Understanding Evolution — Teaching Resource

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What is the Understanding Evolution website?

Understanding Evolution is a non-commercial, education website, teaching the science and history of evolutionary biology. This site is here to help you understand what evolution is, how it works, how it factors into your life, how research in evolutionary biology is performed, and how ideas in this area have changed over time.

Looking for a great resource to help explain evolution to people at any age? Check out the site tour to see all the resources offered — http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/tour.php

They have an abundance of materials!

  • Evo 101 — an in-depth course on the science of evolution
  • Teaching Materials — the ultimate resource for teachers!
  • Resource Library — a browsable archive of articles, tutorials, interactive investigations and more.

The Understanding Evolution site has been a long, on-going collaborative project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. For more information, see their credits page. UCMP continues to develop and maintain partnerships with other scientific and educational organizations in a joint effort to support evolution education. For a listing of these organizations, see their collaborations page. Consider collaborating!

Thanks to Lisa White, and everyone at the UCMP, for making this great resource available to the public.

Understanding Science — Teaching Resource

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Visit the Understanding Science website (http://undsci.berkeley.edu/) to learn how science really works.

The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. The process of science is exciting, but standard explanations often miss its dynamic nature. Science affects us all everyday, but people often feel cut off from science. Science is an intensely human endeavor, but many portrayals gloss over the passion, curiosity, and even rivalries and pitfalls that characterize all human ventures. Understanding Science gives users an inside look at the general principles, methods, and motivations that underlie all of science.

This project has at its heart a re-engagement with science that begins with teacher preparation and ends with broader public understanding. Its immediate goals are to (1) improve teacher understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise, (2) provide resources and strategies that encourage and enable K-16 teachers to reinforce the nature of science throughout their science teaching, and (3) provide a clear and informative reference for students and the general public that accurately portrays the scientific endeavor.

The Understanding Science site was produced by the UC Museum of Paleontology of the University of California at Berkeley, in collaboration with a diverse group of scientists and teachers, and was funded by the National Science Foundation. Understanding Science was informed and initially inspired by our work on the Understanding Evolution project, which highlighted the fact that many misconceptions regarding evolution spring from misunderstandings of the nature of science. Furthermore, research indicates that students and teachers at all grade levels have inadequate understandings of the nature and process of science, which may be traced to classrooms in which science is taught as a simple, linear, and non-generative process. This false and impoverished depiction disengages students, discourages public support, and may help explain current indications that the U.S. is losing its global edge in science. Even beyond the health of the U.S. economy, the public has a genuine need to critically assess conflicting representations of scientific evidence in the media. To do this, they need to understand the strengths, limitations, and basic methods of the enterprise that has produced those claims. Understanding Science takes an important step towards meeting these needs.

Thanks to Lisa White, and everyone at the UCMP, for making this great resource available to the public!

Science Festivals Near You

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The mission of the Science Festival Alliance (SFA) is to foster a professional community dedicated to more and better science and technology festivals. Check them out at http://sciencefestivals.org/

Whether you are a science lover, looking for opportunities for science enrichment for you and your community, OR you’re a scientist or working with an organization that is hoping to connect with the public through science outreach activities — visit the Science Festival Alliance out to learn more about annual science festivals.

When the SFA began in 2009 only a handful of science festivals existed in the United States, and they were not working (or even communicating) with each other. Since that time, the country has enjoyed a surge in the number of science festivals, and the SFA is now networking together dozens of independently operated festival initiatives. Whether you are considering starting a new science festival, would like to partner with existing festivals, or are just interested in learning about the latest developments, the Science Festival Alliance is the best place to begin.

The SFA is not an independent organization, nor is it the exclusive project of a single institution (though two full-time staff members dedicated to the SFA are housed at the MIT Museum). It is a collaborative network involving institutions, initiatives, and individuals that have committed to work together to best serve our communities through the festival format.

Thanks to Ben Wiehe for helping to raise awareness of this amazing resource within the COPUS corps!

