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Science Engagement Examples

Seminarians and theologians touring the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) laboratories at the George Washington University
Science for Seminaries participants tour the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) laboratories at GWU

Seminarians and theologians touring the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) laboratories at the George Washington University as part of the AAAS-DoSER Science for Seminaries program (Photo Credit: AAAS-DoSER)

Looking for ways to engage with religious communities, institutions and individuals? Here are a few ideas for small-scale engagement events to get you started!

  • Organize a science-faith dialogue event on your campus, in collaboration with one or more faith communities or organizations.  Consider topics with broad appeal and interest (e.g., Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience and Aging, Conservation, or Public Health).
  • Develop a poster or art project on a science topic for display, in collaboration with a religious community and participate in a discussion about your work.
  • Organize a community event with a science focus that can bring faith communities and scientists together (e.g., stream clean-up, visit to a local science festival or museum).
  • Host a teach-in on a science topic in your area of expertise at a religious school or community.
  • Launch or participate in a substantive social media engagement (blog, Twitter chat, Reddit AMA, etc.) to discuss a science topic and its relevance to or impacts on broader society, including faith perspectives.
  • Organize a forum on a community/local science issue or topic (e.g., water quality, local parks, community resiliency) that is inclusive of faith leaders and other local influencers.
  • Provide a laboratory or field site tour to a local religious school or faith community.
  • Organize a science documentary film screening and discussion for a faith community with scientists and faith leaders participating.
  • Organize a book club with science majors and religious student organizations to discuss books about science and society.
  • Create a video about a scientific topic or project that you are working on and host a viewing and discussion with a religious audience.
  • Organize or participate in a podcast episode featuring an inclusive dialogue about science between scientists and religious guests.

Many established scientists, educators, and institutions explicitly include religious communities in their engagement activities. The individuals and programs below* may provide some additional ideas for your own projects.

 

Dance Your PhD - explaining your Ph.D. research through interpretive dance, with an emphasis on communicating about it with faith communities.

GreenFaith -working with houses of worship, religious schools, and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards.

Smithsonian Human Origins Traveling Exhibit- promoting science-informed dialogue about human origins and evolution, centered on the question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Public Science Engagement Efforts by Dr. Nalini Nadkarni (University of Utah)- thoughtful and inclusive engagement efforts with diverse faith communities (and others), centered around plants and ecology.  See a video of Dr. Nadkarni speaking about her work at the 2018 AAAS annual meeting HERE!

Native SkywatchersA program centered on promoting STEM education and opportunities for indigenous youth, grounded in treasured cultural knowledge and worldviews.  Activities include science and art workshops and activities that blend both.

Sinai and Synapses – hosts webcast presentations and discussions, in-person events, a blog and other programming focused on science topics and their relevance to both personal spirituality and broader societal challenges.

National Academies ‘Extreme Event’ game- an interactive community resiliency game developed by LabX of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and offered freely to the public.  The game is an opportunity to bring diverse stakeholders together to consider community needs and responsibilities.  Anyone can organize and host a game!

The “Building with Biology” Forum – an interactive forum activity developed by the Boston Museum of Science and offered freely to the public. The kit is designed to help museum and scientist partners engage public audiences in conversations and hands-on activities about the field of synthetic biology and the ways this emerging technology is interconnected with society.

*Note: the AAAS-DoSER program does not endorse the content of these external websites; they are provided only as a reference.