The Biology Department engages with the world in many ways
Outreach in Biology has many faces, from Maasai herders in Kenya to high school and community college students here in Durham, from fellow academics in learned societies to costumed attendees at DragonCon. Biology faculty lecture on the genetics of Harry Potter and Star Trek at fan conventions, and advise FEMMES, a student organization that does science after school with 4th to 6th-grade girls. Biology graduate students develop hands-on activities based on their research to K12 classrooms, take under-represented minority high schoolers on backpacking trips to explore science in the outdoors, and mentor high-school students interested in biology. Faculty who do research abroad employ locals whose pay boosts their economy and whose participation stimulates interest in science. Faculty also serve in national and international professional organizations that promote scientific education and communication, and advise government bodies on important policy issues.
How can I arrange an outreach activity ar my school, business or event?
Please contact Marie Claire Chelini if you would like to organize an outreach event with us. After determining what sort of event would be better suited for your needs, Marie Claire will act as a liason betwen you and the department, contacting interested graduate students, postdocs and faculty, and helping both you and our volunteers organize a successful event. Our beautiful greenhouses also offer educational tours to groups of students. To organize a greenhouse tour, contact the greenhouse manager, Michael Barnes.
Along with its research and teaching missions, the Biology Department at Duke University prioritizes sharing biology with the public at large. Our engagement takes a variety of forms:
K-12 school outreach
Faculty host grade school students as researchers in their laboratories
Graduate students and Biomajors present in on-campus outreach activities for grade schoolers (e.g., FEMMES)
- Graduate students and postdocs give presentations or workshops at local grade schools (e.g. Darwin Day Roadshow)
- Graduate students and postdocs work with grade school teachers to develop science-related activities (e.g. SciREN)
- Faculty serve as judges for local science fairs
- Faculty write books (or book sections) intended to be used in K-12 classes (e.g., Dr. Steve Nowicki's high school Biology textbook)
- Teaching staff work with companies to develop educational materials to be implemented at schools (e.g., Carolina Biological Supply Natural Selection with Drosophila kit)
- Faculty give advertised public-forum live presentations, such as Science Café and Periodic Tables.
- Research staff lead walks and talks to students and/ or the public in and around Duke Forest, the Duke Herbarium, the Eno River, and the Highlands Nature Center
- Faculty discuss their or others' research in the mass media (e.g. Dr. Emily Bernhart talks about ghost forests on Science Friday)
- Faculty testify before Congressional committees on issues related to their specialty
- Faculty participate in Forest Service workshops associated with broad issues such as climate change
- Faculty advise national academies and federal funding agencies about scientific priorities