Engaging the public with science and helping people to become scientific thinkers is not just something that I am passionate about, I believe it is one of my most important responsibilities as a scientist. I take this responsibility seriously and take opportunities to teach about biology and my research to a wide variety of audiences. My outreach experiences have taught me to communicate science to a diversity of ages and backgrounds and helped to inspire my dream of teaching and studying science as a career.
I believe that good outreach is needed for many reasons, to help reach people who may not have good access to science and even encourage them to become scientists. This is particularly true for underrepresented groups in STEM. Beyond that, we need to continue to improve science literacy and understanding in the general public in the United States and around the world and outreach is one way that we as scientist can do this. A final reason is that the majority of science funding in the US comes from tax payers and it is important that the public learns to value scientific research, to understand how research is done, and why it is important.
I have participated in and helped facilitate a wide range of different outreach activities during my time at the University of Colorado. Many of which have been associated with Graduate Student Outreach Committee, a group run by graduate students that puts on several incredible outreach events each year. I enjoyed leading EOC, along with Helen McCreery, for five years and am happy to see several young ambitious graduate students in EBIO keep it going strong.