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AWIS Bethesda Chapter Opportunities for Scientists in K-12 Science Education as a Career or as a Volunteer. Toby Horn, Ph.D. Co-Director, Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE), Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW). Topics. Volunteering Careers Connecting with schools

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AWIS Bethesda ChapterOpportunities for Scientistsin K-12 Science Educationas a Career or as a Volunteer

Toby Horn, Ph.D.Co-Director, Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE), Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW)

  • Volunteering
  • Careers
  • Connecting with schools
  • Getting employed

Career Speaker

  • Science Fair Judge
  • Tutor
  • Lab aide
scientist v teacher expectations of your audience
Buy-in is assumed

Nappers don’t matter

People leave to check on their experiment

Why do we have to know this?

Why should I be interested?

Students have to stay in the classroom

Scientist v TeacherExpectations of your Audience
visit a school
Visit a School
  • Check out the NIH Office of Science Education Speakers Bureau
  • What is the community service policy in your lab/division?
  • Visit a school in your neighborhood
  • Tutor in early AM or after school
  • Volunteer to mentor a student for science fair (not in your lab, but by phone, e-mail school visit)
visit a school1
Visit a School
  • Make yourself known
  • Provide information teachers want for their students
  • Negotiate topic to reinforce what is being taught
  • Be MUCH more informal than for NIH seminar
engaging your audience
Engaging your Audience
  • Keep talk time short--involve the audience
  • Help students develop into questioners by thinking out loud
  • Show students how to do things and then---LET them do things
  • Get students/teachers to teach YOU!
engaging your audience1
Engaging your Audience
  • Bring items you actually use to pass around for students to handle.
  • Ask students what THEY like about science. (Most will say they like nothing but that’s because they are kids.)
  • Even if they are not looking, students ARE listening.
connect your work with basic science concept s
Discuss with the teacher beforehand

Fit your visit to introduce or reinforce the program of studies

Refer to the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy


Connect your work with basic science concept(s)
talking to students
What is your day like?

How much do you earn?

What basic science concepts does your work address?

What is your experimental design?

What does your data look like?

What did you like in high school?

Describe a bad goof in the lab and how you solved the problem.

Talking to Students
what is your day like

Institutions where you work


Travel to meetings


Describe a bad goof in the lab and how you solved the problem.

What is your day like?
how much do you earn
You don’t have to answer this specifically.

You may earn less than a teacher, but you have some particular perks.

Salary scales for practically every school district are higher for folks with PhD.

How much do you earn?
how do you design your experiment


Hypothesis-IF there is one

What do you use to collect the data?

How many /what kinds of trials/replicates do you use

How does what you are doing relate to teens/kids/adults/real life?

How do you design your experiment?
what does your data look like
YES, you do math in science.

Data representation is attempted different ways

Tables and charts

Photos and gels


Using math (every day)

What does your data look like?
what did you like in school



After-school job?

Science & Math COURSES (maybe yes, maybe no???)

Let students know you were a nerd if you were. Many students are afraid to admit they are nerds also.

What did you like in school?
had a bad goof how did you solve the problem
Recognizing bad data

Checking materials

Asking for advice from colleagues

Being upset (feeling stupid?)

Being persistent

Resolving the problem

Things often go (wrong) in ways we don’t expect.

Had a bad goof? How did you solve the problem?
  • Career Speaker

Science Fair Judge

  • Tutor
  • Lab aide
science fair judge
Science Fair Judge

Students are NERVOUS!

  • Listen to the prepared speech.
  • Ask: How did you get interested in the project?
  • Ask: What was the most unusual thing you found?
  • Then, if the student didn’t use control/standard/replicates, etc., gently ask.
local regional science fairs
Local Regional Science Fairs
  • Montgomery County. March 10-12.Judging Saturday March 12. Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Visit Sunday early afternoon.

  • DCPS March 17-19.Judging Saturday March 18. McKinley Technology High School. Visit Sunday early afternoon.

  • Fairfax County March 17-19. Judging Saturday March 18. Robinson Secondary School. Visit Sunday early afternoon.

  • Prince Georges County




Lab aide

  • Bring supplies
  • Help set up
  • Help students
  • Help clean up
data about teaching
DATA about Teaching
  • Requirements by State

  • Teacher Quality: Preparation and Qualifications of Public School Teachers

  • Teacher Preparation & Professional Development

  • Outreach
  • Independent/Private School
  • Charter School
  • Public School
outreach avenues
Outreach Avenues

NIH-OSE Institutes

Universities Museums



Independent/ Private School


Charter School

(primarily in DCPS) communityint/schools/schools.htm

  • Outreach
  • Independent/Private School
  • Charter School

Public School

k 12 edujargon

Differentiated Instruction


Planning period

Daily assessment

Grading period

Data Club/Seminar

Can your tech/post-doc repeat your work?

Set up the experiment

Collect the data

Analyze the data

Proposal and poster deadlines

K-12 EDUjargon
resources for you
Resources for YOU
  • NAS Publications
  • NSF GK-12
  • NIH-OSE Speakers Bureau
  • GWU/AU/GMU/Howard Transition to Teaching Programs
  • Mentors Inc.
getting employed
Getting Employed
  • Get known at a school
  • Requirements
  • Resume
  • Interview
  • Training & Fellowships
  • Resume
  • Transcripts

(if from another country, equivalents)

  • (Green Card)
  • Praxis exam (
  • Be Patient & Persistent
prepare your resume cv
Prepare your Resume (CV)
  • Emphasize your major subjects (generally “certification” is based on your college or graduate thesis subject)
  • Put your research/thesis topic in terms of the basic science studied, then the actual title
  • Note especially any volunteering with the public or in schools
  • Don’t list your publications---just indicate that you have publications in scientific journals

Please DO NOT use the NIH cv format

getting employed1
Getting Employed
  • Send the principal a short cover letter with your resume (CV)
  • Call and ask for a meeting
  • Bring your resume and other documents with you to the meeting
  • Be prepared to describe your work with NO jargon
  • Consult the AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy and Atlas of Science Literacy

dc public schools
DC Public Schools





fairfax county va
Fairfax County, VA


montgomery county md
Montgomery County, MD



transition to teaching t3 http www ed gov policy elsec leg esea02 pg28 html
Transition to Teaching (T3)
  • to establish a program to recruit and retain highly qualified mid-career professionals (including highly qualified paraprofessionals), and recent graduates of an institution of higher education, as teachers in high-need schools, including recruiting teachers through alternative routes to certification; and
  • to encourage the development and expansion of alternative routes to certification under State-approved programs that enable individuals to be eligible for teacher certification within a reduced period of time, relying on the experience, expertise, and academic qualifications of an individual, or other factors in lieu of traditional course work in the field of education.
transition to teaching t3
Transition to Teaching (T3)

DC Fellows program

Howard University


Dept of Education overview


realities of communicating w schools
Realities of Communicating w/Schools
  • Identify the school, call and find out the name of the principal (may not be current on a web site). Also get the school Fax number and the name of a science teacher.
  • Call the principal EARLY or LATE in the day. Do NOT expect the principal to call back. They are terribly overextended.
  • Snailmail and Fax and call to leave a message.
  • (Schools in the NIH area tend to be more responsive)
curious ask yourself
Curious? Ask Yourself…
  • Do you like kids?
  • Do you have a sense of humor?
  • Are you patient but firm?
  • Could you model self-discipline?
  • Can you describe your work in <25 words?

(sans jargon)