“Can they really do that?” “What does this mean for communicating science today, and what will this look like when I’m in graduate school in 4-6 years from now?” “This is really discouraging me from wanting to pursue a science degree.” These were the questions and comments that I had recently heard from my high school students. Discouraged and sad but trying so hard to stay positive, it was getting to be a challenge for me to communicate to them how it was more important than ever to continue on their intended path. My immediate thought on how to best hand this was to contact fellow science teacher and communicator, Patrick Goff. I was familiar with his Student-Scientist-Partnerships website, but I hadn’t yet had the perfect opportunity to utilize it until that moment.
In less than an hour I had filled out the form, received a reply and a scientist connection, and had our Skype conference on my calendar for later that week! Dr. Michelle LaRue connected with 21 of my students for about 45 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon. She opened with a biography that completely entranced my students; they were absolutely fascinated by her job, and they couldn’t even believe that they were talking to someone that had actually been to Antarctica! Dr. LaRue also gave them advice about college and paths to pursue. Most importantly, she really did deliver effective, non-partisan, honest, facts regarding the realities that scientists working in the federal government are currently facing.
It was one of the most memorable moments for my students and for me for this entire school year. Dr. LaRue gave my students a perspective and a voice that they could listen and relate to. I am so thankful for Student-Scientist-Partnerships and that amazing opportunity for my students.
There will be a variety of authors, from the scientists to the students to the teachers writing about their various experiences. Thank you for reading.