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My SPS outreach experience - Aug 29, 2008 at 3:40PM
Mary Williams
2 Posts

My name is Lisa Williams and I am serving as the Outreach/SOCK Assistant Editor for The Nucleus.org. The Nucleus is currently looking to build a database of outreach programs that are available to educators around the country. As assistant editor I am working to build a database where teachers and homeschoolers alike can go to find out if there is a local outreach program in their area. The other part of what I do for the nucleus is going to be an outreach discussion forum. As soon as the forum becomes active I would like to hear your outreach stories and if you have questions on getting funding, supplies for experiments, novel, inexpensive ways to turn toys into experiments, what kinds of things work better for you and things such as these. The ideas will help your outreach and it is an easy way to help others with similar interests. If your school does not have an outreach program and you are interested in starting one this forum will be great for you.  I will answer questions if I know the answer, if I can't, we will figure it out together. Send me your contact info and questions and I will get back to you as time permits.

Here is my outreach story:

I attended the University of North Alabama and served as vice-president of our SPS chapter. The chapter was somewhat active with outreach in the past and from that activity I wrote a proposal for funding that went before the student funding committee, established the budget for the outreach program, won the funding, organized the experiments and then worked to get students active in the program to make our outreach a success.  Our university also has ongoing planetarium shows and has activities for astronomy day for local school, homeschool, church groups and individuals. Those types of educational programs and activities would also be useful in the database.  I was fortunate in that UNA had won the Marsh White award previously, so I had documented experiments and some written accounts from the students detailing what was successful and some idea of how to go about doing the outreach with assistance from a great faculty sponsor, Dr. D. Brian Thompson. Another helpful insight came from attending the April meeting of the APS in St. Louis. There I was granted the opportunity to both watch and assist with future physicists' day. I got to see different presentations of the same experiments I had lined up for my outreach with different age group and some other neat experiments.

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