Love Citizen Science?

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SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through recreational activities and citizen science research projects. Their database of citizen science projects enable discovery, organization, and greater participation in citizen science. Check them out at http://scistarter.com/

If you are a scientist or a representative of a citizen science organization or community: SciStarter is the organization and community to tell eager people about your work and get them interested in helping out. If you do not represent a project, but have a favorite citizen science you’d like to see added to the SciStarter Project Finder, consider inviting someone from the project to add the project or drop a tip about the project.

SciStarter’s Mission is to bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities.

They aim to:

  • Enable and encourage people to learn about, participate in, and contribute to science through both informal recreational activities and formal research efforts.
  • Inspire greater appreciation and promote a better understanding of science and technology among the general public.
  • Create a shared space where scientists can talk with citizens interested in working on or learning about their research projects.
  • Satisfy the popular urge to tinker, build, and explore by making it simple and fun for people—singles, parents, grandparents, kids—to jump in and get their hands dirty with science.

Thanks to Darlene Cavalier for helping to raise awareness of SciStarter within the COPUS corps!

Meet Wayne Himelsein

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Wayne Himelsein is President of Informed by Nature (http://informedbynature.org/), a non-profit with the goals of advancing the public understanding of science, and concurrently, the Senior Managing Partner of Logica Capital, a successful investment company. At Logica, Wayne heads the investment team and R&D, as well as engages with investors globally. Prior to Logica, Wayne built and managed several hedge funds that invested in his quantitative strategies. Wayne’s financial career began in 1995, when he traded securities and developed algorithms that were used to launch his first hedge fund. Wayne’s lifelong passion for science has served him well in his financial pursuits and in his personal quest to explore deep questions. An appreciation of the powerful tools of science led him to establish Informed by Nature in 2004. Wayne holds a BA from Berkeley and resides in Los Angeles.

Three words that describe Wayne:
Science lover, business builder, people person.

The dots that Wayne connects:
He connects anyone who has an internet connection to content demonstrating the amazing breadth of science. He connects students who have an interest in science to programs that help strengthen that interest.

Join the Ask for Evidence Campaign

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Ask for Evidence is a public campaign that helps people request for themselves the evidence behind news stories, marketing claims and policies.

We hear daily claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, treat disease or improve agriculture. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.

How can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them or buy their products, then we should Ask for Evidence.

Join the Ask for Evidence Campaign!

  • Share your experiences of asking for evidence.
  • Use the hub of resources and expertise to make sense of the evidence you receive.
  • Share the site with friends and colleagues: http://askforevidence.org/

Ask for Evidence was launched by Sense About Science in 2011. Sense About Science is a charity that helps people to make sense of science and evidence and promote use of evidence in public life. This takes us from responding to outlandish diet claims by celebrities to helping parents understand vaccines, from working with people with chronic diseases to beat misleading ‘cure’ claims on the Internet to pressing for sound use of statistics in media reporting.

Thanks to Amy Vashlishan Murray for helping to raise awareness of this campaign within the COPUS corps!

Meet Ben Wiehe

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Ben Wiehe is manager of the Science Festival Alliance. He grew up going to smallest public school system in Connecticut. He went to a liberal arts college in Maine: physics and philosophy major with time abroad for Tibetan studies. He then worked his way around North America (Chiapas to Aleutians) for a long while. (After grad school in Chicago for social science, he worked for natural parks, science centers, and public television). Three years of getting science cafes started around the US led into his current position at MIT managing the Science Festival Alliance. Ben has been a part of COPUS since the beginning!

Here’s Ben’s take on COPUS:
“COPUS has been important for me for a long time. I’ve always felt that I get more out of my involvement with it than I give. Of course over the years my needs have shifted. And this is the thing that is most important about COPUS to me — I’ll sum it up to folks that don’t know much about the group:

COPUS identifies emerging leaders with little institutional backing for their passion and provides them with a supportive network.

