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

For NYC High Schoolers, STEM Career Day Outranks Watching Netflix

"My friends are watching Netflix, I get to be here!" @NYCSchools #STEMmatters Career Day @RockefellerUniv #RockEdu pic.twitter.com/Cb9tkeUcJG — Science Outreach (@rockedu_) November 3, 2015 Over fifty NYC public high school students made the trek to The Rockefeller University for the Fourth Annual STEM Matters NYC Career Day on Tuesday, November 3. The NYC Department of Education (DOE) sponsors this unique opportunity to give high schoolers an inside peek into careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Students could register for both a morning and an afternoon session, choosing from a diverse list of 23 companies including the American Museum of Natural History, CVS Health, and Murray’s Cheese. The Rockefeller University Collaborative Research Center (CRC) Along with a representative from the NYC DOE, I greeted students as they arrived at Rockefeller’s 66th Street gates. We spoke with students about their interests and goals related to STEM. The students’ eyes danced with wonder as they walked up towards the glass facade of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC). “All my friends are watching Netflix, and I get to be here!” one student beamed. Wasting no time, students signed in, took off their backpacks, and separated into lab tour groups. Scientists

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

Podcast: First Year in Grad School

Image from PhD Comics   Emily Lorenzen and Bennett Ferris talk with us as they embark on a long journey through graduate school at The Rockefeller University.

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.

Citizen Science and the American Cockroach

We mostly know cockroaches as pests. But the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, is one of the most successful species that have ever lived. Originating during the carboniferous period over 350 million years ago - even before the dinosaurs walked on earth - these bugs have continually adapted to a variety of environmental conditions. Very recently (relative to geologic time scales), the American cockroach has spread from it’s native continent of Africa, hitching a ride on ships traveling all over the world, and is now very commonly found in nearly all major cities. Because of this expansive natural history and wide-ranging habitat, the American cockroach can be a wealth of information when it comes to genetic diversity. Through DNA Barcoding, which is a genetic technique used to identify a specific species, researchers at The Rockefeller University hope to answer questions about the American cockroach, and unlock secrets of natural selection and evolution. But your help is needed! High school student researcher eagerly seeks cockroach specimens In collaboration with the Kronauer Laboratory for Insect Social Evolution and the Program for the Human Environment, a high school student is eagerly seeking (dead) cockroach specimens from any location in or around NYC and from other US

Mutant Mosquito Solves Mysteries of Attraction and Repulsion

By Matthew DeGennaro, @mattdegennaro An Aedes aegypti female feeding on human blood  Not all mosquitoes have a taste for human blood. But when they do bite us, they can potentially introduce a blood-borne infectious agent, like the virus that causes dengue fever or the microorganism that causes malaria. The goal of my research in the Vosshall Lab at The Rockefeller University is to identify the genes that cause mosquitoes to seek out humans so we can find more effective ways to repel them. My most recent findings, published last week in Nature, focus on a gene called ORCO (Odorant Receptor Co-receptor) in the dengue virus carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Specifically, my colleagues and I presented a mechanism for how mosquitoes use ORCO to locate and confirm the identity of a human host. Intriguingly, this same protein is also needed for mosquitoes to be repulsed by the insect repellent DEET. During her post-doc in Richard Axel’s lab at Columbia University, Leslie Vosshall identified a family of proteins, called odorant receptors (ORs), that insects use to smell odors. Then, as head of the Laboratory for Neurogenetics and Behavior at The Rockefeller University, Leslie discovered how these OR proteins work together to