University of Rochester
SPS SOCK & the NIST Summer Institute Intern
Society of Physics Students
Equipping SPS Chapters to do Science Outreach
The Society of Physics Students is a professional association explicitly designed for students and to help them become contributing members of the professional community. SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kits (SOCKs) contain hands-on exploratory physics and science activities specifically designed for SPS chapters to use in outreach presentations to local elementary, middle, and high school students.
Mariah is exploring avenues to distribute the entire collection of SPS SOCKs to a wide variety of audiences, and examining the outreach activities for alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She will then use many of the SOCK activities with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers, a two-week workshop for middle school science teachers featuring hands-on activities, lecturers, tours, and visits with NIST scientists and engineers in their laboratories.
Scientific outreach seeks to educate the public about scientific achievements and advances, as well as to communicate the importance of science funding and research. Outreach is not limited to the classroom, though cultivating an interest in science at a young age has proven to be effective in boosting involvement at later stages of life. Holding events where both adults and children can participate allows both groups to come away having learned something. The primary goal of any scientific outreach event is making sure that people leave with a better understanding of science than when they arrive. Over the course of the summer, the Society of Physics Students (SPS) hosted and co-hosted several outreach events, some of which were more effective than others. Preparedness, activity diversity, and interactivity were the most important components of effective outreach. If learning feels like play, people are more likely to participate. In this presentation, I will cover how to conduct outreach as an undergraduate, as well as what tools are available for use in classroom involvement at the elementary school level.
I completed my junior year at the University of Rochester in May, where I am pursuing a dual degree program in Astrophysics and English Literature. During the school year, I am a teaching intern for the Astronomy department, and volunteer as a tutor at a local elementary school. Last summer, I worked as an instructor for an introductory physics course for high school girls.
Outside of the classroom, I play trumpet in my school’s symphony orchestra and take lessons at the Eastman School of Music. I am also an active member of my school’s SPS chapter, serving as President. I grew up in the DC Metro area in Bethesda, MD, but I am excited to spend more time in the city. After college, I want to go to law school to study Science and Policy.