News

What Alex Taylor did with his prize money

  Alex was voted the winner of the Soil Zone in 2016.  We asked him to tell us what he’s been up to over the last year with his $500 and here is what he said…       Since the “I’m a Scientist USA” competition, I’ve become even more committed to science outreach and science communication, and I split my prize money between these two pursuits. About half went to web-hosting a science communication blog I started with some scientist friends at the University of Michigan called Thought and Awe, and the other half went towards gas and incidentals for various outreach events around Southeast Michigan, primarily at local schools, the Detroit Zoo, and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. In both the blog and the outreach, I worked with Jeff Shi, the 2015 Hydrogen Zone winner. Working in academic science, I’m confronted daily by the large and seemingly growing disconnect … Continue reading

Posted on May 26, 2017 by modtristan in News | Leave a comment

The greatest human beings that have ever lived in the history of the universe.

After week one of the Genomics zone we’re approaching the eliminations and starting to wonder which of our inspiring scientists are going to miss out on the prize and the kudos of winning I’m a Scientist USA. It’s been a really successful first week, with nine schools chatting with the scientists and over 180 questions submitted to ASK so far. As a new teacher to the program said: The students loved it! Did not really know what to expect, but it was great. Thank you so much! We have schools from 8 different states, from California to Montana, New York to Wyoming, and scientists in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California. Live chats are taking place from early in the morning on the East coast to late in the afternoon on the West coast and as we enter the second week most of the country has switched over to Daylight saving time, except … Continue reading

Posted on March 13, 2017 by modtristan in News | Leave a comment

Meet the Genomicists……

I’m a Scientist USA 2017 starts off with a Genomics Zone on March 6th. For two weeks, scientists from across the USA will be answering students’ questions and taking part in live chats, while they compete for the prize of $500 to spend on their own engagement project. Between March 6 and 17, school students from 8 different states will put the scientists through their paces in fast-paced live chats and probing questions on everything from how genomics can help cure sick children, how it can help us understand the brain, how it might help treat cancer to how plants respond to stress. It’s been really difficult choosing our competitors as there are so many amazing researchers working in genomics, but we’ve got scientists who are working in a range of really exciting fields taking part and we think it’s going to lead to some fantastic conversations. We really hope all the other … Continue reading

Posted on February 26, 2017 by modtristan in News | Leave a comment

From How is the Earth made? to What makes you a good scientist? – Highlights as we begin the eliminations.

The second week of the event is underway in the Helium and Soil Zones and today we have our first eliminations. Despite the likely trepidation the scientists are feeling, they all seem to be loving the event, answering a huge number of questions in ASK, over 300 questions so far, and in the 16 live chats they have already taken part in. Yesterday Stephanie remarked Glad to know I can keep chatting with the students even after elimination, it’s super fun talking to them. We have schools from 13 different states, from California to Connecticut, Montana to Georgia and even a Canadian school in Ontario. Our scientists have been taking part in live chats really early in the morning from Arizona and late into the night from Africa. Online STEM engagement enables amazing interactions to take place across vast distances and for the past week Mark Ritchie has been chatting … Continue reading

Posted on May 3, 2016 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on From How is the Earth made? to What makes you a good scientist? – Highlights as we begin the eliminations.

Meet the Scientists…

I’m a Scientist USA 2016 kicks off on April 25th with the Helium Zone and the Soil Zone. For two weeks, ten scientists will be answering students’ questions and taking part in live chats, while they compete for the prize of $500 to spend on their own project in schools. Between April 25 and May 6 school students from 13 different states will put the scientists through their paces in fast-paced live chats and probing questions on everything from how we think, to how plants grow, to why do we feel pain, to how do you get electricity from soil? We’re delighted to receive funding from the Agronomic Science Foundation to run the Soil zone and we encourage you to take a look at the resources available on the Soils 4 Teachers and Soils 4 kidz websites. As always it has been really difficult choosing our competitors. We really hope … Continue reading

Posted on April 13, 2016 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Meet the Scientists…

What Jeff Shi did with his prize money

Jeff was voted the winner of the Hydrogen Zone in 2015.  We asked him to tell us what he’s been up to over the last year with his $500 and here is what he said…   I used funds from I’m A Scientist USA to create a number of sets of 3D printed bat skulls for use in public education and outreach around southeastern Michigan. Since the competition, I have partnered with two major nonprofits – the Organization for Bat Conservation (#savethebats) and the Detroit Zoological Society – in addition to my longtime work with the educational nonprofit 826michigan. With these groups, I present my research and overall concepts on ecology and evolution at the Detroit Zoo, at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, and at schools around the region. The lowly skull: you may not think very much about it on a daily basis, but it encodes a wealth of information about the … Continue reading

Posted on April 3, 2016 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on What Jeff Shi did with his prize money

