1. Russanne Low
  2. Senior Scientist
  3. Earth Explorers Team: STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences (SEES)
  4. https://nesec.strategies.org/sees-mosquito-mappers-virtual-internship/
  5. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
  1. Theresa Schwerin
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/theresaschwerin/
  3. Vice President, Education Programs
  4. Earth Explorers Team: STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences (SEES)
  5. https://nesec.strategies.org/sees-mosquito-mappers-virtual-internship/
  6. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
  1. Cassie Soeffing
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassiesoeffing/
  3. Senior Science Educator
  4. Earth Explorers Team: STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences (SEES)
  5. https://nesec.strategies.org/sees-mosquito-mappers-virtual-internship/
  6. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Public Discussion

Continue the discussion of this presentation on the Multiplex. Go to Multiplex

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 9, 2022 | 10:58 p.m.

     In this project, open source data and analysis tools support an in-depth, team-based summer research internship in a virtual setting. Now in its third year, the STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences: Earth System Explorers project has each student collecting environmental data using the GLOBE Observer citizen science mobile app, and exploring team data using open cloud based data analysis platforms.

    We are interested in finding out how you have used citizen science tools as part of classroom and STEM enhancement programs. Do you have solutions to share that ensure that virtual learning settings are compelling and engaging for all students participating? We'd like to network and dialogue with others who are using digital tools to connect students with rigorous virtual science programs!

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Isaris Quinones Perez
  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 10, 2022 | 10:25 a.m.

    Good morning everyone!

    This is an impressive implementation of virtual learning and seems to have had a significant impact on the participants. From your video presentation, I was struck first by the combination of field work (which is very much local and hands on) and the creation and tending of a virtual community. This seems to draw on the best of both worlds – contact with actual, physical land and environments (which can never be fully replaced by digital simulations) but also access to a wider world of citizen scientists and experts (which can’t be as extensive in most in-person settings). I wonder if this has inspired you to start brainstorming ways to further enhance both sides of this experience. For example, you mention that “individuals work independently on related but different projects” and then come together virtually, so I’m curious if you’ve ever tried having pods or teams that actually can be in-person together, collaborate in the field, talk face-to face, and then join up with this larger community. Has that ever happened officially or by chance (two or more students from the same high school signing up together)? But really, I’m just interested in how you imagine improving upon this already successful combination of the physical and virtual.

    Second, I was intrigued by what you said was one of the most popular aspects of the program, the “meet up and do science” sessions. It is so hard to give students the feeling of what it is like to be a “real” or working scientist. School often fail in this regard (mostly due to the constraints of being in a classroom and working within a short timeframe), and so students can’t see what it would be like to be a scientist or engineer – the excitement of discovery, hypothesis development and testing, and the thrill of collaborative work. So, I’d really love to hear more about how you facilitate these sessions so that students really get the experience of doing science.

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 12:31 p.m.

    Hi Amy, thanks for your comments, and it is exciting to hear from you. Like you, I do see huge value in students having face to face contact, either in fieldwork or during analysis, or both. Our hypothesis was that most of the compelling aspects of a face-to-face research internship could be created using cloud based data analysis and conferencing tools. We piloted this in 2020, and based on successes, we offered the experience again in 2021- so we already had a system in place to support high school interns during the pandemic.

    Our experiment here is to see whether we can scale a truly robust and compelling research experience on line. Our motivations are two: one, to ensure that those students who can't or won't travel for health, cultural or economic reasons can find a place where they can obtain the same quality of experience as others do on-site. We are addressing here some of the under-addressed issues associated with access, equity and inclusion- even if face to face internships provide scholarships, some of our students have responsibilities at home, including jobs and taking care of siblings. Our second reason is scale: our internship is able to support 10x the amount of high school interns, and for a longer time, than the residential experiences associated with the same project (see SEES), which are limited by access to funds for travel and lodging for the participants.

    Meet up and Do Science is central to our program- we envision it as replacing the traditional lab bench where informal questions and answers, impromptu discussions and group problem-solving takes place. This is a place where we also get to know each other informally and talk about everything from code issues to careers. Concretely, its students and scientists each working at their desk with Zoom video on, with just in time breakouts offered in conjunction with questions, but after a week or two it begins to feel like much more, like a community of grad students working in a lab. Happy to share more with you, Amy, thanks for visiting our video!

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 10, 2022 | 06:19 p.m.

    Thanks for the presentation.  I have been using Citizen Science activities from Zooinverse for an astronomy course.  Not quite the same feel as what you are doing in collecting data directly - which I think is fantastic.  Within the course students feel the GLOBE at NIGHT is often more meaningful that identifying galaxies as they are physically engaged.

