Archive for the ‘Science Cheerleader’ tag
Join the SciStarter, Science Cheerleader and our partners from Discover Magazine and Astronomy Magazine at the free Family Science Days in Boston on February 18th-19th as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.
This free event features tons of interactive science exhibits. Come talk with scientists, learn about their jobs, and explore science! SciStarter will help you DO science with citizen science including counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. recording your flu symptoms for Flu Near You, observing clouds to ground-truth NASA satellites with the GLOBE Cloud Observer app, hunting for Backyard Bark Beetles and more! We can’t wait for you to become a citizen scientist with us!
We’ll also be joined by our partners from Science Cheerleader. Watch physics in action when the MIT cheerleaders show off their stunts and bring to life the free ebook, The Science of Cheerleading! Be sure to catch the Science Cheerleader stage show on February 19th at 11:30am, sharp!
Theresa: Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
I graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. I am currently working at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a research associate in the laboratory of Feng Zhang. I am helping to develop a genome-editing platform by harnessing the crazy genome rearrangement pathway found in ciliated protozoa. Genome editing, or the ability to change the DNA code of human cells, allows us to further understand complicated genetic diseases such as cancer and someday could be used in therapeutics. I am currently applying to PhD programs in Biochemistry and Biophysics and I hope to continue contributing to scientific discovery throughout my career. My interest in science developed as a kid through science fair projects such as designing a seashell filter to remove lead contamination from water or harnessing wind energy with a kite power system. As a New England Patriots Cheerleader, I enjoy being engaged in the community and connecting with many different people. It has also allowed me to share my passion for science with kids and to encourage them to follow their own dreams, whatever they may be!
Hilary: Medical Oncology
I graduated from Colgate University with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. From there, I went on to do my PhD at Brown University in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, which I defended in 2016. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School in William Kaelin’s lab. I am researching ways to selectively kill cancer cells based on the differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Currently, I am focusing on kidney cancer. I love my work, and I love getting people excited about it and about science in general (just like I loved getting the crowd excited as a cheerleader at Colgate!). I have been a regional coordinator with Science Cheerleader for almost five years, and one of my favorite things is watching young scientists get excited when they connect science to something they’re passionate about!
I graduated from Harvard with a degree in Engineering Sciences and I am now working on my PhD in Computational and Systems Biology at MIT. Being a scientist, and being able to discover things that nobody else in the world knew until me, makes me incredibly happy. I also like the fact that my research tries to answer “big questions” like understanding how our cells are capable of handling stress like starvation or temperature fluctuations. Understanding protein folding and interactions in this context is like a big puzzle, and I am so lucky that I get to help fit a tiny piece of the puzzle into the whole. In both cheerleading and science, having passion for what you’re doing and having the self-confidence to do it are hugely important! When you’re competing, there’s this saying to “leave it all on the mat” – do your best, don’t be afraid, believe that your stunts will hit, and give the performance of your life. In science, loving what you do and not being afraid to do it are what will allow you to come up with completely new ideas that can reshape what we know about our world.
See you the AAAS Family Science Days in Boston!
Imagine thousands of scientists, naturalists, engineers, and innovators in one place and that’s the Bay Area Science Festival! The SciStarter team travelled to San Francisco to spread the joy of citizen science to this excited group. We were lucky to be joined by Kayla and Anelisse from the 49ers Gold Rush squad and the two newest Science Cheerleaders.
Kayla and Anelisse explored the festival stopping for photos with future scientists. Kayla is pursuing her doctorate to become a clinical psychologist and hopes to work with people with mental health needs. Anelisse is a recent engineering graduate and is now learning to code for a software start-up. Both of these women challenge the stereotypes of cheerleaders and women in science, paving the way for future women in STEM. Read more about their experience on the Science Cheerleader blog and learn about the new Science of Cheerleading e-book.
The SciStarter booth featured Chris Quock from the ZomBee Watch project. He brought along samples of honeybees and zombie flies to educate attendees on the spread of this unusual parasite. He also showed off a DIY light trap to attract and capture potential ZomBees.
Kids at our booth could also make their own coloring sheet featuring a migrating animal from the Journey North project. These sheets are colorful reminders to keep an eye out for animals as the move south for the winter and when they return north in the summer.
