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Bring Community Science to Your Classroom

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Want to expose your students to the community science model? Thriving Earth Exchange is here to help.

The past few years have brought increased attention to community science, in which scientists and communities work as equal partners to address community priorities. As this awareness has grown, university faculty and leaders have reached out to Thriving Earth Exchange to discuss how to expose the next generation to this community-driven, solution-oriented way of doing science.

We, of course, are thrilled—and more than happy to help.

Here are three ways your students can get involved in community science. Most are best suited for college and graduate level students, but you can contact us to discuss options for younger groups.


1. Hold a ‘Community Science 101’ Workshop

Thriving Earth staff are available to lead workshops on what community science is and how to do it well. In a 1 or 2-hour session, participants learn and practice the skills needed to build effective relationships with communities to address local priorities.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Identify barriers to co-creation of science and teach ways to overcome these barriers
  • Provide concrete strategies that scientists can employ to make community science projects a success
  • Teach participants how to develop community science projects through hands-on interactive activities that allow them to practice strategies and techniques

“I think the potential for these types of engagements is twofold,” says Melissa Goodwin, a Thriving Earth project manager who frequently presents on community science to students, professionals and community groups. “First, they offer an introduction to community science for those who don’t encounter it in their standard curriculum or university environment. Second, the workshop and examples can inspire thoughtfulness about how scientific work can be tweaked to include community engagement and result in greater benefits, both for the community and for the scientific goals.”

Workshops can be delivered in person or via webcast. There is no fee, but travel support is requested for in-person workshops. Suitable for science students of all backgrounds. Contact us to request a workshop near you.


2. Join a Thriving Earth Exchange Project

Many Thriving Earth projects involve student volunteers from science and engineering fields. In our experience, students have a great deal to contribute and learn a ton along the way!

A student group from Louisiana State University recently won second prize in a highly competitive environmental design competition for their work with New Orleans’ lower 9th ward neighborhood. In other projects, students have been involved in field sampling, data analysis and visualization, architectural design and more.

If you’re interested in involving your students in a future project, please register for our Volunteer Scientist Network and we’ll let you know when appropriate opportunities arise. Visit Volunteer Scientists Wanted to peruse our current opportunities.


3. Tell Your Students and Graduates about our Community Science Fellowship

This new program offers students, early-career researchers or experienced professionals the opportunity to take the driver’s seat in facilitating a scientist-community collaboration.

The program is open to people with any background, experience level or location. Fellows serve in a volunteer capacity for a period of 6-18 months, averaging 2-3 hours per week for the first month and 2-3 hours per month thereafter.

With hands-on training and ongoing mentorship, Fellows gain experience managing diverse teams, working across disciplinary boundaries and connecting science to action. It’s a terrific opportunity to build skills while helping to advance critical community priorities! Learn more and apply here.

Sarah Wilkins subscriber

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