We are excited to share that a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Project grant application, “Science Public Outreach Program (SciPOP) Ambassador Teams,” has been selected for funding! This project was jointly submitted by faculty and staff from ICTR and its Collaborative Center for Health Equity in partnership with Tom Zinnen, Biotech Center & Extension Outreacher and Science Alliance lead for Science Expeditions.
The SciPOP program builds on existing collaborative efforts of ICTR staff and the UW Science Alliance to promote science outreach in several Madison communities. Science Expeditions co-founders Zinnen and Ana Garić of ICTR worked together with ICTR Senior Editor Laura Hogan to establish a relationship with partners at Mendota Elementary Community School to promote science through interactive learning activities. The new SciPOP team initiative adds a training component at UW to expand the number of individuals performing science outreach.
Sonia Spencer, Mendota School Community Resource Coordinator, comments, “I’m so excited that Mendota’s partnership with the UW Science Alliance will continue through this grant. My colleagues and I are looking forward to more great work ahead to benefit our most junior scholars and their families!”
Spencer, along with ICTR faculty leaders Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, Christine Sorkness, and Stephanie Budge will serve on the SciPOP Advisory Board to identify SciPOP Ambassadors. Potential Ambassadors will be recruited from CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows, ICTR KL2 Scholars, and the UW SMPH Centennial Scholars Program with an emphasis on recruiting individuals from diverse backgrounds who can serve as role models.
Farrar-Edwards notes, “Many researchers at UW express a desire to do outreach but don’t follow through because they lack knowledge and/or confidence about how to begin. SciPOP Ambassador training will provide them with the resources and skills they need to take that important first step. This is a great opportunity for our CCHE Research Fellows.”
To ensure any expenses associated with community outreach activities incurred by the Ambassador teams are covered, the All of Us-Wisconsin precision medicine research program at UW has pledged a matching $2,000 gift to the SciPOP initiative.
Baldwin Program awards are funded by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.