Broader Impacts in Atmospheric Research

The Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) is in a unique position to inspire current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM fields and educate a scientifically literate populace by exposing them to atmospheric science field campaigns. As a requestable service, EOL can provide an education and outreach program that can be modified in size and scope to meet a proposed campaign's needs. Working with the PIs and project staff, the EOL Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Coordinator will develop a suitable program for the project location and area of research. EPO activities include public outreach events, student enrichment, professional development, digital media development, and graphic design. Other EPO ideas are welcomed and encouraged.

 

Digital Media

Website Content Development
Content is targeted to the public, students, and teachers and includes images, infographics, written content, video, educational modules. The outreach website provides a comprehensive survey of the project, including science objectives, societal benefits of the research, research facilities, and the science team. Typical outreach web pages include interview questions and answers, videos, images, and educational modules that contribute to the greater understanding of the project by students and the general public alike.

Social Media
Posts on EOL Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress Blog; EOL platforms are used because they have a strong, well-established online following.

Video Production
Short videos can be made to enhance the visibility of the project and used as educational tools.

 

Graphic Design

Logos
A project logo can be designed to create long-lasting continuity.

Brochures

An informational brochure can be designed and printed for distribution at outreach events. The project brochure typically includes an overview of the project, collaborative efforts, a brief description of the research facilities, and the community benefits.

Infographics
A visual representation of the field project research objectives and facilities can be developed for multiple uses.

 

Public Outreach Events

Public Open House
A Public Open House is an important aspect of any field campaign because it creates an environment where people can interact directly with project scientists, engineers, technicians, project managers, and a host of others involved with the project. These personal interactions are vital for connecting with the next generation of the global workforce as well as public understanding of how research is conducted.

Media Events
The Media Events provide a designated time for print, broadcast, and radio media to interview PIs and project staff, take pictures, and generally learn facts about the project so they can report on it to their audience. A formal panel discussion can be organized, or a more informal setting with one-on-one interviews.

 

Student Engagement

School presentations
Visits to local schools while on deployment are critical for engaging students, encouraging curiosity, and informing them about research conducted in the region that is usually relevant to their community. During school visits, an early-career scientist involved with the project usually comes, the students appreciate the interactions with the young and relatable scientists. In addition, talking about the field campaign during a presentation, other topics include careers in geoscience, a day in an observational scientist's life, and how science and engineering relate to one another. Skype and other technologies can be employed to include PIs, and project staff personal visits are not possible.

Engaging early-career scientists
Early-career scientists in the field have the opportunity to learn more about field research, how field project operations, and to interact with young students in schools and the general public at Open House events. Presentations can be given to early-career scientists about different atmospheric research projects, the available NSF LAOF, and the request process. These interactions help to broaden their understanding of the career field they are entering.

Undergraduate field project opportunities
EOL and NCAR are working on ways to engage and involve more undergraduate students with field projects. We have had successful programs with small groups of undergraduate students and a graduate student science mentor involved with an atmospheric chemistry research project.

 

Professional Development

Teacher Workshops
A workshop's goals are to build educators' knowledge about field project areas of study and share educational resources that the educators can use to teach their students about atmospheric research.