I have seen firsthand the power STEM education has to change girls’ lives. Science education is a vocation that can be carefully cultivated in students through thoughtful guidance, rapport and research activity involvement. I have focused my outreach efforts on explaining my research to the community in plain language, and providing young women opportunities to explore their own interests in science. Explore! Life on Mars, Imagining the Future and The Scientist is In are some recent examples of programs that allowed me to reach out to middle and high school students at local and national scales.
For our publications and teaching materials related to Education and Science Outreach, please visit EPO Publications.
See this recent video, produced by the Science Club for Girls, broadcasted during the Cambridge Science Festival and featuring Betul as Way Cool Scientist (which was way cool of them!)
The public has a right to access scientific information and scientists have a responsibility to engage the public in their research. Antipathy towards science and scientific concepts can originate in poor education, lack of education or targeted misinformation; conversely, active engagement can reduce or eliminate this antipathy. Projects that I have assisted in the past, such as Hardworkers for Evolution (a voluntary organization for Turkey) and I’m a Scientist, Get me Out of Here (an online event where students get to meet with scientists) are examples that showed me that providing accurate scientific information can change public’s view on controversial issues such as evolution and global warming.
My colleagues and I recently co-founded an online mentorship, outreach and community platform named SAGANet, which is specifically designed to support STEM outreach activities using astrobiology-related focus areas. For one of our most current and successful activities, we use SAGANet to connect middle and high school students with top-notch scientists who are interested in sharing their inspiring work with American youth. If you are interested in participating our on-going mentorship program, feel free to read more here. You can also follow our activities through Facebook.