I’ve gone through that change to an extent, and so have many of the original members. Natalie has now launched a new nonprofit. Danielle is making waves in all kinds of directions. Darlene has sorted through several of her passions and figured out how to make them reality via I-­can’t-­count-how-many business models. etc…

So welcome! Stay involved, give back — one of the things an emerging leader needs to thrive is the opportunity to lead.”

Three words that describe Ben:
He is a a social creature, hack of all trades, scavenger.

The dots Ben connects:
He connects science festival organizers to each other, and to regional/national collaborators.

Meet Sheri Potter

Sheri PotterSheri Potter, BS, is the director of community and stakeholder engagement for the Association for Women in Science, the leading advocate for women in STEM . She is also a project director for SciStarter implementing a collaborative program to bring citizen science to classrooms, hand-in-hand with NASA’s GLOBE initiative and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools program. Sheri is a social intrapreneur with a strong commitment to developing more effective strategies to connect people to science.

Sheri’s personal mission is to build a scientific citizenry of people who understand how science works, why science matters, and what scientists do – and to help them connect that knowledge with their own lifelong journey as a citizen who benefits from, participates in, and uses science.

Sheri worked at the American Institute of Biological Sciences for over ten years in multiple capacities, including as director of membership and public programs. She launched the Leadership in Biology initiative, Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science, ActionBioscience.org and Year of Science 2009. Sheri earned an Executive Certificate in Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania and has a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Three words that describe Sheri:
I’m with you.

The dots Sheri connects:
Sheri connects cool people to cool people to spread ideas and opportunities that promote people using and celebrating science.

Meet Jeanette Lim

Jeanette_LimAs the content coordinator for AskNature.org, Jeanette Lim expands and curates AskNature content with the help of a collaborative community of students, scientists, and educators interested in sustainability and nature­inspired design.

She brings a life­‐long fascination with the natural world, along with a PhD in biology, to her work with the Biomimicry Institute.

Here is a sampling of some fun reads that Jeanette help create:
Slime Rapidly Expands and Protects: Hagfish
Lizards Under Pressure
The Solar Powered Hornet

Three words that describe Jeanette:
Biologist, educator, maker

The dots Jeanette connects:
She helps connect designers, engineers, and other innovators with biology that
can inspire sustainable solutions to human challenges.

Meet Madhusudan Katti

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Madhusudan Katti (Madhu for short) is an evolutionary ecologist studying biodiversity in social-­ecological systems such as cities, and seeking ways to reconcile biodiversity conservation with human well-being. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University, Fresno.

He communicates science to diverse audiences through a variety of media:

He founded the Central Valley Café Scientifique (http://valleycafesci.org/) and has run it for over 8 years.

He produces and hosts a monthly radio show “Science: A Candle In The Dark” for Fresno’s 88.1FM KFCF station (podcast at http://bit.ly/sciencecandle).

He writes commentaries for the local NPR station, various online and print outlets, and on my Reconciliation Ecology blog (http://coyot.es/reconciliationecology).

Three words that describe Madhu:
scientist, writer, teacher

The dots Madhu connects:
urban ecology, evolution, biodiversity, conservation, science communication

Meet Cindy Wilber

Cindy WilberCindy Wilber is many things — the Education Coordinator at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (at Stanford University), the Executive Director and founder of Proyecto Itzaes, the Education Director for Centro de Educación Ambiental de la Peninsula Yucateca (CEAPY) and the advisor to the Stanford SEEDS student group (Strategies for Ecology Education diversity and Sustainability).

A Little About Jasper Ridge:
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (JRBP) is located near Stanford University’s campus in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The preserve encompasses remarkable geologic, topographic, and biotic diversity within its 481 hectares (1,189 acres) and provides a natural laboratory for researchers from all over the world, educational experiences to students and docent-led visitors, and refuge to native plants and animals.

In addition to facilitating first-rate research, this highly accessible field station provides undergraduate educational experiences and plays an active role in educating the general public.

