Jan 04

Presenting at Professional Meetings

kate, originally uploaded by NDeRC2.

Presenting at professional meetings is a regular activity of STEM graduate students, post-docs and faculty. NDeRC fellow Kate Rueff sent this image (at my request…thanks, Kate:) of her poster presentation at this year’s AAS (American Astronomical Society) meeting. NDeRC cohort 1 fellow Joe Ribaudo is also presenting at this same meeting. Among the meeting highlights, Kate reports, is the Kepler mission’s discovery of five new exoplanets.

K-12 students and teachers don’t often get to see this side of professional life. Two years ago I traveled to a similar AAS meeting in Austin, Texas with two high school students who had been studying star formation rate in distant galaxy clusters in a program sponsored by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Here are one student’s reflections on the trip.

If STEM education consists in issuing effective invitations into STEM community, both those being educated and the educators ought to know what it is like to be part of the community. Imagine a world where STEM graduate and/or undergraduate students reported on their presentations at professional meetings to K-12/undergraduate classrooms, filled with students and teachers with whom they have a substantial collaborative history. “Here’s what the STEM community–our community–is doing”, these presenters convey in their report, “and what you’ll be doing, too.” What keeps us from building a community like this?