Thursday, April 18, 2013

#ScioTeen Wrap-Up


by Jeanne Garbarino, Biology editor

For over seven years, ScienceOnline has brought together science writers, scientists, and the science-interested for a friendly and super fun “unconference” gathering in North Carolina. The attendees usually range from college-aged to retired, and everyone gets an equal say. But science isn’t just for people in college and beyond - it is for teens too! This is why the ScienceOnline group decided to take it one step further by hosting the first ever ScienceOnline Teen (ScioTeen).






ScioTeen Video, created entirely by a teen, Rachael Schwartz


Held on Saturday, April 15th, this totally-for-teens event gave high school students a chance to talk with some really great science communicators. The idea is that teens who attended will learn from these experiences and use this knowledge to shape how they interact with the world of science in the future.  

In addition to the awesome teens who not only organized the event, but made it a smashing success through active participation and discussion, there were some incredible sessions. We started off the day listening to the keynote speaker, Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at Bit.ly, and lover of cheeseburgers. She talked about how the internet has changed the way we share information, and how science is paving the way for the  future, “enabling fundamental shifts in what people can do.”

After the keynote, ScioTeen attendees began the great race to network and absorb anything and everything from the sessions. There were folks who talked about adventures in science writing, how to start a blog, what it means to be a woman in science, and the science of what our dogs can tell us. Speaking of blogging, if you are interested in trying your hand at science blogging, please contact us here at Double X Science, Jr. We are looking for the science-interested ages 8-16 to write posts on their favorite science topic!

I was also among the lucky who had the great honor of leading a discussion, specifically on how to use critical thinking to be a smart consumer.


Summary of my session, scribed by Perrin Ireland.


There were also sessions on visual science communication and people like Henry Reich (Minute Physics) and Mindy Weisberger (American Museum of Natural History) were there to teach about their incredible craft, which I would categorize as “edutainment,” or education that also entertains.

Documenting the day was the one-of-a-kind Perrin Ireland, who has essentially invented the role of “science scribe.” She starts to draw at the beginning of the session and by the time the session is over, there is a graphic representation of all that was discussed.  

Overall, this was a wonderful event and I look forward to many more. I am also looking forward to seeing how this gathering influences the rising science communicators, and how we might continue the important conversations about science - because science is for everyone!

Congratulations to the conference organizers - Stacy Baker, Samantha Jakuboski, Naseem Syed, Hanna Ramsden, and Erik Martin - for a job well done.  

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