All scientists have the duty to share their passion with those outside the scientific community to help others (1) experience the natural wonders of the world, (2) appreciate the scientific method, and (3) increase in scientific literacy. Here are some ways I seek to communicate science with others.
The CSO (Chief Science Officers) Program is an international organization whose "officers" are students in grades 6-12 who collaborate with one another to discuss STEM research, culture, and careers. "Zoom In On Science" are ~45 minute video meetings where scientists can share their lives and research and answer student questions. I have been the guest scientist for two CSO "Zoom In On Science" seminars in 2020 (Sonora [Mexico] & Kenya), during which I discussed what it means to be an evolutionary herpetologist and museum professional.
College Quest is a college prep program hosted by Auburn University in partnership with the AL Blind and Low-Vision Services for visually impaired high school students. On STEM Day in July 2019, I led the student members of the program on an interactive tour of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History's Live Animal Room, where each student was able to interact via touch with different species of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and salamanders while I taught them about natural history and evolution.
During 2018 & 2019 I volunteered as a graduate instructor during the UTEP Maymester Field Biology course at the Indio Mountains Research Station in Trans-Pecos Texas. This is a week-long course led by Drs. Jerry Johnson and Vicente Mata Silva where undergraduates interact personally with the plants and animals of the Chihuahuan Desert, and is a first-time field experience for many of them. In this personal setting I taught students components of herpetology and ornithology, and I mentored many of them regarding scientific research and career options in STEM.
In fall 2019, Patience Ray created this minidoc of me romping around in the woods catching salamanders while talking about why I love herpetology. Patience is a communications specialist in Auburn University's Office of Sustainability and a talented videographer
In 2017 I instructed scouts of the Chatahootchee Council for the Reptile and Amphibian Merit Badge. This included of 4 hrs of in-class time where the scouts learned about phylogenetics and museum curation and were able to interact with many different live amphibian and reptile species as they completed their merit badge packet, and an additional 4 hours of field experience where I led the scouts on a "herping" tour through Tuskegee National Forest as we observed salamanders, lizards, frogs, and snakes in their natural environments.