June 12, 2019
Letter from Dr. McQuillan
Hello Worlds of Connections community,
It is exciting to reflect on the work of the team since our last newsletter and to anticipate what is coming up.
We have a big team with many partners. The network map of our team was a centerpiece of our SEPA poster for the annual meeting in April. We hope you find yourself on the map – and if you see the need for corrections, please let us know.
Worlds of Connections Primary Investigator
Professor & Chair of Sociology, University of Nebraska
In the News
Take a look at our recent press release featured in Nebraska Today, describing the project and showing youth drawing networks.
As planned, we ran an after-school club this spring in Lincoln in partnership with Dr. Christine Cutucache’s NE STEM 4U. The undergraduate mentors on the team (Grecia Macias, Nestor Hernandez, Luke Novak, Nancy Nguyen, Shayla McNear), our science and pedagogy expert Sara Leroy-Toren, project manager Grace Stallworth, evaluator Amy Spiegel, and co-I Trish Wonch Hill all helped create new activities and troubleshoot challenges. We benefited from meeting almost weekly with Nik Stevenson, the graduate student in charge of NE STEM 4 U in Omaha, and having mentors observe clubs there. We developed and piloted eight network science activities that we are refining over the summer as we develop eight more based upon feedback from the Lincoln and Omaha clubs. As expected, we encountered and overcame challenges. We created connections with and learned from the curious middle-school youth, and we advertised for new mentors to lead the after school clubs in the 2019-2020 school year.
WoC team members participated in the annual SEPA meeting (including creating a stunning and informative poster, co-leading a session on Measuring STEM Mindsets and Science Identities and a session on expanding a successful afterschool program (NE STEM 4U Intervention) to a new location. The team explored ideas with advisory board members La’Risa McLennon and Rebecca Smith. Additionally, our design team member Emily Tran won a national award for the WoC logo – an Addy Award at the American Advertising Federation competition in March. Many thanks to Emily and Colleen Syron, our design team, for creating our stunning poster! You can see more of their work on the Worlds of Connections website.
Trish Wonch Hill is collaborating with LPS K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist James Blake and STEM Education and Outreach Coordinator Tracie Reding on a network survey of all LPS science teachers.
Wendy Smith and her team at the Center for Math and Computer Science Education have recruited five middle school level science teachers for the pilot Network Science Institute July 15-18. The WoC team is planning to have participants work with the informal network science activities that we have developed, provide feedback on the activities, interact with Network Scientists to learn more about network science applications in health, and have time to collaborate with one another on lesson planning that involves network science phenomena.
This summer recent UNL graduate and WoC undergraduate mentor Grecia Mecias and science learning specialist Sara Leroy-Toren will revise the activities from this spring and develop new ones. Grecia attended a NetSciEd conference in Vermont to enhance her knowledge and skills to inform the activities. Grecia also led a network science activity with youth participating in the Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy earlier this month in connection with advisory board member Judi gaiashkibos, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Commission of Indian Affairs. Working with team member Kim Gocchi Carrasco, Grecia will also share a brief network science activity at the “Juneteenth” celebration at the Malone Center on June 15, 2019.
Judy Diamond is leading the annual Science Connector in cooperation with James Blake and the Lincoln Public Schools on August 7, 2019. Similar to prior years, all LPS science teachers will come to campus for their annual professional development time and to visit with UNL scientists who are quickly signing up for tables. New this year, we will begin the day at the Wick Alumni Center, and then end the morning on the 4th floor of Morrill Hall at the new Cherish Nebraska Exhibit.
Thank you all again for your involvement and support! Let us know if you have suggestions that will help us reach our specific aims (provided below).
Worlds of Connections Primary Investigator
Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Specific Aim #1:
Improve understanding of how informal STEM experiences with network science in health research can increase STEM identities, STEM possible selves, and STEM career aspirations among youth from groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines at the center of health science research.
Specific Aim #2:
Create emerging media resources (e.g., augmented reality) to stimulate broad interest in and understanding of the role of network science in biomedical and public health research.
July 15-18 2019 – Network Science Institute
August 2019 – Science Connector Event