At the 2013 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences Meeting, COSEE-Ocean Systems (COSEE-OS) and the Institute for Broadening Participation
(IBP) hosted two workshops
designed to 1) identify effective methods of presenting scientific information and 2) address preconceptions towards science with an eye toward communicating information to various audiences. The majority of attendees found the workshops useful and were receptive to the idea of using an alternative presentation method (i.e. concept mapping) as a way to communicate their science in an inclusive and effective manner.
Be Inclusive I: Share Your Research Effectively
The first workshop introduced tools and techniques to help research scientists communicate their science and was divided into three parts: 1) Deconstructing Your Pathway to Science, 2) Constructing Your Pathway to Science, and 3) Common Conceptions About Science. Specific workshop goals were to:
- Identify higher-level concepts that bridge research fields. Participants split into pairs and constructed a concept map that combined both of their research interests along with the added concept of climate.
- Deconstruct their pathway to becoming a scientist and to then share their stories through the use of concept mapping. Individuals spread out and mingled, giving others an opportunity to examine their maps while listening to the map creators’ stories.
- Better understand how to build on common conceptual understanding in order to tell their science story in an effective manner. To achieve this goal, COSEE-OS staff developed a variety of the popular “What I Really Do” online meme.
- Discuss how they could use their research to dispel myths about science using their own research and a handout on preconceptions in science (generated by the University of California at Berkeley) as a guide.
Be Inclusive II: Address Barriers to Participation
The second workshop focused on illuminating the positive factors that research indicates support success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and reduce barriers to participation. Presentations on the impact of positive factors and barriers based on personal STEM pathways were given by Dr. Ambrose Jearld (Director of the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program) and Dr. Thomas Windham (Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, Colorado State University). Dr. Jearld's life map is shown at right (click to enlarge). The goals of this workshop were to:
- Recap peer-identified positive factors identified during the first workshop.
- Take a closer look at research-based evidence on positive factors.
- Consolidate understanding through listening and reflecting, and envision context-based strategies for implementation. To this end a) undergraduate attendees suggested serving as “near peer” mentors to lower division students (citing that they wished someone had done this for them), b) post-doc/graduate students proposed outreach activities such as working directly with K-12 students in the capacity of role models, and c) senior faculty shared their experiences “plugging into” effective regional and national programs.
, with a team of researchers and other experts from the University of Maine, New England Aquarium, and the Institute for Broadening Participation, was established to implement several integrated activities, each designed to improve COSEE's impact on rural and inland communities.