I’m a Scientist 2016 dates

I’m a Scientist USA will run for two weeks during April and May from Monday 25th April to Friday 6th May . Apply now to take part! If you have already applied we will be contacting you to confirm your participation in this event. Teachers Teachers apply here: imascientist.us/teachers Apply before Friday 8th April Scientists Scientists apply here: imascientist.us/scientists-apply Apply before Monday 4th April

Posted on March 10, 2016 by modtristan in News | Leave a comment

Building Your Communication Skills with Winners of the “I’m a Scientist” Competition

I don’t think there’s a better indication of how people reacted to hearing about I’m A Scientist at the AAAS conference than this comment by user @redekerd during the live chat.           This year’s AAAS annual meeting was held in Washington D.C. and we were invited to run a session providing advice on communication skills from previous winners of the I’m a Scientist competition. This year’s theme was Global Science Engagement, a fitting topic for I’m a Scientist, a program that now operates in seven countries on five different continents. This is impressive expansion for an initiative that started in 2008 in the UK. In contrast, AAAS is among the oldest scientific societies in America, having been founded in Philadelphia in 1848 and holding meetings annually since 1946. I presented the session along with previous winner, and Advisory Board member, Prof. Andrew Maynard, with four other … Continue reading

Posted on February 18, 2016 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Building Your Communication Skills with Winners of the “I’m a Scientist” Competition

AAAS 2016 – Our first Zone for scientists and budding science communicators.

We will be running a Zone to accompany our workshop at the AAAS annual conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday 13th February 2016. Come along to our workshop or follow online! The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people”. Each year, thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers, and journalists gather together to discuss recent developments in science and technology. The theme of the 2016 Annual Meeting is ‘Global Science Engagement’, and I’m a Scientist is a global science engagement phenomenon that now operates in seven countries, on five continents, so it only seems right that we bring it to the conference. The Annual Meeting offers career development workshops for those working in science and technology-related fields. This year I’m a Scientist USA will provide an in-person workshop combined with a live chat and … Continue reading

Posted on January 17, 2016 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on AAAS 2016 – Our first Zone for scientists and budding science communicators.

Dinosaur Bones and Women in STEM

On October 4th the American Association of University Women (AAUW) held a conference titled FROM MUD PIES TO DINOSAUR BONES: Encouraging Girls’ Interest in STEM.  It was an original title and it caught my attention on Twitter so I got in touch with Muriel Everhart, President of the Ithaca Branch of AAUW to find out more. The conference was held at the Paleontological Research Institution’s Museum of the Earth and had a program full of interesting talks on formal and informal STEM education, as well as online learning. Speakers included Sara Silverstone, Director of the Empire State STEM Learning Network, Ellie Fulmer, Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Ithaca College, Sally Wolfe a teacher, Patrice Prusko of Cornell University, Illa Burbank, President of IthacaSTEM Advocates and Warren Allmon, Director of the Paleontological Research Institution. Looking at the program it seemed like just the sort of event where the attendees … Continue reading

Posted on October 30, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Dinosaur Bones and Women in STEM

How good was the first I’m a Scientist USA? – The evaluation

It might seem like it was just last week but we’ve had a great summer and now everyone is back to school. There’s been amazing discoveries by our scientists and we hope you’ve all been enthralled by the Homo Naledi announcement from Lindsay and her colleagues at Rising Star Expedition. It’s worth revisiting some of Lindsay’s answers from the May event like ‘What is the most amazing discovery you have made?’. You can read more about what Lindsay thought of I’m a Scientist USA and the students she interacted with in our evaluation. Now fall is here it’s time to take a look at how well our first ever I’m a Scientist USA event went. We’ve been crunching data, sifting through survey responses and conducting interviews to find out what everyone thought of the event and we can now report our findings. To download and read the full evaluation click here. If … Continue reading

Posted on September 25, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on How good was the first I’m a Scientist USA? – The evaluation

May 2015 Student Winner

After every event we ask the scientists and moderators to select a student from each zone who stood out for them; the student they thought asked the best questions, or engaged most in the live chats. Well done to the student winner, and everyone who took part. There were so many interesting questions, and comments, but there could only be one winner in each zone. So, for fantastic engagement during the event, for posting brilliant questions and comments, the student winner below will receive a certificate and a $30 gift voucher. Hydrogen Zone Winner: Camille Smith, Kindezi School  

Posted on June 11, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on May 2015 Student Winner

I’m a Scientist USA and Science Cabaret attend IPSEC

I’m a Scientist USA (me) and Science Cabaret (Kitty and Mark) attended the first independent International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Held from June 1-2 at MIT’s Media lab. The event started with a hilarious night of comedy down at Improv Boston involving a neanderthal researcher being quizzed by comedians in You’re the Expert. We  showed up early to grab a drink and ensure we had a seat, bumping into a fellow Ithacan Bruce Lewenstein as we waited for the doors to open. You’re the scientist is a simple format, but proves very entertaining as the comedians attempt to guess the work of the scientist, which they strung out long enough to maximize the comedic effect. On Monday the serious business of the conference started with pastries and coffee and I was pleased to discover a sizable British contingent had made their way across the Atlantic to attend. The first session was an innovative but … Continue reading