A Little About Proyecto Itzaes:
Proyecto Itzaes, a non-profit organization that is a free, community service based, educational program in Yucatán, Mexico. PI serves communities where traditional subsistence lifestyles dependent on farming and seasonal fishing can no longer support families and is currently serving the villages of Chicxulub Pueblo, Ixil, Dzemul and the tiny village of Too. PI’s original village of Chicxulub Puerto became fully self-sustaining in 2005!

Major programs:

  • early childhood reading and family literacy programs
  • science in the villages program
  • computer literacy
  • health and environment programs
  • cultural and language preservation
  • bio-intensive gardening programs

Cindy lives and works in both Palo Alto, California and in Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatán, Mexico.

Three words that describe Cindy:
teaching, science, outreach

The dots Cindy connects:
University to k­‐12 to public to Mexico to ESA and more

Meet Bill Gomez

Bill_GomezAfter working for a Palo Alto based pharmaceutical company for many years, Bill retired in 1992 to pursue his interests in environmental education and marine science.

For 20 years Bill has been a volunteer at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve where he leads tours and works on field research projects.

He pursues his marine interest by leading tide pool tours at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and scuba diving with people who have strong marine interests. He enjoys communicating science to people with a wide range of backgrounds and watching them absorb new information and concepts.

Three words that describe Bill:
Ecology tour leader, field research voluteer, marine biology enthusiast

The dots that Bill connects:
Bill connects Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve science to students and visiting public. He connects high school and college students to marine inter-tidal science through leading tours at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. By volunteering, he helps teach science and math at Redwood High School.

Meet Barry Greenwald

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Barry Greenwald is a Chicagoan who has called Minnesota home since he moved there after college. Teaching as a full-­time occupation is his third career — after enjoyable years as an agricultural research technician, and later in sales and administration.

He’s now in his 15th year of teaching urban high school students in St. Paul, in courses ranging from biology, IB Biology, environmental science to earth science. He does volunteer work on the World Food Prize Minnesota Youth Institute, as well as local citizen science activities.

Three words that describe Barry:
A grateful father to my daughter; teacher; always on the lookout for good humor.

The dots that he connects:
Barry connects scientists and instructors from the University of Minnesota to high school classrooms. He makes connections for his high school biology and environmental science students between the classroom and their “real lives” — current and future — outside of school.

Meet Darlene Cavalier

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Darlene is the founder of SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, a popular website and organization that works with 250 current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers to promote science and the involvement of citizens in science and science-related policy. She has held executive positions at Walt Disney Publishing and has worked at Discover magazine for 15 years, where she now is a senior adviser and writer. She has created national science awards programs, science education initiatives, and a series of science-themed roundtable discussions for, among others, the Disney Institute, Space.com, Sally Ride’s Imaginary Lines, and the Franklin Institute. She also serves on the Steering Committee for Science Debate and is a founding partner of Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology and blog, which engages experts, stakeholders, and everyday citizens in assessing the implications of emerging developments in science and technology. She originated and managed the Emmy award-winning Science of NFL Football series produced by the NFL, NBC Sports, NBC Learn, the National Science Foundation and Science Cheerleader.

A former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader, Darlene does not regret the years she gabbed through high school science classes. She earned a Master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania, studying science history, sociology, and science policy to learn more about people like herself: “hybrid actors,” citizens interested in but not formally trained in the sciences. Discovering it was remarkably difficult to find opportunities to participate in science in any meaningful way, she launched SciStarter. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children, who have made it a hobby to explore the rainforests of Costa Rica. She’s also a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes.

Cavalier is the proud recipient of a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant to support “people with brilliant ideas” and she is investing that grant in the development of a series of media partnerships to help bring more citizen science opportunities to more communities.

Three words that describe Darlene:
Science and citizen advocate; founder of Science Cheerleader and SciStarter; contributing editor, Discover Magazine; wife and mom.

The dots Darlene connects:
She connects the public to citizen science activities. She connects researchers to the public. She connects underrepresented groups to science.

