Photo: Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregon State University STEM Research Center has helped launch a national website aimed at connecting the general public with science in interactive ways.
The mobile-friendly site is Science Near Me, found at sciencenearme.org, and the premise is simple: Plug in your location, dates and interests and peruse the options that pop up.
“Science Near Me provides the first convenient tool to find all types of science-related engagement activities, both in-person and online, in one place while providing research insights on how people choose to engage in science that will inform future projects aimed at creating more equitable and inclusive science engagement,” said Martin Storksdieck, director of the STEM Research Center. “Science Near Me is doing something long dreamed about in STEM but never before executed to this extent.”
Supported by the National Science Foundation, Science Near Me features a library of thousands of STEM events, projects and programs hosted by organizations across the United States. The goal, Storksdieck said, was creating a one-stop site to make it easier for those interested in becoming involved with science to know at a glance what’s going on around them.
“Science Near Me is a way of pulling together traditionally separate offerings from museums, science festivals, citizen science, science policy forums, after-school programs, maker programs, astronomy clubs and more,” Storksdieck said.
It’s also a means of catalyzing new studies about how diverse audiences engage with science, said Darlene Cavalier, founder of the citizen science platform SciStarter, of which Science Near Me is a subsidiary.
“There is no shortage of opportunities to participate in science across many levels,” Cavalier said. "Science Near Me will help make it easier for people from all backgrounds and interests to connect with the right opportunity and help accelerate research on science engagement and learning in the process. While there are many resources for people to learn about science, we’re creating a place for people from all backgrounds and interests to easily find ways to interact, because when everyone is engaged in science, we all win.”
In addition to the STEM Research Center, core Science Near Me partners include COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the MIT Museum’s Science Festival Alliance, The Connectory and Discover Magazine.
Source: Oregon State University