A Big Thank You

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COPUS gives a big, heartfelt thank you to the lovely town of Ixil, our awesome collaborators at Proyecto Itzaes, and all our supporters for making the Science Fair in Ixil, Mexico possible! We’ll be sharing more stories about that and our Yucatán unconference soon….

Support Scientific Empowerment!

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Donate here to help us reach our goal: $10,000 for the Mexico Unconference and Science Fair.

As of January 11th, we’ve raised $5,050. Thanks to all of you who’ve donated so far! Let’s keep it going — it’s not too late to give a gift!

Your donation allows us to connect science educators and activists from around the United States with science super stars and students in the Maya community of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated — and check out our awesome rewards:

  • $50 = after the January unconference, receive a thank you card with a group photo of us all in Mexico.
  • $100 = after Mexico, receive a thank you card and a drawing from one of the students from the science outreach event.
  • $250 = after Mexico, thank you card, and a penpal opportunity with a Proyecto Itzaes budding scientist.
  • $500 = COPUS will give you or your organization/company a shout-out on our website and social media (with links to your site and their logo). Link and logo will stay on our website for one year from posting date.
  • $1000 = Cindy Wilber will give you a personal tour of ‘Hidden Yucatan.’ Airfare not included, but housing (right near beach) and food and a tour guide is!

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Email us if you’d also like to donate school/science materials for the Maya community.

We’ll be posting updates about our fundraising goals each week, so check back here and please share with your friends!

COPUS is a completely not-for-profit, volunteer network of individuals and organizations across the nation focusing on scientific literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and STEM equity/inclusion. Funds are used for fostering community and collaborations in STEM education (such as our unconferences) or providing educational materials to communities in need. Donations are collected through our University of California at Berkeley hub and are 100% tax deductible.

A huge thank you to Tom McFadden of SciencewithTom for creating our beautiful crowdfunding video. And special thanks to Tokiwa Smith of SEMLink, Edward Samaniego of ES Visual Studies, Diego Román, and all other COPUS contributors for the awesome pictures and videos used.

Gearing Up for the 2017 Unconference…

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img_5140Where’s our next unconference? The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico!

This unconference is going to be incredible, and styled a little different from the last one. The new style will allow all attendees to really get to know each other and bond not only over activities and presentations, but through shared experiences and interactions with the local community.

It is a casual, warm, intimate experience for around 25-30 people to share their expertise, best practices, ideas for innovations — and hopefully inspire cross-disciplinary/cultural/regional collaborations. As our mission states, “COPUS is a diverse trans-disciplinary network of individuals and organizations dedicated to public engagement with science. Members represent a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies who work together to articulate a shared vision and accelerate our collective impact.”

This gathering is several things:

  • A celebration of STEM education/outreach and the individuals that work tirelessly to promote it.
  • An opportunity for the COPUS members to share and learn from the local scientists, educators, and community members through an interactive STEM fair event. Our goal is to empower the local community with science and science connections — but to learn from their expertise and gain understanding from their experiences and perspectives too!
  • An opportunity for professional development and networking.
  • An opportunity for us all to share with each other and recharge for the year – bringing home cool new ideas and possible connections/ideas for grants, etc.

We will be in the town of Chicxulub Puerto about 35 km from the north side of Merida and about 45 minutes from the airport. For this unconference, we’re partnering with Proyecto Itzaes to connect in with the local community of teachers, scientists, and families.

Tentative Schedule (subject to change):
Note: through out the unconference, we will be focusing on providing professional development and networking opportunities for all attendees.

  • Friday, Jan 13th: arrivals and evening networking social
    (for those that are here for the full day, we’ll hold a strategic meeting, review our 2016 COPUS events/activities, prepare for Day of Service)
  • Saturday, Jan 14th:
    1) sharing of expertise & member activities from 2016
    2) finding points of overlap (grants and collaborations)
    3) working group formation for 2017
    4) award ceremony & presentations (Paul Shin & Judy Scotchmoor Awards)
  • Sunday, Jan 15th: Day of Service
    interacting with local scientists and teachers, science fair with the Maya community
  • Monday, Jan 16th: Meeting wrap-up, departures
    for those that are here for the full day, we’ll have a “Day of Action” —
    1) data sharing for projects
    2) make headway on working group action items
    3) reporting on Day of Service for website/social media & grants

Remembering Lee Allison

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Regretfully I can’t remember how we actually first met. It seems that he was just always there. Lee had an impressive geology career and was serving as the State Geologist and Director of the Kansas Geological Survey during the critical years of cyclic episodes of creationism that overtook the Kansas science standards. So most certainly our paths crossed at the National Conference on the Teaching of Evolution in 2000 if not before.

