Education and Outreach Group
NESCent’s Education and Outreach Group works with scientists to make evolutionary biology research more accessible. Our goals include publicizing the work done at NESCent, outreach to underrepresented groups, providing resources for educators, and helping scientists improve their individual education and outreach activities. Jory Weintraub and Kristin Jenkins are the Program Managers, and Brian Wiegmann is the Associate Director of Education and Outreach.
The Education and Outreach Group formed two working groups to help us develop a plan and projects to address our overall goals. The first group, Evolution Education at Historically Minority Universities (EEHMU), focuses on minority outreach. Projects arising from this group include a database and a travel grant program designed to bring together minority students and graduate programs in evolution, and a survey of evolution courses at historical minority serving institutions. NESCent has a targeted sabbatical focused on development of education or outreach projects for which faculty at minority institutions are eligible. For example, John Clamp developed a database of contacts at minority and research institutions to facilitate the connection between students and recruiters. Another sabbatical scholar, Joe Fail, designed a curriculum for presenting evolution at the elementary level.
The Evolution Education working group met in July, 2006, to discuss the current challenges in evolution education. The group identified several important issues and NESCent has chosen to address improving evolution education at the undergraduate level. A smaller working group will convene to focus on specific activities such as providing examples of applied evolution and examples of evolution across the basic biology curriculum.
NESCent is eager to share the exciting research going on in evolution. Educators will find weekly examples of current research to use in their classes and examples of applied evolution. NESCent scientists can be reached via the website to answer questions, or provide lectures on specific topics. In partnership with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), NESCent co-hosts the annual Evolution Symposium at the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference. This symposium addresses a different topic in evolutionary research each year with scientists giving presentations about their research in this field. A variety of products are associated with the symposium and can help educators bring this cutting-edge information into their classrooms. Articles about events and research at NESCent are available on the website, and can be found in various publications.
Scientists will find a collection of useful information for improving their education and outreach experiences on the website. The Education and Outreach Group provides a post-doctoral professional training program which covers various topics including preparing for job interviews, speaking with the media, and basic teaching information. A broader impacts database in being developed to provide grant writers with ideas for more productive and fulfilling activities.
We encourage you to explore the Education and Outreach section of the website and we are always interested in your feedback. Please let us know what you think of our resources, or make suggestions for other resources we could provide.