Community engagement

We are passionate about engaging with our community to increase access and experiences with evolution, diverse scientists, and the scientific process. We intentionally engage with groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM. Broadly, we work to 1) connect our local community to local research, 2) provide opportunities for our community to participate in the scientific process, and 3) engage communities at our field sites (Hawaii) by sharing our work and collaborating on research.

Sharing local research with the community

We’ve worked hard to create events where the public can interact with scientists to learn about the research happening in their communities. Here are a few highlights: in Davenport we have an annual cricket party (2nd annual) where college seniors share their semester-long research on purring crickets and a Nahant Marsh Breakfast where freshman share their semester-long field research conducted at Nahant Marsh. In Denver graduate students shared their research at a distilled science pub night.

Doing science in the community

Authentic science experiences are critical — why would students be interested in pursuing careers in STEM if they have not been exposed to the scientific process? We’ve created and led programs that allow K-12 students to participate in the scientific process, often presenting their results at local conferences. For example: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

In order to reach more students, we also adapted an authentic science program into a self-guided inquiry kit that teaches evolution by natural selection in an engaging way.

To reach an even larger audience, we’ve also also created engaging programs that can accommodate large numbers of students as part of big collaborative events (e.g., CSEF, Femme STEM, MSTD) as well as games and other resources using data from our research.

Connecting with the community at our field sites

We make an effort to engage with local students and the public at our field sites in Hawaii. For example, we’ve been collaborating with Dr. Spencer Ingley and his students at Brigham Young University on the island of Oahu. On Molokai, we’ve worked closely with Dr Paul Hosten from the National Park, native Hawaiian students, and the public including pastors and several nuns. We are currently applying for funding to expand our collaborations in Hawaii (fingers crossed).

Above I’ve only listed a few of our efforts to engage the community in the scientific process. Here are some photos from previous community engagement programs.

Please contact us for more information or if you’d like to collaborate.