to me when I got to graduate school, and by the end of my first year, I really missed having the opportunity to spread my enthusiasm for science and debunk any preconceived notions of science being scary or inaccessible. To help fulfill this unmet need in my life, I went about trying to find ways to bring more of these opportunities to my graduate school community. In doing so, I’ve learned a few things about integrating science outreach into an academic setting, and discovered career

Doing Science Outreach: The Basics

The following series is based off The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program’spresentation at the annual AAAS meeting, presented in San Jose, CA byJeanne Garbarino, Elizabeth Waters, and Ali Cohen. The goals for this presentation and blog post series are to introduce science outreach, how to get started in science outreach, and how to leverage science outreach for professional development.   Jeanne Garbarino working with NYC's Camp G.O.A.L.S. for Girls group Aligning yourself to make a productive impact is the preferred goal when it comes to engaging with non-scientific audiences. To do this, it is important to have a plan – think about what points you want to make, the type of language you should use, how the message will be delivered, etc… Putting yourself out there can be stressful, but a little prep work beforehand can take you a long way. Regardless of whether you are joining established science outreach activities, or are interested in creating new science outreach content, there are several points to keep in mind that will help keep you on track. Identify your message Science is BIG. Practically everything and everyone can be explained in some sort of scientific terms. But trying to present

So You Want To Do Science Outreach: Getting Started

The following series is based off The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program’s presentation at the annual AAAS meeting, presented in San Jose, CA by Jeanne Garbarino, Elizabeth Waters, and Ali Cohen. The goals for this presentation and blog post series are to introduce science outreach, how to get started in science outreach, and how to leverage science outreach for professional development. Teaching kids about the importance of science safety Science Outreach can be accomplished at varying degrees of involvement or commitment. Whether you are more interested in one-off, plug-and-play type of experiences that suit a demanding work schedule, or are interested in a more regular commitment, science outreach experience adds value to your professional portfolio. The entry points for getting involved are probably more obvious than you think! Here is how you can find something that works for your schedule and goals: Figure Out What You Want to Get Out of It It is quite obvious that science outreach often benefits the recipients of the outreach effort. However, getting involved in science outreach does not have to be entirely altruistic. Because the concept of “science outreach” is incredibly broad, it is possible to construct a narrative of science outreach

Expanding Your Professional Marketability Through Science Outreach

The following series is based off The Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program's presentation at the annual AAAS meeting, presented in San Jose, CA by Jeanne Garbarino, Elizabeth Waters, and Ali Cohen. The goals for this presentation and blog post series are to introduce science outreach, how to get started in science outreach, and how to leverage science outreach for professional development. Letting kids experiment with circuits at Science Saturday, the annual family science festival at The Rockefeller University Gone are the days when getting an advanced degree in science or engineering likely meant a career as an academic researcher. Given the increasing number of science and engineering degrees awarded each year, coupled with a near stagnant academic job market, it is clear that developing transferable skills while training is paramount. However, because of a variety of reasons such as workload, mentor support, and/or availability of resources, it can sometimes be difficult to pursue professional interests outside of the lab. One relatively straightforward mechanism to gain soft skills is to participate in science outreach efforts. Science outreach, in basic terms, indicates the goal of raising awareness of science-related topics to an audience of non-scientists. This can be interpreted in many

Science Saturday!

by Derek Simon Hope for the Future: Inspiring Young Minds Some disturbing statistics: 46% of Americans deny that evolution is scientific truth (Gallup, 2012) and 29% still refuse to acknowledge that global warming is occurring (Gallup, 2014), despite the overwhelming consensus amongst the professional scientific community confirming the validity of these topics. Despite these trends, the United States remains the economic power of the world and the leader in innovations, discoveries, and scientific research, but how can we maintain this position when we allow some of our citizens to succumb to such unfortunate ignorance? Perhaps scientists themselves are partly to blame? After all, what good is knowledge and discovery unless it can be properly communicated and appreciated by the average American? On Saturday May 3, at the Rockefeller University (RU) on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a group of over 60 scientists and 40 other volunteers transformed the prestigious research institute into a smorgasbord of scientific delight and a font of inspiration for young minds! With over 25 activity booths, the inaugural Science Saturday, brain-child of RU’s Science Outreach Director Dr. Jeanne Garbarino, was an ambitious and exciting approach to tackling public ignorance towards scientific discovery: preventing it from ever existing.

The Duality of DNA Barcoding: A powerful technique that translates in the classroom

By Jeanne Garbarino, @JeanneGarb   DNA Barcoding workshop particpants with Harlem Lab Manager, Melissa Lee (2nd from right) Last week Rockefeller’s Science Outreach Program piloted a new workshop series for science teachers in collaboration with the Harlem DNA Lab of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Led by Harlem DNA Lab manager Melissa Lee, a dedicated group of science teachers learned how to use and apply DNA barcoding, and then discussed ways to implement it in the classroom. DNA barcoding harnesses modern biology to identify and classify living things, and is markedly more efficient compared to traditional taxonomic classification methods. By studying the variations in short stretches of moderately conserved genes, scientists can quickly and objectively figure out the biological identity of anything that contains DNA. Being able to quickly identify a species is critical - the biodiversity on our planet is rapidly decreasing, and using unique genetic sequence identifiers (“barcodes”) can help to catalogue living things before they disappear forever. Moreover, this process can provide key insights into the mechanism of evolution through speciation. In addition to advancing our understanding of biology, DNA barcoding can be performed with simple training, making it an increasingly popular science lab for

Welcome to The Incubator!

The Incubator - hatching conversations about science - is a blog fueled by The Rockefeller University community.  In an effort to help shape expectations for the type of content you will find on The Incubator, we have highlighted a few key points that are central to our mission: Community Engagement   By improving the dialogue between RU and the broader community, we hope to improve science literacy and create a base of informed consumers of science.  There is a clear disconnect between the appropriate interpretations of basic and clinical research projects and what the public understands.  When explanations are offered, they are generally dull, jargon-laden science lessons. We have seen the consequences of a scientific community that has become disengaged with the general public.  If scientists do not help pass on their passion for science to the populous, the public cannot differentiate between evidence-based science and pseudoscience.  Examples of this are found by simply looking at declining vaccination rates, or legislative policies that are not aligned with rigorously proven scientific findings. Scientific Openness The Incubator is meant to be, in part, a platform to facilitate discussions among scientists, and provide a window to showcase the work and philosophies born at RU in