Meet Betsy Barent

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Betsy Barent has been teaching for twelve years and is currently teaching 8th grade science, having also taught Advanced Biology, Differentiated Biology, Practical Biology and Physical Science at the high school level.

Outside of the classroom she is involved with Understanding Science, helping to create the How Science Works iTunes University course, and has participated in the Institutional Development Award Program Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She also helped write curriculum for the Coaching Science Inquiry in Rural Schools through the University of Nebraska-­Lincoln. She is
very involved in the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science.

In 2015, Betsy was selected as state finalist for the Presidential Award! She was chosen as one of four Nebraska state-level finalist for this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching. “Betsy is a master teacher, committed to using innovative teaching methods that actively engage students in their own learning.” Mary Jo Leininger, Norris Middle School principal, said. “She has great passion for science and for her students and is very deserving of this prestigious recognition.”

Three words that describe Betsy:
Avid Husker fan, love to exercise, mom of two

The dots that Betsy connects:
Betsy connects teachers with teachers in our district and the state. She connects students and parents with science opportunities.

Meet Anne Holland

Anne_Holland_fullphotoMeet Anne Holland, the Exhibits and Outreach Manager at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Previous to  managing the education and public outreach for the Space Science Institute, she worked at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center.

She is a big advocate for libraries and librarians! Her favorite part of her job is helping librarians find easy and cheap activities to do with their patrons, and convincing them that they’re more than capable of doing STEM in their libraries.

Three words that describe Anne:
Space educator, skiier, new mom

The dots she connects:
She connects librarians with scientists and science educators

Meet Monica Albe

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Monica Albe is an administrator and science communicator at UC Berkeley (working in Molecular and Cell Biology and on the advisory board for Science@Cal). She has worked closely with the Berkeley Natural History Museums. Through her work at Science@Cal, she helps with free, public events like science cafes and festivals. She has a background in biology and has been at UC Berkeley since 1999. Monica is also the head of the COPUS intern team (in her humble opinion, the BEST interns around).


Three words that describe Monica:

Museum lover, naturalist, prone to laughter.
The dots Monica connects:
Monica connects the public with UC Berkeley scientists and research.

2015 Paul Shin Award Winners!

 

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Paul Shin Memorial Award

In the spirit of the energy, passion for science, and generosity of the late Paul Shin, this award was given to wildlife biologists and educators Stephanie Gillin and Whisper Camel-Means from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and to University of Montana STEM Education Program Manager, Jessie Herbert at the Yellowstone Unconference in October, 2015.

As a result of a remarkable collaboration towards spreading the excitement of science, Jessie, Whisper, and Stephanie were honored for their work. These powerful women represent both the University of Montana’s spectrUM Discovery Museum as well as SciNation from the Flat Head Reservation. They worked in conjunction to inspire youth living in rural communities with science. Their efforts culminated into the creation of the Science Learning Tent that was showcased at the 116th Arlee Celebration Powwow, which by all accounts, was a complete success. At this tent, over 300 kids got an up close and personal, hands-on science experience. The festival ran for three days and for each day, the tent highlighted a new aspect of STEM. The parents of these kids were amazed at the quality of what was offered. In addition, they also ran programs for kids through Science Bytes, which creates STEM opportunities for kids at free lunch sites. Jessie, the STEM education program manager for UM spectrUM, coordinates the traveling science pop up show continues to expose kids to science as it makes its way around the state. Their intent is to continually make it new as it travels. Based on the success of the Arlee Powwow, we can only imagine that it will make it’s way back to the reservation for the 2nd Annual Science Tent next year.

Paul Shin’s philosophy embodies these two pillars…

“Imagination is more important than knowledge!”-Einstein

“Knowledge is not power – it’s what you do with knowledge-now that’s power!” -Shin

2015 Judy Scotchmoor Award Winner

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Judy Scotchmoor Award

In honor of Judy Scotchmoor, a powerful, yet subtle leader who has effectively catalyzed change in the scientific community, this new award went to John Esterle, who embodies the COPUS founder’s interest in promoting science and carrying out the COPUS mission through decentralized channels.

