Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to talk to kids at #SciFest

(a how-to for unsure professionals)

I posted three questions for students, but I've decided to post three questions for scientists and engineers. I have always happily worked with younger-folk, but I have encountered a lot of professionals who are unsure with their ability to engage and relate to kids and teenagers. Ironically, kids and teenagers are sometimes afraid to approach professionals. Since the US Science and Engineering Festival Expo is only TWO days away, here are: 

THREE questions for scientists to get a conversation going!

Getting answers to important questions.

  1. What is their dream job?
  2. What is their favorite class?
  3. Have they considered college?

These questions appeal to all ages. It has been my experience that all students, even if it's buried under shyness or age, still have a dream job. Sometimes you just have to coax it out of them.

Classes are another common denominator for students, and sometimes the answers to this question can be surprising. The number of times I've heard students list math as their favorite class warms my heart. It seems students just aren't sure what jobs are available to mathematicians.

Lastly, some of these students may be on a path to become the first person in their family to go to college. College is typically necessary to be a scientist and this point should be underscored. Engaging the student, and their parents/guardians about what college was like can provide valuable insight about a worthwhile venture. There are many challenges students face getting to college and first-hand testimony from somebody who understands it's importance can be invaluable.

Celebrate Science!

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