It’s Time for Science Episode 10: Community Engagement and Citizen Scientists

It’s Time for Science Episode 10: Community Engagement and Citizen Scientists

This month on It’s Time for Science, it’s time to talk about community engagement and citizen scientists! Host Tom Racine talks with Dr. Mwenda KudumuBiggs from the Fleet Science Center and Emma Giles from SciStarter.

Episode Summary

In this episode, Tom speaks with Dr. KudumuBiggs about her position at the Fleet Science Center, why it’s so important to connect people and families to science, and the power of kids seeing their families involved with science. They also discuss why science is at risk without including marginalized voices, some of the many services the Fleet offers, and resources to consider if you don’t have a local science center.

Tom and Ms. Giles discuss SciStarter’s goal of getting citizen scientists involved in one million acts of science in April 2024! They talk about what a citizen scientist is, the types of resources SciStarter offers, and what you can do to get your students involved with citizen science.

Get involved!
Projects based on grade level:
Follow SciStarter on social media to keep up-to-date with all their events:

Episode Guests

Dr. Mwenda KudumuBiggs

Mwenda KudumuBiggs, Vice President for Community Service and Engagement at the Fleet Science Center, fell in love with science while growing up in the Valencia Park and Lincoln Park neighborhoods of Southeastern San Diego. Her passion for science was encouraged and nurtured at the Elementary Institute of Science, where at age 15, she received a young scientist award, presented to her by Dr. Jonas Salk, for participating in San Diego’s National Student Science Competition.

Dr. KudumuBiggs earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and was a fisheries biologist and wildlife manager. She then changed careers to dedicate herself to broadening the participation of underrepresented voices in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). After designing and implementing programming in museums across California, New York, and North Carolina for over a decade, she was inspired to move to Ghana, where she spent eight years developing a science and technology center at the University of Cape Coast.

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While working in science centers in the United States, Dr. KudumuBiggs noticed that there were few Black and Brown people. With over 18 years of experience working in science centers and a master’s degree and doctorate in science education from North Carolina State University, Dr. KudumuBiggs is excited to return to San Diego to give back to her hometown. Her research interests explore culturally relevant practices in informal STEM contexts. She is inspired by the need for Black and Brown voices to rejoin the science conversation and is committed to helping the residents of Southeastern San Diego recognize and recover their STEM legacy.

Emma Giles

Emma Giles is the Manager of Public Outreach and Programs at SciStarter, where she produces and hosts SciStarter LIVE, a weekly virtual event series. Ms. Giles is also the managing director of SciStarter’s Citizen Science Month and One Million Acts of Science, among other signature programs. Emma has a Master’s degree in Science & Technology Policy at Arizona State University.

In 2021, Ms. Giles was a recipient of the Teach Earth Fellowship with Earthwatch, where she studied caterpillars and climate change in southern Arizona during her tenure as a 5th-grade math and science teacher. Continuing her education in 2023, Ms. Giles attended the University of Vienna, Austria, for the Scientific World Conceptions Summer School Vienna Circle on Climate Science.

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