John Esterle works as an executive director of the Whitman Institute. He has enthusiastically supported COPUS for years and believes in “dialogue, relationship building, and inclusive leadership”, which also parallels Judy’s leadership style. John has inspired ideas and invested in people across diverse sectors in an effort to create change. He is the ideal winner for this special award. As part of his recognition, John received an original painting of a sea star by Mattias Lanas — the same beautiful painting depicted in the COPUS logo!

Girl Scout Patch

GirlScoutPatch“I’m a Scientific Citizen” Girl Scout Patch

Science is all about figuring “stuff” out – so that we understand our world better. Science helps us investigate questions and solve problems in just about every way imaginable. That is pretty cool! On this patch journey, you will learn about how science works, who scientists are, and why science matters. In doing this, you will test your science know-how, go on a real science adventure, and learn how to be a good scientific citizen throughout your life. So grab your pen and paper and let’s get started!

Activities
1. Check your “science know-how”
2. Observe and ask questions the way scientists do!
3. Get involved in a citizen science project
4. Share what it means to be a scientific citizen

Purpose: When I’ve earned this badge, I’ll know how science works, who scientists are, and why science matters.

See our PDF here.

Meet Cynthia Kramer

cynthia_kramer2Cynthia Kramer, founder of SCOPE: Science and Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration.

Cynthia Kramer founded SCOPE in 2007, when a clinical trial saved her life (read more here). This grassroots initiative is dedicated to bringing Science and Technology’s relevance, resources and information to communities (at no cost) from education to workforce, so the public can connect to why it matters, how to participate and ways to benefit as a parent, student or citizen.

Through community building, events, State and County Fairs, SCOPE serves over 36 communities, in Missouri and Iowa, to impact over 500,000 people. Kramer was previously a shoe designer, created the first backless women’s tennis shoe and loves travel with sons Mitchell and Samuel.

Three words that describe Cynthia:
Coffee addict, Social Justice Advocate, Lover of Innvoation

The dots she connects: SCOPE connects rural, urban and suburban communities to Science and Technology resources and information, from Education to Financial Aid, Scholarships, Internships, Jobs and Careers. They connect parents, students and families to the relevancy and importance of Science and Technology for the betterment of our future, communities and lives.

Encouraging Lifelong Learning

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Informed by Nature (IBN) works to advance the public understanding and appreciation of science, from its elegant approach to its awe-inspiring results. We are dedicated to encouraging lifelong learning, promoting critical thinking, and celebrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

How They Do It
ONLINE: IBN accomplishes its objectives by opening homes, schools, libraries, and any internet connection to an innovative online science portal that makes learning about science and its relevance to our lives easy and engaging. IBN compiles the best science literature, lectures, films, magazines, videos, and art, among other media, in a searchable, user-friendly website that captures science enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

OFFLINE: Our outreach programs aim to educate and inspire, whether providing the online platform for student science projects and science fairs or creating a network of high school science clubs that facilitates structured activities, hosted events, online projects, and competitions. IBN further fosters public involvement in science learning by bringing professionals to the classroom to talk about how critical thinking and science knowledge inform us daily, encouraging today’s specialists to inspire tomorrow’s innovators with an appreciation for science

Why They Do It
Through all our efforts, IBN strives to touch every life with the wonder of science, encouraging learning, critical thinking, and giving everyone the building blocks for discovery and innovation.

Learn more at http://informedbynature.org/ and thanks to Wayne Himelsein for sharing this website with the COPUS community!

2014 Paul Shin Award

The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) today announced this year’s winner of the third annual Paul Shin Award, honoring the unsung heroes of science communication and engagement.

The 2014 winner is Dr. Amy Vashlishan Murray, Assistant Professor of Science (in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies) at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.

