Interested in science outreach but don’t have much time? Want to provide a “new face of science” for students who only know Hollywood stereotypes? Consider participating in Skype a Scientist, a program that connects scientists with classrooms around the world.
SIPS graduate student Morgan Carter was recently recorded on “Locally Sourced Science (LSS)”, a WRFI program featuring science explorations and events happening in the Finger Lakes Region. Interviewed for LSS by fellow graduate student Nick Segerson, Carter described her experiences using Skype a Scientist to talk with students across the country. Reflecting that many students have never met someone who does scientific research, they often think meeting a “real scientist from Cornell” is pretty cool. Carter added that the students’ background and level of knowledge is often a mystery and she’s sometimes asked questions for which she doesn’t know the answer. “This can be a fun challenge like when I was asked by students to name the deadliest plant. I had no idea, but I brought the conversation around to how different plants can be toxic to different animals”. She also commented that the experience has been her more mindful of how some students’ lives and opportunities differ greatly from her own.
Carter has participated in many types of science outreach during her time at Cornell, but as she focuses on completing her thesis, the bite-sized outreach made possible by Skype-a-Scientist represents a more manageable time commitment.
Surya Saha, Senior Bioinformatics Analyst at the Boyce Thompson Institute, has also participated in the program, speaking with elementary and middle school students about citrus greening disease. Saha commented that he has found the experience very enjoyable and has been impressed by the insightful questions he has received.