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Collaborator Spotlight: I Am A Scientist

LabXchange convenes a community that believes in the transformative power of education. One of our newest content collaborators, I Am A Scientist works to break stereotypes and barriers in STE(A)M education through storytelling and experiential learning. We asked them to answer a few questions about the work they do.

I Am A Scientist

A scientist teaches two girls to use a microscopeWhat’s one thing LabXchange users should know about your organization?
We deeply believe that STEM should be shaped by everyone, in service of everyone. That’s why we are committed to breaking barriers and stereotypes in STEM and STEAM education. We want to make sure that every student has a chance to see themselves in these fields, and that every teacher has the resources they need to create an inclusive and engaging STEM classroom.

What’s one fun fact about your organization?
Most of what we do is actually for adults! Our parent organization, The Plenary, Co., is an arts and education nonprofit that designs creative paths through critical issues, like interactive art shows on human bias, board games on sustainability, and gatherings to build those increasingly important information literacy skills. Founded by a team of researchers and educators, we believe that if we want to make society’s collective knowledge more accessible to everyone, we also need to make sure that knowledge itself is co-created by everyone. That’s why we started the I Am a Scientist program: to do our part to inspire a more equitable and representative generation of knowledge-makers.

What is your organization’s vision for science education?
We believe that a healthy scientific identity is essential for every member of society, whether you decide to go into a STEM field or not. That’s why all of our resources focus on the parts of science that textbooks often miss: people, purpose, and pathways. We start with the stories of the people behind the science, explore the ways that science can serve as a tool to address real world problems that students already care about, and shed light on the steps students can take to pursue a career in STEM. By making curriculum more accessible, relevant, and relatable, we believe science education can and should be a powerful tool for cultivating an engaged and informed society.

Scientific Inspirations

Two women pose for a photo with an I Am A Scientist posterWho are your scientific inspirations?
As an organization, we’re inspired by people who think outside the box about how to engage people with science. We’ve learned a lot from the icons like Carl Sagan, but we also get inspiration from all of the creative science communicators and educators who have found imaginative ways to use new media or bring more storytelling into their work. We recently hosted a book club with our educator community for Dr. Ainissa Ramirez’s new book, The Alchemy of Us, which is a great example of scientific storytelling.

What is the first science experiment you remember performing?
As a science education organization, we often turn experiments into demonstrations and games. I don’t know if we have a first, but a favorite is showing students MRI scans of unexpected objects, like fruits and flowers, and having them guess what it is. MRI assembles images from lots of slices of an object, so it’s a fun challenge that also acts as a great entry point to teach about MRI physics!

Tell us what motivates you to continue creating/communicating your amazing content!
Definitely the teacher and student responses! We love hearing about the impact that our resources are having in the classroom, and when a teacher takes the time to share how they’re using our resources, show us some photos of our posters in action, or tell us about a student’s response, it really makes our day and reminds us why this work is so important.

What’s your favorite science joke/pun?
Our founder used to make up science puns and turn them into t-shirts, so this is a tough one! If we had to choose:

“What did the dendrite say to the axon after their first date? I think we’ve got potential!”

Who are the LabXchange content collaborators? View our growing list of content collaborators here.

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