Students and teachers can both play a valuable role in educting people about stem cell science. CIRM’s outreach and education efforts rely on people going into schools to teach students and on donated education resources.
Here are a few ways to get involved:
- Become a CIRM presenter of stem cell information
- Submit stem cell resources
- Download stem cell resources
- Start a Stem Cell Education Outreach Program (SCEOP)
- Join the Student Society for Stem Cell Research
- Attend an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) workshop
Become a CIRM presenter of stem cell information
Postdoctoral researchers (or equivalent) and CIRM fellowship or grant recipients can present CIRM-developed PowerPoint presentations to high school students on Stem Cell Awareness Day or other days as requested by teachers.
Certified undergraduate and graduate students can also give CIRM-developed PowerPoint presentations to high school students throughout the school year. Presenters are assigned to schools only after participating in training offered by Stem Cell Education Outreach Programs (SCEOPs). For more information, contact the Outreach Coordinator at the location nearest you:
- The Scripps Research Institute, UC San Diego, San Diego State University
- Stanford University
- UC Berkeley
- UC Irvine
Other California institutions are setting up their own programs. Check back here for updates on training locations.
Submit stem cell resources
You can submit PowerPoint presentations describing your focused research topic or broad concepts (including information on related fields) for use by high school teachers for CIRM review and hosting. The lessons should suit biology, engineering, chemistry, physics, physiology/anatomy, biotechnology, bioethics, or business/government students in grades 9-12. You can also submit classroom activities, protocols for simple lab experiments, or interdisciplinary/extended projects. Finally, you can submit basic resources you find online or develop on your own.
Download stem cell resources
CIRM has developed a model curriculum on stem cell science. In addition to the four units in this curriculum, CIRM offers introductory lessons on stem cell science.
CIRM also hosts education materials including additional teaching materials, videos and presentations explaining stem cell science. These materials were not developed by CIRM, but are reviewed before hosting.
Start a Stem Cell Education Outreach Program (SCEOP)
You can start an SCEOP at your educational or research institution. These programs train presentors to give CIRM-developed stem cell lessons to high school students. These groups also promote stem cell science in their schools and local communities. You’ll find detailed guidance on setting up a new SCEOP by downloading these guides:
1. Outreach Program Startup Guide: provides step-by-step instructions to setting up a program at your school. This document refers to the following documents and should be viewed first.
2. Recruitment Guide helps you through the process of finding and training presenters
3. Teacher Booking Guide gives tips on finding and communicating with high school teachers in your area.
4. Group organization and roles describes suggested leadership roles of an outreach program.
5. Template availability calendar and spreadsheet are tools to help schedule presentations.
If you are interested in starting a SCEOP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR)
Founded in August 2003, SSSCR is an international association of students that believe stem cell research has the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine. SSSCR members believe they can advance stem cell research through a coordinated, cooperative global effort to promote awareness and support through discourse between scientists and non-scientists.
SSSCR is guided by the following principles:
- Communication is vital to fostering public understanding of emerging medical technologies and will promote better decisions in the field as well as educated participation in such advances.
- People who are qualified to advance medical research in order to alleviate the suffering of individuals with debilitating conditions, along with their families and friends, have an obligation to do so.
- The infrastructure for scientific resources and education to support medical research needs to be enhanced; this infrastructure should focus on attracting human talent as well as on the balanced allocation of public funds.
All Stem Cell Education Outreach Programs coordinate their activities with SSSCR. Typically, SSSCR members plan and promote these programs. To learn more about SSSCR, visit www.ssscr.org. You will also find information on existing chapters, how to join, and how to start an SSSCR chapter at your university or college.
Attend an AAAS Communicating Science Workshop
CIRM requires undergraduate or graduate level presenters to obtain training from local SCEOPs before using CIRM-developed materials in the classroom. If you’re interested in communicating with the public about stem cell science using other forums such as at religious or community centers, you may want to consider additional training. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has developed materials and workshops to provide such training and to foster effective information-sharing between scientists and the public.
Such information-sharing is essential for public understanding of and engagement with science. Further, scientists increasingly are required by funding agencies to communicate about their research beyond the scientific community and directly to the public, including the media and policy makers. But the ability to communicate effectively is an acquired—and not necessarily innate—skill, and traditional scientific training typically does not prepare scientists to be effective communicators. Accordingly, AAAS maintains that scientists should have quality resources to develop their public communication and outreach skills.
Available AAAS workshops
The AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology has developed workshops and a website for scientists and engineers can use to develop their skills in communicating about science with public audiences. “Communicating Science: Tools for Scientists and Engineers” offers researchers in-person workshops and online materials for this purpose.
The AAAS Communicating Science skill-building workshop features instruction and hands-on activities for developing messages, defining audiences, identifying opportunities for engaging the media and the public, and practicing public presentations and media interviews.
The AAAS Communicating Science website (http://www.aaas.org/communicatingscience) provides online resources including web-based seminars and how-to tips.