Science Outreach Toolkit

I am working on a Science Outreach Toolkit, and I’d like your help.

Background

As a young girl pursuing a career in the sciences, I felt myself searching for other female role models in STEM. When I stumbled across the work of YouTubers Alex Dainis and Emily Grasilie, I found what I was looking for — strong females researching STEM subjects. The excitement I felt in finding them led me to pursue science outreach on my own. At the age of twelve, I started my own YouTube Channel: Sci Files, and I’ve been making videos ever since.

I’ve since also developed presentations, workshops, and I even wrote a book on different careers and female role models in the sciences called STEM Files. I’ve been fortunate in that I have always had access to family and teachers, all of whom support my exploration of the sciences. However, I recognize that not everyone is so lucky.

My Project

Pursuing a career in the sciences, especially outreach and communications, can be daunting without guidance and resources. This has led me to my current goal of creating a Science Outreach Toolkit to help people of all ages and backgrounds get involved in STEM outreach. Many current outreach measures revolve around in-person lessons run by organizations, or via virtual programming. However, geography and technology can prove to be great limitations to overcome. Science communication is essential in encouraging students to pursue scientific fields and can often lead to supporting students in communities with limited science curricula in school. Furthermore, language barriers and cultural barriers to science often restrict its accessibility. Here, science communication and outreach present as opportunities to meet communities where they are, and to bridge the gap between the public and STEM subjects.

As a member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group, I helped co-write a white paper on Open Science in Canada with Eleanor Haine-Bennett (a STAN board member), and we hope to use a similarly collaborative approach for this Science Outreach Toolkit project. Would you like to be involved?

Open Science utilizes all forms of science communication and outreach, allowing the general public to access science at all levels, facilitating the goal of increasing public awareness and engagement in science. This toolkit will be aimed at educating youth on how to become effective science communicators. Thereby encouraging younger members of our community to step up and take on the role of teacher within STEM.

Aligning with UNESCO’s goals of Gender Equality and Education and Futures of Education, the toolkit has the following objectives:

● Explore the science communication methods currently used in Canada;

● Discuss who can communicate science and who is communicating science and who should be communicating science;

● Investigate who currently benefits from science communication, and how can we ensure that we are working with and reaching marginalized communities as we move forward;

● Explore effective forms of science communication in the context of their target audience (i.e. internet access, accessibility to lab spaces, etc); and

● Future ideas for science communication in Canada.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in contributing to, please contact me to get involved! You can reach me at chan.ella@ gmail.com.

Thank you so much for your time!

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About the author:

Ella Chan is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia studying pharmacology and microbiology. She started her YouTube channel, Sci Files, eight years ago and has since been involved in science outreach through workshops partnerships with Science Venture UVic, Science World, SCWIST and Flavourful Science, and presentations with WWEST. In 2019, she joined the CCUNESCO Youth Advisory Group in the Natural Sciences sectoral committee and remains engaged in working with CCUNESCO to promote science outreach and access to science.

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