Lead Institution: Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, Athens, Ohio
The Southeast Ohio Teen Science Café is supported by the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery.
We invite you to explore STEAM in the world around us!
Please get in touch if you are a local STEM/STEAM professional, teen, parent of teens, or local business or organization interested in getting involved with this new program.
Date first café held: January 2018
Contributions to TeenScienceCafe.org:
Spotlight on Jen Parsons: (September 2018)
January 2018 Café:
We opened with our first café with a discussion led by Dr. Amr Al-Azm, a scientist and faculty member at Shawnee State University who has a background in both medicine and forensic anthropology. We learned how the science of bone identification can be used to help solve crimes and missing persons cases. We even got an opportunity to hypothesize about the crimes themselves. Dr. Al-Azm shared a little about his involvement with recovering and preserving items of interest in countries experiencing war and other trauma. This café was a great reminder to all of us that our future careers in science may require us to be flexible and willing to try new areas of study.
February 2018 Café:
The February Southeast Ohio Teen Science Café showcased research by Dr. Sarah Wyatt of Wyatt Labs at Ohio University. She and her assistant demonstrated some of the studies that took place on the International Space Station! We thought about how much we know about gravity’s effects on plant growth (it turns out, not much!) Dr. Wyatt encouraged us to explore some of the equipment that she uses and even brought some of the samples that were rejected from the space flight. We had a great discussion about girls and women who want to get involved in science and considered steps we could take to become involved in space study.
March 2018 Café:
In March we tackled an issue that is sure to be more present in the public discussion in the future: “smart” contracts. We learned that the concept behind this mode of contract is like blockchain (ex: Bitcoin) and considered where we placed our trust when we sign on the dotted line. We even got an opportunity to make some ‘kind of smart’ contracts with our fellow classmates (in exchange for some chocolate, of course!)
May 2018 Events:
In May, we were fortunate to have two Teen Science Café events. The first was held at Glidden Hall on the campus of Ohio University and explored the physics behind musical composition with OU professor and composer, Dr. McClure. We chatted about what type of words we use to describe different sounds (musical timbre) and how to change that (filters, physical characteristics of instruments, etc.) Once the balloon demonstration was out, it didn’t take long for the room to get noisy! Dr. McClure shared some of his compositions with us and explained the connection to his inspiration for one piece – the spectral analysis of stars. This café reminded us how integral the “A” (arts) are to “STEAM” learning.
The second Teen Science Café event that we held in May was a unique experience to host a PBS documentary screening and panel discussion about the film, Bill Nye: Science Guy. Held at our local independent theater, the Athena Cinema, the teen leaders facilitated a discussion following the film that centered around the role of science in our rapidly changing world. We examined the impact of climate change, including changes in our own region, and the public perception of ‘hot button’ subjects like evolution. We found that there is a real desire for these discussions and that the role of communication can be particularly important for young scientists to learn.