     

    I do like the meet up and do science model.  We are working on providing Purple Air sensors for air quality to six schools in western Kansas.  I can see where this model might be of use during the school year.  How did you go about making the sessions inviting to students and teachers as a means to motivate them to participate?

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 06:53 p.m.

    Hi, I got an error and the last post did not go thru, so I will try again! I think it is great that you incorporate Zooniverse in your astronommy course, there are several great projects that connect students to real science and the opportunities to make real life discoveries!

    I think working with the Purple Air sensor classes in this way could really work. Feedback from our students suggest that the meet up and do science is something they look forward to-  we usually start with a short presentation (10 or so minutes) to kick things off, and then people work on their projects independently- as with many data  projects, there are steps that are time consuming, and it is more fun to do it with others and chat while passing the time, when classifyiing, coding, etc. The science mentors are available to talk about whatever anyone is interested in talking about- from the data and challenges, to careers, to sharing personal meaningful or challenging science experiences. Because we have an "ask me anything" format, students drive the session with their questions and comments. Especially last year, where our students had too much time in online classes, we wanted to make sure "Meet up and doing science" didn't feel like another online class :-) hope that helps!

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 11, 2022 | 03:04 p.m.

    Thanks Rusty.  Very helpful.

  • Icon for: Brian Smith

    Brian Smith

    Facilitator
    Professor/Associate Dean of Research
    May 10, 2022 | 07:15 p.m.

    I remember the difficulties employers had onboarding and training student interns when the pandemic first hit. It's great to see your work helping us move ahead with virtual internships for STEM learners. I was particularly struck by your combination of local work and virtual collaborations.

    I love something you said at the end of the video: "The virtual internship that we have has the potential to democratize access to STEM enhancement opportunities for students." Some of the access seems to come from allowing students to participate anywhere they can get internet access. But I'm sure there's more to this. Can you tell us more about how you designed your work to maximize access and inclusion?

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 08:14 p.m.

    Hi Brian, thanks so much for your comments. Our virtual Earth Explorers Internship is a research team associated with the STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences, a diversity positive initiative led by Margaret Baguio, University of Texas Austin and Texas Space Grant.  Acceptance to the program considers a student's access to STEM experiences in their schools and proactively recruits and accepts students historically excluded in STEM who may not have access to advanced science courses in their schools. You can learn more about the SEES program here: https://stemforall2022.videohall.com/presentati.... Our virtual internship was created in 2020 so that more of the deserving students could be accepted into the SEES summer research internship program, beyond those for which funding for a residential experience was available. We hypothesized that connecting students scientifically to the landscape that they know from day to day life might be particularly engaging for some of our students. 

    Here's my thoughts about the democratization point. We want to use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that the summer science experience is compelling and fulfilling for the interns.  Research indicates that a  big motivator for students who are strongly connected to their cultures and communities lies in the power of place-based science. In this internship, they are grounding their environmental data collection in locations  where they bring their own knowledge and experience. This inherent knowledge gives them a bit of an edge, because they have been interacting with the landscape around their homes, schools, parks and neighborhoods in day to day life. This familiarity also provides inflection points where they can begin to pose questions about the data they collect based on this prior knowledge. And in the case of mosquito observations, one of the data collection options for this cohort, they become aware that their surveillance and larval habitat mitigation activities also reduce the risk of disease in the community where they live. A number of students have mentioned that knowing they were contributing to the health of their community as well as collecting data for analysis was highly motivating and something they could share with their neighbors and friends. And at the same time, they ground their exploration of satellite data  (numbers, from space) to a tangible spot on the ground that they know. I'd love to talk about strategies to engage more students, especially reluctant science students, in STEM enhancement programs. Thanks Brian! 

  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 12, 2022 | 11:29 a.m.

    Rusanne, I love so much of what you've said here and also your elaboration of the "lab bench" model for your Zoom "Meet up and do science" component. I am seeing even more clearly that the online model is not a substitute for in-person learning but really capitalizes on research only made possibly by this hybrid model.

    The fact that students are on-site in their home locations is a powerful aspect of this program. As you put it "this inherent knowledge gives them a bit of an edge" and allows them to "begin to pose questions about the data they collect based on this prior knowledge." So as they come together online - to meet up and do science - they each come as both students (getting used to data collection and analysis) but also as local experts (the only ones familiar with the specificities of their location). 

    I also find this so compelling: "A number of students have mentioned that knowing they were contributing to the health of their community as well as collecting data for analysis was highly motivating and something they could share with their neighbors and friends."

