Engaging in my community through science education and outreach has been an important part of my development as an scientist. Dan Gifford and I expressed our views on the participation of physical scientists in outreach in a 2011 article on the Physics Today website.
The following activities have been particularly meaningful to me:
In 2010, I founded Astrobites with several of my classmates. Astrobites is a a daily astrophysical literature journal written by graduate students for undergraduates. Our goal is to promote interest in careers in astronomy by making active research more accessible to undergraduates.
I am co-chair of the organizing committee for the Communicating Science (ComSciCon) workshop, along with other authors of Astrobites and Chembites. The June 2013 workshop trained 50 graduate students in the sciences and engineering from across the country to become ambassadors for their field, through interaction with professional science communicators including journalists, educators, and authors. We hope to offer the workshop again in 2014 and beyond.
I am a volunteer for Science in the News, a Harvard Unviversity graduate student organization which strives to increase public awareness and interest in science. Our efforts include weekly live seminars, visits and mentorship programs with local schools, and an online journal examining high-visibility scientific issues.
I help with the monthly observatory nights at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which are open to the general public. Hundreds of children and adults from Cambridge and the greater-Boston area join us for lectures given by CfA scientists and visiting astronomers and authors and for rooftop observing.
From 2006-2010, I was a volunteer demonstrator and Assistant Director for MSU Science Theatre. I participated in over 40 performances at schools and events across the state of Michigan, performing interactive stage and hands-on demonstrations in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology for K-12 students and adults. I led 18 of these performances, organizing the events, recruiting and training undergraduate volunteers, and designing presentation content.
Appearing on HOM TV's Fun Factory with Ty Jones in 2010: