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STEM Workshops


The goal of “Science Right Now!” workshops is to connect students with cutting-edge scientists to teach students about ongoing research and to provide them with the sense that science is current and dynamic.


These workshops pair an artist with a scientist to demonstrate the ways that artists and scientists interpret and approach scientific topics differently and express their ideas in different ways. While the collaboration of an Artist and a Scientist offers a useful element, a presenter who is both a scientist and an artist may also present alone. These workshops are hands-on and allow students to express scientific ideas through creative outlets.


Lab scientists introduce Youth-in-Custody to the intellectual, physical, and collaborative environment of academic labs, and demystify lab work through a virtual lab tour. Presenters demonstrate the range of skill levels and educational backgrounds within a lab group, help viewers understand the nature of science investigation, reveal the range of career/life paths that training in a lab might lead to, and reveal that scientists have a variety of interests and backgrounds beyond their lab research. Portal to Science aims to build YIC’s confidence in pursuing science and interacting with scientists and to spark YIC curiosity in STEM fields.


Teacher workshops do not involve youth. They are designed both to enable teachers to utilize new resources through training on new technology or skill sets and to remind teachers that they are an important part of the science community. These can range from a seminar about recent research that informs teachers about new findings and demonstrates ways to bring those findings into a youth-in-care classroom to a workshop helping teachers learn new hands-on skills to use in the classroom such as podcasting, and citizen science data analysis, etc.


Youth-In-Custody students handle natural materials, such as plants, fossils, feathers, and rocks while practicing a variety of observation techniques. After directly handling natural objects, students learn about the role of natural history in ongoing discovery, the role of nature in human life, and/or the role of observation in science. Objects from Nature workshops can be led by a single scientist/community professional or they can be a collaborative effort in which, for example, a plant specialist from a botanical garden is paired with an anthropologist to weave information about ecological adaptations and human use of plants together.