For the past 10 years, there’s only been one place in Atlanta where you can touch a brain, see a science fashion show, watch scientists give improv performances, and more — and that’s at the Atlanta Science Festival.
And during that time, the faculty and students of STEMcomm have become a festival staple.
STEMcomm, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) communication, is a course in Georgia Tech’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program. Established in 2016 by three faculty in the College of Sciences, the course uses science communication to create outreach events for the Atlanta Science Festival — and popular-science content to share on social media and online publications.
“I feel like there is a gulf in the world between people who do science and the general public,” says Jennifer Leavey, a principal academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences, the College’s assistant dean for Faculty Mentoring, and one of the founders of the course. “There is very little crosstalk there.”
The goal of STEMcomm is to bridge that gap and connect with an at-times overlooked audience: adults.
“When it comes to science, I think in general, there’s not a lot of new learning once you get beyond school-age. Teachers do a great job of engaging children with science, but for adults, I mean, there's not a lot there,” Leavey added. “I think there’s a real space for people with science knowledge to help bring that conversation more into the mainstream.”