But in 2005, Lee Allison walked into my office at UC Berkeley, sat down, and said “Judy, we’ve got to do something about these anti-evolution guys – they are anti science!” That was all it took to trigger the idea and then the actions that gave birth to COPUS. That’s who Lee was. He had an unmatched and undeterred energy and enthusiasm about him. Plus, he had an overwhelming passion for understanding the history of our earth and a deep-lying respect for the science that could provide the answers and stimulate more questions.

It seemed that with every encounter with everyone, Lee sparked creative and expanded thinking. That was as true late in his career as it was at our Berkeley meeting in 2005. So before I knew it, we had secured funding from NSF to bring in some folks for brainstorming a national initiative with three goals:

  1. developing a shared appreciation of science, its contributions to the quality of life, and its underlying role in advances in technology and engineering
  2. informing and engaging the public in and about science, its process and products
  3. making science more accessible to everyone

And we even came up with a name – the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science – COPUS.

Soon there was a COPUS Core of people sharing ideas of concrete steps toward those lofty goals. This resulted in the Year of Science 2009 and the crazy idea of holding an unconference and Lee found the perfect venue – the Biosphere. There in the Arizona desert, the COPUS Core expanded into the COPUS Corps and an annual unconference became the norm… all because of a guy with an impish grin, a huge heart, and an amazing energy.

It was always fun and comfortable being around Lee – whether at a meeting of the minds in DC or sharing a beer at GSA or hanging out with COPUS friends at an unconference. You just wanted to be around him. He will be sorely missed.

By Judy Scotchmoor

2015 Paul Shin Award Winners!

 

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Paul Shin Memorial Award

In the spirit of the energy, passion for science, and generosity of the late Paul Shin, this award was given to wildlife biologists and educators Stephanie Gillin and Whisper Camel-Means from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and to University of Montana STEM Education Program Manager, Jessie Herbert at the Yellowstone Unconference in October, 2015.

As a result of a remarkable collaboration towards spreading the excitement of science, Jessie, Whisper, and Stephanie were honored for their work. These powerful women represent both the University of Montana’s spectrUM Discovery Museum as well as SciNation from the Flat Head Reservation. They worked in conjunction to inspire youth living in rural communities with science. Their efforts culminated into the creation of the Science Learning Tent that was showcased at the 116th Arlee Celebration Powwow, which by all accounts, was a complete success. At this tent, over 300 kids got an up close and personal, hands-on science experience. The festival ran for three days and for each day, the tent highlighted a new aspect of STEM. The parents of these kids were amazed at the quality of what was offered. In addition, they also ran programs for kids through Science Bytes, which creates STEM opportunities for kids at free lunch sites. Jessie, the STEM education program manager for UM spectrUM, coordinates the traveling science pop up show continues to expose kids to science as it makes its way around the state. Their intent is to continually make it new as it travels. Based on the success of the Arlee Powwow, we can only imagine that it will make it’s way back to the reservation for the 2nd Annual Science Tent next year.

Paul Shin’s philosophy embodies these two pillars…

“Imagination is more important than knowledge!”-Einstein

“Knowledge is not power – it’s what you do with knowledge-now that’s power!” -Shin

2015 Judy Scotchmoor Award Winner

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Judy Scotchmoor Award

In honor of Judy Scotchmoor, a powerful, yet subtle leader who has effectively catalyzed change in the scientific community, this new award went to John Esterle, who embodies the COPUS founder’s interest in promoting science and carrying out the COPUS mission through decentralized channels.

John Esterle works as an executive director of the Whitman Institute. He has enthusiastically supported COPUS for years and believes in “dialogue, relationship building, and inclusive leadership”, which also parallels Judy’s leadership style. John has inspired ideas and invested in people across diverse sectors in an effort to create change. He is the ideal winner for this special award. As part of his recognition, John received an original painting of a sea star by Mattias Lanas — the same beautiful painting depicted in the COPUS logo!