There is more to being a Ph.D. in biological sciences student than taking classes and doing research. Part of a scientist’s job is to communicate their research to the public. I was fortunate enough to be part of a National Science Foundation fellowship during my graduate training. The fellowship partnered me with local public schools where I was required to co-teach 10 hours a week, create lesson plans based on my research and coach the high school’s Ocean Bowl team (marine science trivia competition). While working with my partner teachers, I was introduced to and collaborated with many environmental outreach programs. One of these programs was the Live Blue Program.
Live Blue works with elementary and middle schools to promote water conservation. The organization schedules events like Wonders of Water night. At this event, scientists are invited to give a short, 10-minute, talk about their research to 3rd through 6th graders at schools throughout the county. Recently, I was invited as the speaker.
I gave a 10-minute talk about our Beneath the Waves film festival. I talked to the students about the declining health of the Indian River Lagoon and how the film festival was a chance to raise awareness about the problems the lagoon faces. I also informed the students that they could be a voice for the Indian River by creating their own marine science film (< 5 minutes). We are co-hosting the first-ever Youth Making Ripples film competition for K-12 students. Students have until December 1 to submit their films. We will then debut their films in a competition format in January where the audience will vote for the winning film. We are very excited that Beneath the Waves Inc. has made Florida Tech the home for this competition. We anticipate a huge turnout and hope that this will become a yearly tradition in Brevard County. For more details about submitting your own film, email firstname.lastname@example.org.