Transforming scientists’ approaches to public engagement through I’m a Scientist

Taking part in I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! transformed PhD student Liam Taylor’s approach to public engagement.

Liam is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, studying new ways to observe mountain glaciers in Peru. In 2018, Liam was the winner of the Sustainability Zone, and then took part again in the 2020 Planet Earth Zone.

 

If they have had an engaging experience, they’re more likely to spend time talking about climate change solutions. They’re more creative with their responses, and they’re more likely to relate it back to their personal lives.”

Liam took what he had learned from I’m a Scientist and started using it in his own public engagement activities and lessons: “When I teach now, I let the school students lead. I always start by asking what they want to know.

“Before I took part in I’m a Scientist, I would go in with a slideshow and a structure, and we’d stick to the structure. Now, if a class is doing a project about Brazil, we’ll talk about tropical rainforests. One class I worked with was doing a project on Antarctica – I thought, Perfect, we can spend the session talking about Antarctica.”

“When I ask, What are they actively interested in learning?, it’s appropriate right up to the undergraduate lectures that I’m doing at work.”

And what are the benefits of these student-led approaches?
“It’s more fun,” Liam explains, “It’s a more interesting experience for them. If they have had an engaging experience, they’re more likely to spend time talking about climate change solutions. They’re more creative with their responses, and they’re more likely to relate it back to their personal lives.

“I maintain that the first I’m a Scientist activity I ever did was the most significant thing I’ve done in my career. It set me on a trajectory of education and science communication.”

Ultimately, Liam would highly recommend taking part in I’m a Scientist “to everyone. And I have been doing, for the past 4 years!”

“It was completely flexible; I could do as much as I liked, whenever I liked. Every session was different. It’s a really good way to start work for the day. And it gave me the confidence to do more science communication – that was directly from I’m a Scientist.”

Posted on October 19, 2021 by modjosie in Case Study, Scientists. Comments Off on Transforming scientists’ approaches to public engagement through I’m a Scientist