At a time when science and science education are central to major political and social debates, providing the general public with tools to think broadly and critically about scientific research and the role science plays in society is essential, and also one of the most rewarding things we do!
Programs at the National Museum of Natural History
Expert Is In. This program is usually hosted in the museum's Q?rius Science Education Center where scientists can interact one-on-one with the public. The goal is to share your research with the public using objects (e.g. specimens, research equipment) and other visuals (e.g. photos, videos). Bell Lab members work with the Science Education team to develop activities that effectively communicate our message to museum visitors.
Lab demonstrations. Technical projects (e.g. specimen prep, illustration, microscopy, 3D imaging) can be demonstrated in the Q?rius Lab in front of (or even with) the public.
Youth programs. The Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) internship program can always use more mentors eager to work with teens from populations underrepresented in science. If a commitment to a summer intern is too much, there are other opportunities to contribute to the program such as leading tours or participating in informal career chats.
Smithsonian Science How. These 30-minute live broadcasts aim to engage middle-school students in NMNH research, collections, and science staff. Each program is an interview-style show that is aired twice in the same day and later archived (viewable online and through public access television stations nationwide).
Banner photo: Students in São Tomé learning about their endemic avifauna and testing out their new binoculars (photo by Andrew Stanbridge).