I am deeply committed to promoting equity in and accessibility of science. My research and outreach aims are largely synergistic, as the ultimate goal is to improve outcomes and experiences for young people. My public engagement work includes developing and implementing hands-on science activities for children, teens, and young adults, mentoring, lecturing, and policy-related efforts. I have collaborated with a number of organizations and also created a student-run science outreach group during graduate school. Several of my current and previous science engagement efforts are highlighted below.
I have been involved with BraiNY, the Greater NYC Chapter for Society for Neuroscience's outreach group, since I was a graduate student and have served as co-chair for Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities for NYC for the past 4 years. As co-chair, I help coordinate and oversee 20+ events for individuals of all ages with partner organizations and sites throughout the city. Throughout the year, BraiNY also facilitates a variety of science activities for the local community. I have participated in and led several events and activities for the World Science Festival, including their City of Science and Neuroscientist's Apprentice events. I also regularly give talks to student audiences, such as the NYU Science and Technology Entry Program, and serve as a panelist on science-related topics.
As our lives moved online due to the pandemic, I thought about how this might present an opportunity to try to expand the reach of science engagement efforts. In collaboration with BraiNY, my colleague Heidi Meyer and I developed the BraiNY Bunch, a virtual journal club led by high school and early college students. Presenters worked with a scientist mentor to select a paper and craft a presentation over three weeks. The BraiNY Bunch launched in summer of 2020 with tremendous enthusiasm from students and presentations every Friday in August. Presenters and attendees from around the world world (> 10 states/territories across the US and > 6 other countries) have tuned in to BraiNY Bunch presentations. Monthly BraiNY Bunch meetings launched in 2021. I also aimed to leverage online events to help lower the barrier to entry for graduate school by teaming up with Growing up in Science (GUIS) online events and NYU Psychology to organize and moderate a panel on What I wish had known about doing a PhD for aspiring and new PhD students. We recently completed the second annual panel of this nature in summer 2021 with several hundred live attendees at each panel. Recordings and related materials are also available online. I hope to continue to expand the reach of my equity and inclusion efforts in future initiatives.
Science & Policy
My graduate studies at the intersection of law and neuroscience led me to become interested in contributing to scientifically-informed policy. As a member of NYU's Scientist Action and Advocacy Network (ScAAN), I've led small teams of scientists in preparing "knowledge briefs" on scientific evidence related to specific topics for partner organizations, such as Raise the Age NY and The Legal Aid Society. Via BraiNY, I have participated in training for communicating with legislators about the importance of science funding and have used these skills in visits to my local representative's office. In collaboration with Gail Rosenbaum, Emily Haney-Caron, and Erika Fountain, I have contributed to continuing legal education on adolescent brain development for attorneys and judges. We have also developed information sheets and tools to facilitate the application of well-established insights from developmental science in the justice system.
Previous Science Outreach Activities
As a graduate student at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, I conceptualized and co-founded the Tri-Institutional Outreach Committee (TOrC), a student-run science outreach organization that aimed to bring hands-on science experiences and education to the community. We created a volunteer network consisting of over 100 volunteers from the the neighboring Weill Cornell, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Rockefeller University institutions. Our activities included STEM-themed science days for high schoolers, in-classroom Brain Awareness Week activities for elementary school children, participation in the global Students Modeling a Research Topic (SMART) program, and a mentorship program (the Weill Cornell Science Immersion Program) in partnership with the New York Hall of Science's Career Ladder Program.
Science for all
I am constantly trying to find ways to help make science more accessible. Click on the icons below for examples of pieces I have authored, co-authored, or been featured in.