We were also joined by staff and volunteers from the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory who demonstrated how professional and citizen scientists can track birds through banding. Kids were able to practice bird banding, by banding themselves!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth to unleash their inner scientist!
Learn more about our featured projects.
November 5th, 2016
Join SciStarter at the Bay Area Science Festival this November! This free festival will be packed with science enthusiasts. Come to explore hundreds of hands-on activities, opportunities to meet local scientists and engineers, plus fun and educational entertainment.
Find SciStarter to learn about citizen science projects you can do in the Bay Area and beyond. We’ll be getting you set to look for ZomBees, monitor migrating butterflies, band local birds, and even learn about finding exoplanets!
From 10am-12pm, we will be joined by Kayla and Anelisse from the 49ers Gold Rush squad who are also STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals. Come learn how they found a love for science and turned it into a career.
“I have obtained my Bachelors in Psychology, Masters in Sport Psychology and am currently in graduate school working toward my Doctorate (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology. I intend to utilize my degrees and pursue a career as a sport psychologist specifically working with dancers and football players. Sport psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws upon various fields such as, biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. Sport psychology ultimately focuses on how psychological factors influences the way an individual performs. The role of a sport psychologist is to clinically diagnose and treat a client through therapeutic tools and performance enhancement techniques.” Learn more about Kayla, here.
“In high school, I loved environmental science and created a study to manage water quality in my hometown. I was also the first female student to exhaust our advanced math and science program! At Stanford, I studied mechanical engineering, which relies on physics for analysis! I got to take principles I learned from physics and chemistry and apply them one step further to study (and also create!) objects that exist in the real world. I’m now working at a software company, which focuses on computer science.” Learn more about Anelisse, here.
SciStarter, Science Cheerleader, Astronomy Magazine, and Discover Magazine exhibit will kick off events in celebration of Citizen Science Day with Public TV’s The Crowd & The Cloud!
Washington, DC – (February 15, 2016) – Celebrate Citizen Science at the USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) by doing fun activities that will contribute to meaningful research on the environment, genetics, biology and more. Visit booth # 3523 to learn what citizen science is, and how to do interesting projects at home using the SciStarter website. At the booth you’ll meet experts and editors from Astronomy Magazine, Discover Magazine, and the upcoming public television series The Crowd & The Cloud. You can participate in research with scientists who will join us. Meet members of the Science Cheerleader group (current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers) who will perform science-themed routines, talk to kids about their dual careers as scientists and professional cheerleaders, sign autographs and lead citizen science activities selected from SciStarter.
If you can’t attend the Festival in person, go online to join a live Google Hangout (url will be shared via Twitter @SciStarter and #CitSciDay) with USASEF attendees to participate in a discussion with citizen science participants/enthusiasts from across the U.S. and around the world. The Hangout will be led by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, Host of The Crowd & The Cloud, and participants include Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, and a Professor at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Science in Society.
The hangout will showcase events from the country in celebration of National Citizen Science Day! SciStarter is a proud partner of National Citizen Science Day, presented by the Citizen Science Association. This celebration kicks off at the USASEF on April 16 and runs through May 21, 2016. Hundreds of events will be held throughout the country, and you can find them here.
Citizen Science Projects Featured at USASEF
FaceTopo: Help scientists build a taxonomy of the world’s adult (14+) faces by taking a 3D selfie at the USASEF and posting it to the Facetopo database! FaceTopo will map, measure, quantify, and compare a huge variety of human facial morphology to increase understanding of variation in human facial phenotypes.
Genetics and Smell Chemistry: According to the Monell Center two individuals’ smell perception differs by 30% due to a variation in the olfactory receptor gene OR10G4. You and your child can step right on up to our booth, take a whiff of a smelly cotton ball, and together, we’ll help researchers catalog the variations of smell perception from parent to child to better understand the degree of olfactory perception variation through inheritable DNA changes.
NASA’s Soil Moisture: NASA’s SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite is orbiting the globe every three days to measure soil moisture levels. NASA and GLOBE.gov need your help ground-truthing the data, in part, to help calibrate the accuracy of NASA’s satellite mission. This will improve weather forecasts, detail water/energy/carbon cycles, monitor droughts, predict floods, and assist crop productivity.We’ll show you how to obtain the instruments needed for this project, and how to get started!
