When I’m on campus, I’m often tied to a computer or a lab bench. While I love the work that I do, this can often get tedious, and many grad students can describe the malaise that sets in after months of working on a project. Sometimes it is difficult to remember the essence of why you love science in the first place.
To remedy this and provide some service to the community, there is always science outreach that can be done. I really got interested in outreach work with my former advisor at Eastern Kentucky University Dr. Stephen Richter and the EKU division of natural areas. I got to talk to a bunch of kids about wetlands and amphibians for two years, and I hope to make more of those connections at Ohio State.
One of those potential connections, Beechcroft High School, invited our department to participate in this year’s Columbus Public Schools Exceptional Science Fair on April 27th. The Exceptional Science Fair is an opportunity for special needs students to present science projects that they have worked on and meet scientists. I loaded up the car with some live animals and headed there with no idea of what to expect.
The participants in the Exceptional Science Fair were an incredible groups of students that were curious, determined, and enthusiastic. I could barely keep up trying to answer their questions!
For grad students, I can’t recommend community outreach highly enough. It is a brilliant way to make science accessible and reignite some of the emotions that are at the core of scientific inquiry.
Also, I admire the teachers and staff at Beechcroft for hosting this event. They did a great job of keeping everyone involved and excited.
Here are some additional pictures of Beechcroft High students and other students from the Columbus public schools enjoying salamanders and snakes!