Issues for Teen Cafes in rural/small-town regions

Showcase Forums Teen Science Cafe Workshop Discussion 2015 Issues for Teen Cafes in rural/small-town regions

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #3608
    Michael MayhewMichael Mayhew

    How do you identify and recruit scientist-presenters in settings far from cities that have universities and research centers that are the usual source of presenters? Once your have identified a presenter, how do you provide training for the presenter if he/she is located a long distance away? Are virtual Cafes a feasible option in rural/small-town situations?

    Lawrence NorrisLawrence Norris

    I have a colleague at Univ. of Central Arkansas that uses Google Hangout (GHO) with his college physics club (SPS Chapter) with great effect. A teacher in TN, Adam Taylor, also uses GHO and Twitter to have his students talk to scientists.

    Lawrence NorrisLawrence Norris

    Check out the GHOs that Prof Slaton has done with his students

    He is basically at a small college in the middle of Arkansas with no budget for bringing speakers. The format does not allow for a lot hands-on obviously, but it’s working for him.

    Michelle HallMichelle Hall

    WE developed a list of types of businesses and government agencies that are common in most locations that could have a STEM professional who could engage teens in the issues and forefront topics of their field. I will look around to find it.

    Forensics, mortuary, sewage treatment, power generation, utilities management, civil engineering, someone from the county extension service, garden clubs, computer clubs, etc. I have always wanted to get some of my ultra runner friends who run 100 miles to talk about the physiology of the body when doing such extended extreme exercise.

    While we think of experts as those in academic or other research areas, there are many folks who are doing regular jobs using STEM.

    Accounting, economics, marketing, actuary science, veterinary, ISP, computer repair shops, auto mechanics working on 21st century cars, weather service, local radio stations, ham operators, local astronomy club. The science and engineering of of digital cameras, phones, and all the other tech kids use.

    Because these are so practical and part of a teen’s life – they also can get kids attention.

    Vicki DiMuzio

    Vicki DiMuzio here from North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville. We are an original TSC node in our 3rd year of Cafes. We are located in a poor rural community. For us, being affiliated with NCMNS in Raleigh, which is in the Research Triangle and a truly amazing facility, was huge our first season, as they provided scientists for us. The difficult part was the 2+ hour drive.
    In seeking to bring in speakers closer to home, I did what Michelle suggested in the above reply. I looked for professionals in our area that fit my teens’ interests. This not only brought in community involvement, but allowed the teens to see actual professions that are relevant to our area. They also then have a contact for possible volunteering or job shadowing. Thus far we have tapped into our county sheriff’s department, local forest rangers, environmental teacher/specialist, karate school, emergency department, and most recently went on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of our local hospital (see blog post, once I remember how to post it); and we are really just starting to tap in to our community resources!
    Also, in an effort to continue to bring in scientists doing research, our location gives us access, within an hour, to two of our University of North Carolina branches. Given that most of their research is funded by grants, the majority of these scientists are required to do a certain amount of community outreach programming. These institutions, as well as our local Community College, are where a good number of local teens that do attend college will end up enrolling. Therefore, the teens get exposure to cutting edge science as well as some ideas for relevant areas of study for their future from close to home. Cafe topics from this resource thus far have been: Biomimicry, Micropropagation, Facial Aging and Recognition technology, and a visit from the Weightless Lumbees, a group of college students who were awarded a grant through NASA to perform an experiment they designed in a zero gravity environment.
    All this being said, living in a small, rural community does have its advantages. Although my teen group is fairly small, our average number is 15, we are able to have excellent hands-on/interactive activities and more personal interaction with our speakers and each other. My teen leaders are truly invested in the Cafes because they understand they are part of something very unique and exciting in our community. This attitude comes across to our speakers who all have commented that they would come back any time to present at future Cafes. My hope is that our Teen Science Cafe is able to plant seeds of interest in the teens that participate such that they are better equipped to answer the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

    check out recent videos posted by Wallyce Todd, a local newspaper reporter regarding the TSC’s in Whiteville: If you start at 1:38 it shows an interview of some of the teen leaders and participants talking about TSC.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by Vicki DiMuzio.
    Ann BoesAnn Boes

    I appreciate the post and I really like the advertising poster with neon lettering. Love the line “Brain Food for Teens”!

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.