Each year I participate in Letters to a Pre-Scientist, an amazing program where you are paired with a younger student (5th-12th grade), and exchange 4 rounds of letters facilitated by their teachers. The letters have themes like "overcoming obstacles", but you also just talk about their goals and struggles, and try to encourage them to dream big. It's a super inspiring thing! My current pen-pal is passionate about math, dancing, puppies, and pizza.
But my pen-pal asked how big a supercomputer was. So I did the sensible thing: I emailed and got special permission to go into our cluster and take a picture. I have probably done stranger things for outreach, but this definitely was one of the weirdest. But now I can tell her "yes, bigger than a desktop".
I'm grateful to be working at a university that would embrace the chance to make a child laugh and learn at the same time.
And for the record, supercomputers are kept very cold. I'll be here with my hot tea.
Learn more about Letters to a Pre-Scientist, and sign up to be a pen-pal yourself, here:
Honored to have been featured in a University of Washington Tide Bite!
Check it out here: http://depts.washington.edu/fhl/tidebites/Vol73/index.html
2019's Night at the Museum was DINOSAURS!
Hundreds of children and their parents came through, and were met with a true-to-life "how tall of a dinosaur are you?" poster, a station demonstrating how fossils are made with Play-Doh, a timeline of "living fossils" and when they evolved, and some amazing fish from our collections. Our room was made even more excited with the addition of the Museum Collections, with live bugs and some highly-questionable Cajun-flavored crickets.
As always, talking about science to the general public was a blast!
While at Carmabi Research Station, Kevin and I filmed an interview introducing children to the idea of meiofauna. Ellie Mackay was an inspiring host whose genuine enthusiasm and wonder at our tiny critters made the ordinarily mortifying experience a fun one. That is not to say I plan on ever watching the video, but you can find it here:
Coral Live Interview 2018