The Great Sunflower Project: The Great Sunflower Project uses data collected on Lemon Queen sunflowers to examine the effects of pesticides on pollinators, identify the key plants to support healthy pollinator communities, and evaluate and improve gardens, parks and other green spaces for pollinators. Pick up your free pack of sunflower seeds and spend a few minutes with us to learn how to observe your new sunflower plant for five minutes to record and share information about all the pollinators that visit.
ZomBee Watch: Scientists believe that the Zombie Fly, Apocephalus borealis, is parasitizing honey bees. Help researchers determine where honey bees are being parasitized by the Zombie Fly. You’ll learn to spot infected bees (we’ll show you what that nasty Zombie Fly looks like in person!), build your own bee catcher, and report observations to this project.
Importance of Citizen Science to Society
Science is our most reliable system for gaining new knowledge and citizen science is the public involvement in inquiry, data collection, and the discovery of new scientific knowledge. A citizen science project can involve one person or millions of people collaborating towards a common goal. SciStarter’s website connects scientists and community leaders to more than 1,100 citizen science projects and anyone wishing to contribute to science research.
About the Partners in Citizen Science Booth #3523
SciStarter connects people to real science they can do by making it easy for people to find and join projects from its dynamic database featuring more than 1100 citizen science projects, events and tools!
Discover Magazine’s mission is to enable readers to lead richer lives by explaining and expanding their universe. Each month they publish in-depth information and analysis on various topics ranging from technology and space to the living world. Astronomy Magazine contains the most absorbing material relating to the world of astronomy on every page.
Science Cheerleader works with more than 300 current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who playfully challenge stereotypes, inspire kids to consider careers in science and technology, and encourage everyday people to get involved in real science activities.
The upcoming public TV science documentary series, The Crowd & The Cloud (Spring 2017), presents stories of citizen science, crowdsourcing and community science from across America and around the world. Some are classic and decades-old, such as the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Others are just starting: like Smartfin, which is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to add hi-tech sensors to surfboards to track ocean acidification. These and many other projects come to life through engaging human stories, with C&C’s online and social media designed to help “turn viewers into active citizen scientists.”
Earlier this month, I had the immense honor of sharing the stage with Bill Nye and some fascinating thought leaders in space exploration from academia and industry, thanks to the leaders at Arizona State University’s New Space. We talked about colonizing Mars, mining asteroids, women in STEM and more. Amid all the exciting, forward-looking discussions, bolstered by the super-pumped-up audience of 3500 ASU students, I couldn’t help but think about the voice we needed to hear as we imagined YOUR place in space: YOUR voice. A decade ago, YOUR voice (and your tax dollars, your values, your informed opinions) would have been represented by your elected officials, or the noisiest advocacy groups, or industry.
I know this because exactly 10 years ago, I was wrapping up my master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where I spent a lot of time learning about people like me, like us: people who are interested in science, who want to be part of science–of discovery, of shaping the future–but who don’t hold formal science degrees.
The degree from Penn wasn’t what motivated me. I went back to school after a decade of working at Discover Magazine (and, believe or not, after a few years as an NBA cheerleader!) so I could learn more about my role in science and society. Where does someone without a formal science degree fit in? For all the investment in time and money we give to K-12 STEM education, what are we doing to support the majority of those kids who don’t go to college or, if they do, who choose non-STEM careers?
What are we doing to take seriously the fact that, while our nation’s students rank low on international STEM exams, year after year, our nation’s adults (US) fair exceptionally well when compared to our peers in other countries? This must seem impossible. How can that be when our country has resisted scientifically sound issues such as climate change, vaccines, GMOs and stem cell research? Because the resistance stems from all the factors that shape science and science policy: values, economics, personal benefits, etc. Teaching people more science via the all-too-common deficit approach does not work.
How do we start real conversations with–and tap the talents and interests of–adults who have demonstrated that they/we like science? Did you know that more Americans visit science museums, zoos and aquariums than sports events? I didn’t…read more about this here. What are we doing to support us and enable us to be part of these conversations we are absolutely every bit entitled to be part of, NOW?
