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Get Involved

Whether you need volunteer hours, would like to share your research with the world, or just love science, the Office of Science Outreach has a way to get involved!

 

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

We need volunteers year-round at on-campus and school events! Penn State students, student groups, labs, and employees can help us run events, community members in STEM fields can serve as speakers, and local STEM-oriented companies can table at some of our events. Events and programs we are currently recruiting volunteers for are listed below.

ENVISION 2020 – Call for Volunteers and Workshop Proposals is OPEN!

ENVISION, the Office of Science Outreach's annual STEM Career Day Supporting Young Women, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 29th 2020. This all-day event features workshops and networking sessions designed to expose middle and high school-aged students to potential academic and career pathways in STEM. We are currently seeking volunteers and workshop proposals for this exciting annual event – see below for more information!

  • Individual Volunteers: Individuals can volunteer in a few different roles (details for each are below). If you are interested in volunteering for any of these roles, please fill out this interest survey: https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6A689hRb3nXasf3. Spots are limited, so fill out the survey ASAP if you’d like to be part of this great event!
    • Group Mentors (full-day commitment): Our mentors serve as guides for a group of 5-6 students throughout the ENVISION event. Along with leading their groups through the three workshop sessions, mentors will also serve as important role models for participants by providing encouragement, sharing their own stories, and answering their group's questions throughout the day. Mentors will receive lunch and an event T-shirt! Group mentors will be required to get their 3 publicly available background clearances if they do not already have them.
    • Networking Volunteers (1.5 hr commitment): Share your journey into science with our ENVISION attendees as a volunteer at our afternoon networking session (tentatively set for 3-4pm)! This is a great option for people who would like to get involved but are unable to commit to volunteer the whole day. (Background clearances not required for this role.)
    • Logistics/Supporting Volunteers (flexible commitment): A great option for those who are more interested in helping with the background setup and logistics of the event! Our logistics volunteers will work with the Outreach team to make sure the event is a fun and well-run experience for all of our attendees! (Background clearances are required for logistics volunteers.)

  • Workshop Proposals
    • The interactive STEM workshops are the heart of the ENVISION event! We are currently seeking proposals for 60-minute workshops that are designed to engage 15-20 middle or high school girls in hands-on inquiry and exploration of STEM topics. Faculty members, post-docs, graduate student groups and undergraduate student groups are encouraged to submit workshop ideas!
    • If your lab, department unit, or student group is interested in running a workshop, please follow this BOX link (https://psu.box.com/s/h1he3ufyoaof6enxc1xnnatk995lwkm2) to download the ENVISION Workshop Proposal Template. The  template document contains more information about the expected length and format of the workshops. Submit completed proposals to Tim Gleason at tgg119@psu.edu by 5pm on Friday, December 13th, 2019.
    • The Science Outreach team will be evaluating the proposals as they are received, and will notify teams of final decisions the week of December 16th

EXPLORATION-U: STATE COLLEGE

Our Exploration-U Community Science Night event at State College Area High School is Tuesday, March 24th (snow date March 26th.)   The event runs from 6-8pm and welcomes hundreds of members of the local community each year.  Student organizations, community groups, research labs, and local STEM companies are invited and encouraged to serve as exhibitors and engage the families in attendance with fun STEM activities and demos! Registration will be open starting early in the Spring semester.

BELLEFONTE YOUTH CENTER- Run a Science Workshop!

We have recently cultivated a relationship with the Bellefonte Youth Center run by the Youth Service Bureau. Our first workshops were held in the Fall of 2019, with more expected in the future. If you, your lab, student group, or other STEM-related organization would like to host an hour-long evening workshop with BYC students, contact Tim Gleason at tgg119@psu.edu. Dates and times are somewhat flexible!

 

Work With Us

Every summer we hire staff to run our Science-U Summer Camps. If you're interested in working with us, check out our positions here

 

 Classes

We run two classes for Penn State students- check them out below!

Are you a freshman or sophomore with an interest in developing your science outreach and communication skills? Sign up for our section of SC 294-001: Research Project Courses – Introduction to Science Outreach and Communication! Learn the best practices of science outreach and communication and practice your skills with real-world audiences through assignments like developing your own outreach activity and writing a blog post for the College of Science website! See below for more information.

Course Description

This course is taught by Office of Science Outreach staff and will introduce participants to the different forms of science outreach and science communication, as well as underlying theory, best practices, and challenges. Activities and assignments will include designing and leading science outreach activities and creating communications pieces that share science with the public (e.g., blog posts, videos).  This course is designed for students who want to develop their science outreach and communication skills so that they can be effective science advocates, educators, and communicators throughout their careers. The course is targeted at underclassmen, though juniors and seniors are not discouraged from registering. 

*The 1-hour weekly course meeting time is determined based on the mutual availability of all students registered.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. How will the 1-hour class meeting each week be scheduled?
    Since this is a small course (enrollment is capped at 10 students), we will coordinate our weekly meeting time over email with all student before the semester begins.
  2. Isn’t SC 294 just for getting research or internship credit? 
    SC 294 is a course titled “Research Project Courses” that has mostly been used for research or internship credit in the past. Since this course is also fairly project-based, we were able to use the SC 294 course number to offer our special science outreach and communication-focused section of the course!
  3. Is this the same thing as the CHEM 297A freshman seminar that has been offered in the past? This course will be based on some of the content from CHEM 297A (which we will no longer be offering), but we will also be adding in new opportunities and assignments based on student and faculty feedback. The goal of the course is the same – we want to help students who are interested in outreach and communication develop their skills and connect them to opportunities to practice their skills and get involved!

Course Description

SC 451 will provide students with the skills and experience necessary to design outreach activities based on their research and interests, communicate their science in multiple modes, and engage with diverse audiences. Lectures will provide foundational material via a focus on the fundamentals of science communication and outreach, as well as some of the pedagogical basics of science education. Guest speakers will build upon this groundwork by leading modules on lesson planning for effective outreach and communicating with audiences through a variety of platforms, including social media, personal or professional blogs, media interviews, and press releases. These guest modules will be supplemented by panel discussions (with outreach and research professionals from Penn State) on science engagement in different settings (e.g., museums, extension meetings, public science lectures, K-12 classrooms, etc.), disseminating research via social media, and creating and integrating research-related outreach into broader impact statements for grant proposals.

The design of student outreach projects will provide a unifying thread throughout the semester, as students work in small groups to create, refine, and implement unique outreach activities following best practices outlined in lectures and panel discussions. Students will be encouraged to choose topics outside of their normal studies, expanding their ability to communicate science with which they are less familiar. Students will have multiple opportunities to both receive feedback from their peers and instructors and offer feedback on their peers' projects. Students will exhibit their activities at an event, and in doing so, practice the communication and engagement skills they developed throughout the semester. Through this process, students will gain experience disseminating science, as well as confidence in their ability to accomplish successful science outreach. Afterward, students will evaluate and reflect on their experience and use this self-evaluation to refine their activities for future use.

 

 

Interested in getting involved?

Contact us via email at sciencecamps@science.psu.edu or give us a call at (814) 865-0083

 Office of Science Outreach, 201 Ritenour Building, University Park, PA 16802