    I'm just seeing how that Andee keyed on on the same passage and asked if the students ever have the chance to take their findings to local authorities to advocate for change. I'd also love to hear a follow-up on that.

    Thanks for this wonderful discussion! Such a nice supplement to your video.

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 12:39 p.m.

    Thanks, Amy. It is rewarding to be able to be part of this and the other discussions at this videoplex!

    We do have a few examples of this action from our students. One intern decided to work with a local water treatment facility and his research was shared with the municipality. For this his summer project grew into a regional science fair winner, for which he won a $scholarship prize. Another student in Texas found an unusual mosquito larva and reached out to the vector control agency and reported his findings, which were very useful to the research being conducted on vector surveillance and control. I think that the kind of sharing and agency interaction would be a logical step for students in classrooms that are conducting this kind of citizen science research, because a small class would be able to cover more sites and provide a representative data sample. Many of our students choose to focus their research on examining larval habitats in the context of satellite data, building data analysis and coding skills- there is a real variety of ways that these data are used by these creative early career researchers.

  • Icon for: Andee Rubin

    Andee Rubin

    Facilitator
    Senior Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 10:22 p.m.

    Thanks for this inspiring video and, especially, for the discussion of democratizing access to science.  I've been supporting students' interactions with data myself for many years, so I'm especially curious about the kinds of data analyses students do in your program.  I assume they are collecting data on the location of mosquitos - or potential mosquito breeding locations - which is then aggregated into a dataset with data from many people.  Do the students then look at that dataset to find patterns in their observations?  Do they communicate their findings to one another - or the county health department.  I especially appreciate your comment from above that " knowing they were contributing to the health of their community as well as collecting data for analysis was highly motivating" for students and wondered if they get the opportunity to use the data to advocate for targeted changes to their local environment.  

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 12:56 p.m.

    Hi Andree, thank you for the kind words. In retrospect, one of the things I like about the structure of this project is that participating interns can choose the direction of research based on existing skills, the acquisition of new skills, and their science comfort level. Some of our students come in with basic skills and are most comfortable with conducting a controlled experiment similar to what they have done in science classrooms,  using mosquitoes as a test organism. Others want to dig into the data, and use or develop digital tools to extract, process and analyse data. All students have the option of completing a Python coding course in conjunction with the research. For some of the more advanced students, students do exactly what you suggest: we see application of a big data approach to their research, whereby they examine the shape of the shared data, and use those observations to develop questions and hypotheses, and test them using algorithms they have built and computer vision-AI tools. The wonderful thing for me, about this project, is that the students who have not yet built strong data literacy skills provide important on-the-ground observations that feed into and support work of coders, and vice-versa. All data is uploaded by the data collection app (GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover tool) and shared with others via the GLOBE database. RE: sharing with local authorities, and for those projects where there is important local information to be shared, that is highly encouraged. This kind of data outcome is less common when you have one student working alone in an area than if you have a classroom monitoring mosquito habitats as a class project- because then you are able to provide a representative data sample that one individual is unlikely to create- but we do have some examples of this. I appreciate this discussion, thank you!

  • Icon for: Andee Rubin

    Andee Rubin

    Facilitator
    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2022 | 04:12 p.m.

    Thank you for your in-depth response.  I like that you are considering multiple entry points for students with different backgrounds and different interests.  If I may, I'd like to stand on my data science educator soapbox for a moment and suggest that there are good ways to analyze and visualize data that don't require either Python or designing algorithms.  I don't know how the GLOBE tools work, but even seeing a map of all of the mosquito observations color-coded by frequency can help student gain the kind of data skills that we all need - and that provide meaning to individual data points.  I hope that students who aren't Python programmers still get the opportunity to make meaning of the data they've helped to collect.

    I've gotten off my soapbox - and want to thank you again for your work and your responses.

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2022 | 04:43 p.m.

    Hi Andee, Absolutely they do! All of the data obtained in the field can be visualized using a built-in automated map interface and a data dashboard, and can be downloaded as .csv files for generation of graphs and charts. We also use ArcGIS online for spatial analysis and visualization. Best "soapbox" there is, thanks so much for your comments!!

  • Icon for: Autumn Burdick

    Autumn Burdick

    Science Writer, Editor and Social Media Specialist, Communications Director for NASA GLOBE Observer
    May 11, 2022 | 09:01 p.m.

    So nice to hear and see the breadth and reach of this project!  Well done!

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 01:24 p.m.

    Thank you Autumn! Nice to see so many of our immediate colleagues here on this platform with compelling and exciting projects to share!