Well, almost immediately upon starting graduate school, I learned about citizen science. This is often described as crowdsourcing, community science, or public participation in scientific research. It usually takes the form of a scientist asking the public to share observations or analyze data to help advance areas of research.
I couldn’t wait to jump in and participate in formal and informal research projects in need of my help! Back then, it was difficult to find these opportunities. This is how SciStarter emerged. It was a very simple, searchable database embedded in a blog called Science Cheerleader, created to help me organize projects I was going to write about in my Capstone paper. I invited people to add projects or find projects. Before too long, this database spawned its own start up, featuring 1100 projects and a community of more than 50,000 citizen scientists.
Today, SciStarter’s database is shared with Discover Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, the National Science Teachers Association, the U.N., PBS, AllForGood, and many other partners. Thanks to support from the Simons Foundation, anyone can add citizen science to their website via simple to use, embeddable widgets. We are coPIs of research projects; universities and agencies hire us to organize and manage projects and participants; we have a syndicated blog network and a series on an NPR radio station. We’re really happy with developments at SciStarter.
BUT, most of these projects either invite people to share observations about the natural world or analyze big data. Very few offer people the opportunity to impart their local knowledge, values, insights, etc, directly to inform science policy.
Things are starting to change a bit thanks to the efforts of a LOT of people spanning many fields, motives, and generations.
Ten years ago, I started pushing to reopen the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which I thought had the most potential to bring together the public and scientists in shaping science policy. While interviewing experts to learn more about the rise and fall of the OTA, I found some soulmates-of-sorts and five years later our merry band of renegades officially organized.
Dr. Richard Sclove (left of me, pictured here with the cofounders of ECAST) wrote in Issues in Science and Technology, why it was high-time to formalize a mechanism to invite non-experts to both learn about and weigh in on the societal implications of emerging technologies and their related policies. Check out his essay:Reinventing_Tech_Assessment_-_Sclove_in_Issues_in_S&T_-_Fall_2010-1
Earlier that same year, Dr. Sclove, the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Boston Museum of Science, Arizona State University, and I (as the Science Cheerleader and founder of what would become SciStarter), joined forces to launch the first-of-its-kind effort in the U.S. to realize this vision: ECAST, Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology. Read more on this, here. ECAST is taking the best of the defunct OTA and spicing things up by borrowing best practices from successful participatory technology assessment activities in the European Union.
Last year, ECAST worked with NASA to inform and then solicit input from people from all walks of life, to better understand what important questions were missing from science policy considerations. People involved in those deliberations sure had a lot to add to the conversations. I encourage you to read more about the effort and outcomes of Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative. You’ll see that space exploration-the future- is complex and absolutely needs your perspective. Thanks to forward-thinking Federal agencies, like NASA, NOAA and others with an authentic interest in soliciting informed input from YOU, ECAST is able to experiment with mechanisms to unite the public with policymakers and scientists.
Looking ahead, the SciStarter team wants to see more opportunities spanning a wider spectrum of engagement levels, like those we organize at ECAST. We want to help more people find and get involved in all of these opportunities. We want to help you keep track of your contributions and maybe even be rewarded for your efforts. Why not? Maybe you didn’t finish high school. Maybe you earned an advanced degree in business or the arts. You connected with science later in life (like me!). You had the courage to move from spectator to participant. Why shouldn’t your contributions be validated and rewarded with college credit or career advancements or a free cup of coffee from Starbucks? 🙂
These are the types of questions we will start to address thanks to support from the National Science Foundation. The NSF awarded a $300,000 Pathways grant to Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society (of which I am a proud Professor of Practice!) for the development of SciStarter 2.0. The grant will advance the growing field of citizen and community science and help us build the capacity to be able to start to test some theories while scaling up our ability to engage and support more citizen scientists.
So, now that government and the scientific community have stepped up to the plate to welcome you with open arms and now that SciStarter (and others!) have made it very easy for you to get involved, the question is, will you accept the invitation? Make 2016 the year you accept the challenge. Do a citizen science project. Go to a science festival or science cafe. Get involved in an ECAST project.
You’ve got 300 Science Cheerleaders (including me) rooting for you and ready to support you!