Skype A Scientist connects researchers and school classes around the world by arranging science talks and conversations over video chat. Scientists can apply to be matched with schools and other groups interested in meeting a researcher.
What do scientists get out of participating?
- Public engagement experience. For researchers who don’t have opportunities to visit their local communities, Skype A Scientist offers a similar experience online. You get to talk to a school class or community group, and get a sense of the surprising questions that students ask from scientists.
- Volunteer opportunity. By interacting with a school class, you’re showing that scientists are part of the community, and serve as a role model to young people. Participating scientists also receive basic volunteer training.
- Global connection. Unlike most public engagement opportunities, Skype A Scientist might connect you with schools in a different country. You’ll learn something from this connection as well!
Video connections come with some challenges: Not all schools have great connections, and your virtual visit might be interrupted by technical issues. But there are also benefits to calling in from the comfort of your own office. No travel times, no safety clearance and school procedures to navigate. You can even call from your lab and show students some of your experiments! But Skype A Scientist is not a virtual lecture. The programme is very clear that they want you to have a conversation with the students, and that’s also what will make it the most fun for you!
Find Out More
- Skype a Scientist
- Poppick, Laura. ‘The Squid Biologist Connecting Schools and Scientists Worldwide’. Nature, Sept. 2018
- Killgrove, Kristina. ‘How The “Skype A Scientist” Program Combats Fake News Through Public Education’. Forbes