Posted on June 3, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on I’m a Scientist USA and Science Cabaret attend IPSEC

I’m a Scientist USA Live

Not only did we run our first ever I’m a Scientist USA Zone – Hydrogen – during May but we also put on our first I’m a Scientist USA live event. On 19 May at Lot 10 in Ithaca, I’m a Scientist USA and Science Cabaret staged Ask a Scientist, featuring five inspiring and entertaining local scientists (including an Ig Nobel prize winner): David Kornreich – Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ithaca College Alexa Schmitz – Boyce Thompson Institute Benjamin Brown-Steiner – Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University Michael Smith – Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University and Ig Nobel prize winner. Shoshanna Cole – Department of Astronomy, Cornell University   The evening was an informative, funny and challenging event in which the panel faced questions about their work as well as a test of their general science knowledge. Each scientist was briefly introduced and provided with … Continue reading

Posted on June 1, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on I’m a Scientist USA Live

Spiders and handwritten letters – highlights from the first week of I’m a Scientist USA

Well it’s the end of week one, how is everyone doing? The scientists seem to be loving it, despite the huge number of questions they are receiving through ASK, over 250 questions so far, and in the 11 live chats they have already taken part in. All this curiosity is hard work to satisfy and in the staffroom Jeff Shi said “I don’t know how I’m doing with questions, but I’m developing my speed typing skills”. It can be hard to know what the impact is on the students when you are interacting through a computer but this picture from Mr de Guzman’s grade 5 class in San Francisco gives an insight into what is going on in the classroom while our scientists are frantically typing away. We have schools from ten different states, from California to Massachusetts, Montana to Georgia and even a Canadian school in Ontario. So far … Continue reading

Posted on May 17, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Spiders and handwritten letters – highlights from the first week of I’m a Scientist USA

Meet the Scientists

The very first I’m a Scientist USA event kicks off on May 11th with the Hydrogen Zone. For two weeks, five scientists will be answering students’ questions and taking part in live chats, while they compete for the prize of $500 to spend on their own project in schools. We had an amazing response to our call for scientists, with 30 applications for our five places. All the entries were fantastic and it has been really difficult choosing our competitors. We really hope all the other scientists who applied will be able to take part in future events. Let’s meet the scientists taking part…   Jeff Shi – I am the real Batman – I study modern bats and their superhero-like abilities to defy gravity, navigate in pitch dark, and capture nearly any imaginable kind of prey.         Avani Wildani – I use the math of 3-D objects to … Continue reading

Posted on April 24, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Meet the Scientists

Deadline extended for Scientists – April 17th

Great News! We have extended the deadline for scientists to apply for our I’m a Scientist USA May event. Applications will be open until 5pm EDT Friday 17th April. Apply here  

Posted on April 13, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on Deadline extended for Scientists – April 17th

May 2015 Zone – Hydrogen

I’m a Scientist USA will run for two weeks during May from Monday 11th to Friday 22nd  . Our first Zone will be named after the first element in the periodic table – Hydrogen! The Hydrogen Zone The Hydrogen Zone is a general science zone featuring five different scientists from a wide range of research areas. We welcome any type of scientist to apply for general science zones, as the more diverse they are, the better. Click here to go to the Zone homepage. Apply now to take part! Teachers Teachers apply here: imascientist.us/teachers Apply before Sunday 26th April Scientists Scientists apply here: imascientist.us/scientists-apply Apply before Monday 13th April

Posted on April 12, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on May 2015 Zone – Hydrogen

What is I’m a Scientist like in school?

Laura Heintz, teacher at Weston School in Wisconsin, posted this great video of her students taking part in I’m a Scientist. Take a look… In the video, the students gather around laptops to discuss the scientists and their research, planning questions in advance. There’s a real buzz after the live chat, with the students excited that they’ve just talked to “real scientists”. One student comments: “It was really fun – they said that we were really good students too.” The class seemed to most enjoy the interaction with the scientists and chance to find out more about their work, with another student saying: “We were talking to Jon a lot, we were kind of bombarding him with questions… We watched some of his videos, the one where he threw a rock down on some lava was really cool.” Laura explained to us what she thought were the main benefits of … Continue reading

Posted on March 31, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on What is I’m a Scientist like in school?

I’m a Scientist USA launch

I’m a Scientist USA starts on Monday May 11th. Schools across America and many US scientists have taken part in the UK event, but this is the first time an I’m a Scientist event is being run just for American schools and scientists. I’m a Scientist USA is run by the US based organization Keep On Questioning; whose mission is to “inspire, engage and educate people by connecting them with professionals and experts”. Keep On Questioning is looking for schools and scientists to sign up by April 13th. So if you get any joy from explaining the world or want to attend the best crash course in science communication, sign up now. If you want your students to meet and question a wide range of scientists from across America, then please get your class involved.  

Posted on March 26, 2015 by modtristan in News | Comments Off on I’m a Scientist USA launch