A vital part of my job as a scientist is to inspire the next generation of researchers, and to communicate the value of research to non-scientists. As a graduate student and postdoc I have been involved in several programs aimed at doing just that.
1. SCOPE: For three years of my Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I was a co-coordinator of the Scripps Community Outreach Program for Education (SCOPE). This wonderful group facilitated scientific outreach between scientists at SIO and the broader educational community in San Diego and beyond. We relied on volunteers, most of whom were graduate students, to share their expertise in and their passion for marine science with students and teachers. SCOPE was (and continues to be) hugely successful, and my experience as a leader inspires me to continue looking for outreach opportunities here in Atlanta.
2. SWiMS: The Summer Workshop in Marine Science is a week-long workshop for high school teachers in the Atlanta area who are interested in incorporating marine science lessons into their curricula. It is run by the Stewart Lab at Georgia Tech, who design lesson plans for middle- and high-school level classes and present them to the teachers, and I have helped design and deliver these lessons for the past two years. I am excited to continue developing this workshop as a way to impact teachers who may not otherwise be exposed to marine science.
3. Mentorship: The mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students is one of the most important and fulfilling parts of my job. I myself benefited from wonderful mentors who encouraged me to pursue my academic science goals, and it is a duty and a thrill to pay it forward. I am especially committed to supporting younger female scientists, who are at a lifelong disadvantage for reaching the top tiers of academic science. My past mentees have gone on to medical school, industry science, and graduate school, including one who joined my Ph.D. lab. They are my students and my friends, and I look forward to training and supporting students for the remainder of my career.
I am also a member of the advocacy group 500 Women Scientists, which works to make science more open, inclusive, and accessible. As part of our efforts to encourage political awareness, I co-authored an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution with my colleague Dr. Nicole Baran about the proposed Republican tax bill and its potential effects on higher education.