As a tenure-track science faculty member at Emerson College, one might think that Amy has her hands full: she teaches undergraduates with a focused interest in art and communication while conducting research in neurobiology in the Kaplan lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. But Amy recognizes that she’s uniquely situated — she’s interfacing with young talent in communication and art AND with cutting edge science. With a seemingly boundless energy, she’s capitalized on her situation to create innovative synergies that enhance the public’s understanding of science. Among her achievements are the founding of the Emerson Science Communication Collaborative and helping to establish the “Ask For Evidence” campaign in the US.

Amy explains: “I am driven by the belief that the role and responsibility of the scientist includes anticipating the social impact of development in her field and striving to develop well-informed consumers of scientific information. Initiatives like Ask for Evidence and the Science Communication Collaborative build from this belief by empowering students and members of the public to question the science they encounter in their daily lives and by engaging these stakeholders in communication exchanges with the scientific community.”

Morgan Thompson, PhD, Assistant Director at the Center for Biomedical Career Development, nominated Amy for the award, saying Amy is “shaping the foundational scientific understanding of future communicators – both conceptual knowledge as well as the process of science and ability to critically evaluate evidence.” The Emerson Science Communication Collaborative “pairs undergraduate students interested in science communication with local early career scientists in a semester-long series of exchanges to further the training and skills of both audiences. Scientists are provided a rare opportunity early in their careers to practice media skills and effective communication with lay audiences in a non-threatening, low-risk environment that utilizes the expertise of Emerson students. The undergraduates come to know the person behind the scientist, helping to dispel popular misconceptions about the process of science and providing more accurate, nuanced, and diverse portraits of who does science. Culminating projects range from children’s books to public service announcements to a musical composition based upon the genetic sequence of a strain of H1N1 flu virus.”

Seeking to effect national change, Amy initiated a collaboration with the UK-based nonprofit, Sense About Science, to help establish their “Ask for Evidence” campaign in the US. Thompson states, “as the name suggests, this campaign encourages everyone to question claims in politics, media, and advertising. Amy’s ingenuity and commitment was vital to providing the foundation for continued national programming following the public launch of the US campaign in February 2013. Briefly, Amy secured funding from a Consumer Awareness Project Grant at Emerson to: 1) conduct a public survey exploring the public relationship with evidence; 2) develop a US campaign website with resources for how to ask, how to evaluate evidence (including a platform to connect with local scientists), and examples of participant experiences; 3) host a media training workshop for future scientists and communicators; 4) carry-out program evaluation, including Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) questionnaires (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities, 2012).”

Amy’s passion for science communication has led her to not only play an active role in the Boston area science outreach community, but to be a member of the National Association of Science Writers, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and Voice of Young Science USA. Her passion for science education and outreach stems back to well before her faculty position at Emerson. For more than a decade, Amy has been involved in the advancement of the public’s understanding of science — directing the Harvard graduate student organization Science in the News, developing exhibits at the Museum of Science Boston, and playing an important role in discussions of the implications of new genetic technologies with the Genetics and Society Working Group.

Dr. Murray attended the COPUS 2014 Invitational from Sep 18-21 in New Mexico, and took part in two days of science outreach networking and educational events. She received the award while at the unconference. Amy said, “this award is really gratifying as recognition of work that isn’t necessarily part of the job description for typical academic scientists and isn’t is always valued explicitly in the scientific community. It is also an incredible honor because it is coming from a community of people that, themselves, have done such amazing, and often unrecognized, work in science outreach and because I’ve learned what a special individual and leader Paul Shin was to this community.”

Amy also expressed “gratitude to the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship at Emerson for helping to identify and secure funding opportunities, including the Consumer Awareness Project fund, to support development and broader expansion of this work.”

Co-founder of COPUS, Judy Scotchmoor said, “The Paul Shin award is very special to us at COPUS. In the short time that we knew Paul, we were captivated by his energy and determination to make a difference in the world. The nominees for this year’s award were fantastic, but Amy made an impression on us. Her tireless enthusiasm and commitment to sharing science is exactly what we aspire to recognize through this award.”