  • Icon for: Ana Prieto

    Ana Prieto

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2022 | 07:33 a.m.

    This is a wonderful project!

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 12:29 p.m.

    Thank you, Ana, you and everyone else in our GLOBE community of practice have contributed to the evolution of this model :-)

  • Icon for: Connie Flanagan

    Connie Flanagan

    Researcher
    May 12, 2022 | 09:59 a.m.

    What a great way to democratize participation in STEM. I love the commitment of the educators willing to put in the extra time that a virtual internship requires. And the link of PBE and local mosquito habitat is such a great way for students to connect a problem they can observe on the ground affecting people in their community with a global problem affecting many communities. Your attention to students from communities that are often ignored is notable. And I love the fact that you introduce students to freely available mobile apps that every citizen should know about.

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2022 | 04:49 p.m.

    Thanks, and I really enjoyed your video and project as well- other comments below! Thanks Connie!

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 01:22 p.m.

    Connie, I appreciate your comments. I think the one thing we have demonstrated is that virtual environments can be successfully used to activate student interest, excitement and impressive achievements in research science for high school students. The other thing we have demonstrated is the importance of significant (nearly full-time) engagement of the scientist mentors throughout the project.  When I began teaching virtually in the early 2000s, it was immediately apparent to me that virtual modalities of learning require significantly more one-on-one engagement than a traditional lecture class, to make up for the lack of face to face contact, and I think that is also the case with this summer science research internship. We want all our participants to have life-changing experiences, and be able to communicate these as well as Dante did for yours in your video  :-)

  • May 12, 2022 | 01:32 p.m.

    Such a neat project! Citizen science is a great way to engage students in inquiry and the GLOBE programs are well established. Have you used any other citizen science projects or have students been inspired to find their own outside of the program? 

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2022 | 04:48 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment! I am wondering if there is a citizen science project that you have worked with has been productive working with students? See also comment below!

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 02:34 p.m.

    Hi, this is a great question Katie. I think the virtual internship structure could support projects using a wide variety of citizen science data. Our internship team is funded by the NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative, which supports education and outreach for the GLOBE Observer citizen science app. For this reason student research projects use  GLOBE Observer citizen science data in conjunction with environmental data obtained by NASA satellites.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kathryn (Katie) Boyd
  • Icon for: John Moore

    John Moore

    Informal Educator
    May 13, 2022 | 02:02 p.m.

    It is great to see the SEES work with these students. One of my interns, Sriram Elango, benefited from working with all of you and his student colleagues. The aspect of having students present and publish their work is so critical and ahead of the curve. The public benefits by catching a glimpse at our nation's future leaders.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Cassie Soeffing
    John Ristvey
  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 15, 2022 | 04:45 p.m.

    Hi John, I didn't know that Sriram was working with you- I know he is serving as a peer leader for you in your project- such a talented student.  I loved your video and all you are doing with the CubeSats. You have always been at the forefront of cool things with students- I hope we see each other again soon in person! :-)

  • Icon for: Marta Kingsland

    Marta Kingsland

    May 17, 2022 | 10:13 a.m.

    Great work. It demonstrates the importance of the role of the scientific citizen in our world.

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 10:27 a.m.

    Thank you Marta, I agree completely. These students are using GLOBE Observer and making a difference in their communities, while also contributing to a global scientific database and also conducting original scientific investigations. Good to see you here at the Videoplex!

  • Icon for: Andrea Tirres

    Andrea Tirres

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 17, 2022 | 03:34 p.m.

    Impressive work, here.  I appreciate the various platforms that you employ to engage students from the mobile app to the community of practice to the blog.  Can you comment on how well received these were among students and which needed more shepherding?   

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 04:21 p.m.

    HI Andrea, that is a great question. We provide a lot of scaffolding for student use of data access and analysis platforms (like Collect Earth, AppEEARS)- and do this in our coworking sessions (Meet up and do science). They seem to not have trouble working using the Canvas LMS, possibly because of on line learning platforms used at their school. Interns also self-organized and created a Discord channel, where a lot of their interaction took place between the interns

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 04:28 p.m.

    I also watched your video with interest, and was particularly impressed with Bianca's testimonial- we also have a cadre of peer mentors (returning from a previous summer), that assist in supporting the interns- great model you have!

  • May 17, 2022 | 05:11 p.m.

    Love this! Was just looking into how Landsat partners quite a bit with citizen scientists. Especially to help preserve biodiversity : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxl1Z34les 

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 06:27 p.m.

    Thanks, Claudia- I had never seen this video before and it is wonderful0 thanks for sharing this with us!

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