To paraphrase, former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, all outreach is local. In that vein, the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote and organize science outreach activities in local communities across the country.
The most recent venture was a novel partnership with the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliates Network, a chapter-based consortium of over 90 institutions. Participation in science outreach is a requirement for individual UAN chapters, so the partnership was a natural fit. But to really spice the pot, the Public Outreach Committee worked with the UAN to develop a grant program that would allow individual chapters to apply for up to $500 to facilitate student participation in outreach activities.
Ultimately, chapters at seven schools were approved for funding this year. Some are continuing programming that they have been part of previously, while some are starting programs anew:
- HENDRIX COLLEGE: Will bring student presentations and biology tutoring sessions to underserved students at Wonderview High School.
- NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Will work with the Northeastern Program for Teaching By Undergraduates (NEPTUN) to organize and teach a series of science-themed classes aimed at local high school students. (Chapter link)
- OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY: Will host a molecular biology-themed exhibit at the annual Westerville (OH) Starry Night Family STEAM Festival.
- PURDUE UNIVERSITY: Will host molecular biology-themed exhibit booths at Purdue Spring Fest and Celebrate Science Indiana, and will make regular visits to local K-12 science classes. (Chapter link)
- THE UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA: Will conduct molecular biology experiments alongside students from Tampa Preparatory High School. (Chapter link)
- THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO: Will use amino acid builder kits to teach fundamental concepts in biochemistry to local middle school students from underserved communities.
- WISCONSIN LUTHERAN COLLEGE: Will use the award to help support student attendance at their annual Synthetic Biology Summer Camp.
While this program is only one part of a broader effort to involve ASBMB members in science outreach, the dedication and passion of our undergraduate members are encouraging indicators for success. Even better, participation in these activities will instill an interest in outreach that will (hopefully) endure throughout their careers, wherever they end up.
Read more about the program here.