Editor’s Note: Earlier this month MuseHack, the site “dedicated to getting your creativity active” interviewed Darlene Cavalier, the founder of SciStarter about citizen science, SciStarter and making a difference. Here are some excerpts from that interview.
I spoke about the mission of SciStarter – but how would you describe your mission?
First and foremost, we want to help people recognize that they are as entitled as anyone else to play active roles in science and technology. In the process, we’ve been able to help a lot of researchers and other people organizing participatory research and civic engagement projects, recruit skilled participants. A win/win!
It seems that more and more people are getting interested in citizen science. Do you think this is true – and if so, why?
I think that’s true and I think more types of people are becoming increasingly interested: hackers, makers, educators, people from local, state and federal government agencies, foundations, corporations, and the media to name a few. Why? It’s likely a combination of factors: there are more opportunities, it’s never been easier to get involved or to share success stories and best practices, participants are forming their own communities and networks and so are the researchers and practitioners. Plus the media has helped lend visibility and credibility. Shout out to Discover Magazine, Public Library of Science and WHYY, in particular (our media partners).
You’ve had an amazing career yourself. What would you tell people that want to really make a difference like you have?
Just. DO. It. Become well informed on the issue you care about. That’s 100% on you. Information is accessible and usually free. I went to graduate school to explore a question nagging at me: where do I fit in science, if at all? I really didn’t care about the degree. I was on a personal quest. Once I found out about citizen science and related participatory public policy opportunities, I got involved then created SciStarter to help others learn about and get involved.
Click here to read the full interview on MuseHack!