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What's new in Education &Outreach with Lisa White


Lisa on Rangitoto Island Lisa White and Educators

Lisa White at Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve and working with teachers on the JOIDES with IODP, photos courtesy Lisa White.

As I begin my 7th year as Assistant Director of Education and Public Programs at the UCMP, I'm happy to report that my efforts to reach more diverse audiences with UCMP educational resources are starting to bear fruit. As the UCMP increasingly relies on external funds to support education and outreach programs, four new and continuing NSF awards received over the past two years, totaling more than $450,000, establish new and unique institutional partners to serve a wider range of educators and students.

A-STEP (Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation, NSF)

Target group: Underrepresented graduate students in STEM
This is a new three-year NSF collaborative grant with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), Columbia and Stanford Universities, which expands the IODP School of Rock program that took place in New Zealand last summer. Underrepresented graduate students in STEM who want to strengthen their science communication skills can apply to sail on the JOIDES Resolution research vessel between major science expeditions. They will develop Earth systems science learning materials, using UCMP's Understanding Science "How Science Works" flowchart, now available as an online interactive and journaling tool (see below). This is used to generate digital maps on the nature and process of science, IODP research and the student ambassadors' newly acquired knowledge.

FIELD (Fieldwork Inspiring Expanded Leadership and Diversity, NSF)

Target Group: Early career faculty
Field research training entailed by undergraduate geoscience degree requirements is being increasingly shaped by demands to be more interdisciplinary, accessible, and inclusive. As a result of my participation in a 2016 NSF Ideas Lab on Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD), I am co-leading a unique field institute. Funded by a two-year collaborative grant from the NSF with five other universities, FIELD targets early career faculty who are hoping to transform field learning experiences in geology, paleontology and/or marine science in order to draw a greater diversity of participants.

BLUE Data (Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education - Data Initiative, NSF)

Target Group: Undergraduate students in biology
As museums seek to manage and mobilize an increasing amount of data, a new five-year NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) called Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education - Data Initiative (BLUE Data) will make the data more accessible to students. The project is bringing together biodiversity, data, and education specialists from Central Michigan University and Florida State University to identify core biodiversity data competencies for undergraduates and integrate these competencies into introductory biology curricula. Natural history collections data are ever more relevant in biodiversity science and among the goals of BLUE Data are to develop strategies and exemplar learning materials, such as resources from UCMP's Understanding Evolution website to increase the data literary skills across a broader community of undergraduates.

EPICC and the Kettleman Hills Collection (NSF)

Target Group: K-16 teachers and the public
The impacts of research collections at the UCMP are broadened by two NSF grants highlighted in previous newsletters - the EPICC (Eastern Pacific Invertebrate Communities of the Cenozoic) project and the transfer of the Kettleman Hills invertebrate collection from San Francisco State. EPICC - a partnership between the UCMP and eight natural history museums to digitize, photograph, and georeference more than a million specimens - shares the fossils and the field sites at which they were collected through virtual fieldwork experiences (VFEs). Together with colleagues at the Paleontological Research Institution we are using high-resolution images of outcrops, specimen photographs, and interactive maps of each site adding context and opportunities for public outreach. Fossils from the Kettleman Hills collected by students at San Francisco State and transferred to UCMP are among those featured in the first EPICC VFE.

New Understanding Science App

New Understanding Science "How Science Works" Flowchart.

Upcoming Web Resources in Education & Outreach

A new suite of online educational resources, tools and modules will be soon be available from the UCMP. In partnership with Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), UCMP has developed a new interactive version of the Understanding Science "How Science Works" Flowchart. This new web tool can be found at www.understandingscience.org. The UCMP Education and Outreach team is also working on a redesign of the UCMP website, www.ucmp.berkeley.edu, nearly 25 years after its initial launch. And finally, adding to our Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science web resources, the Understanding Global Change website and educational resources are in development. Check back with us soon for updates on this exciting new project.