Communication, education, and outreach are key to ensuring that the innovative research taking place daily on Duke’s campus does not remain walled off to the public. Engaging the public can help graduate students become more confident speaking to broader audiences than just their lab group or class, but outreach has functions beyond career training—it’s also imperative to the continued public investment in science. In the current economic and political climate, large funding organizations such as the NIH and NSF face intense budgetary scrutiny and often criticism that stems from a misunderstanding of the function and value of basic research. Luckily, students at Duke are afforded many opportunities to demonstrate the value of their own and their colleague’s research.
Students in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology program are involved in a wide range of educational and outreach activities on Duke’s campus and all over Durham and the surrounding area. Many schools in the area offer opportunities to graduate students to give guest lectures, and Durham’s Museum of Life and Science also gives young Duke scientists the opportunity to engage with the public. While schools, museums, and other institutions often have programs in place for students to join in and talk about their science, some students have taken to other media outlets, such as radio, or received funding from Duke to develop their own curricula.
Here are just a few of the education outreach programs DSCB students are involved with: