Managing editor Jenny Cutraro is stepping down to dedicate herself full-time to Science Storytellers, a program she founded that bridges science engagement, education, and journalism. Science Storytellers invites kids to sit down face-to-face with a scientist and to have a conversation about that scientist’s research, much as a science journalist would do, and to then write a story about their conversation.
Jenny founded this organization with seed funding from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and in partnership with The Open Notebook in 2016. She ran her first public event in Boston in 2017 during AAAS Family Science Days, a free, two-day science festival held during the AAAS Annual Meeting every year. For this event, she recruited scientists to volunteer an hour or more of their time at the Science Storytellers booth, and invited kids in to “interview” them, using many of the same questions professional journalists use when they are working on a story: what is your research all about? Why are you curious about that? Why does it matter? By the end of that first event, over 400 kids interviewed the dozens of scientists participating in the booth. Some even came back multiple times to interview more scientists! Based on that initial success, she ran the event again at the March for Science in Boston in 2017, and once more at the 2018 AAAS Annual meeting in Austin. She plans to continue bringing the event to AAAS for future meetings, and also will run it later this summer in partnership with Chemical and Engineering News, during the American Chemical Society annual meeting.
Now she’s ready to scale up. “I’ve had countless educators approach me about bringing this program to their schools, and even to undergraduate settings,” Jenny said. “It’s something I’d love to do, but first I need to build the capacity to be able to do that.” To that end, she has been developing potential partnerships with organizations in the afterschool sector, in science education, and in journalism education. She also participated in a National Science Foundation-funded workshop on designing informal science research proposals and aims to team up with researchers in the learning sciences to pursue questions about how this program may help kids develop their own science identity.
Stay tuned for news about a Science Storytellers-SciStarter collaboration!
As we bid farewell to Jenny as our managing editor, let’s welcome Caroline Nickerson!
Caroline is a Master of Public Policy student at American University with a focus on environmental and climate change policy. She is passionate about science communication in the policy space and engaging citizens and voters. Caroline currently serves as secretary on the national board of the Commission on Local Debates (localdebates.org), an emerging nonprofit seeking to leverage technology to make debates for local elections better and more accessible. She also works as a textbook and curriculum development consultant for the University of Florida Psychiatry Department. In her role there, she is a project manager for the Christensen Project, which honors and furthers Dr. Richard C. Christensen’s legacy of advocating for homeless and under-served individuals.
Caroline’s already cracking the whip here at SciStarter by coordinating, editing, and publishing contributors’ posts in addition to her own posts. Not an easy task considering we run a syndicated network of citizen science blogs featured on SciStarter, DiscoverMagazine.com, and Public Library of Science.
We’re so grateful here at SciStarter to not only love what we do but love who we work with. That includes all of you reading this. Thank you for being part of our community.