Reiman Gardens' Portal to the Public (Science Communication Fellowship)

Are you a scientist looking to share your research with the public? Join us! Become a Reiman Gardens Science Communication Fellow and develop a fun hands-on activity focused on your research.

Who are Fellows?

Science Communication Fellows are scientists, engineers, graduate students, researchers, university faculty and other science-based professionals who have been certified through Portal to the Public as current science ambassadors and excellent communicators.

What is Involved?

Participate in the Science Communication Course:

  • Attend ALL Professional Development Workshops. (Reiman Gardens offers 2 fellowships per year, with specifically designed workshops usually held onc a month for 2-3 months.)

ALL fellows are required to appear at a Kickoff Event:

  • This event is often presented in conjunction with a large public event at Reiman Gardens, though it may be a special showcase event held on its own. Examplse include Day of Insects, Opening Weekend, Spirits in the Gardens, etc.

ALL fellows are required to appear at (2) other public events within one year.

  • Examples: Butterfly Blizzard, Orchid Fest, After Hours, etc.

What are the Benefits?

Free Professional Development

  • Learn from Informal Science Educators how to effectively communicate your work to diverse audiences.
  • Enhance your science communication skills in a dynamic, engaging, and participatory workshop setting.
  • Work individually to develop a hands-on activity related to your current work. Ample concept development and materials support are provided by Reiman Gardens. (Individual meetings are scheduled as needed.)

Free Programs for the Public

  • Present your hands-on activity to the general public audiences through various programs at Reiman Gardens.
  • Take your activity "on the road" to schools, conferences, and other educational or professional settings.
  • Demonstrate the broader impacts of your work through multigenerational STEM education and outreach.
  • Receive professional documentation suitable for sharing with supervisors and for grant reporting.

How can I participate?

Contact Education Manager and Portal to the Public Co-Director Sara Merritt at smerritt@iastate.edu for more information.

Advice for Partnering: 

Feel free to contact Sara Merritt (smerritt@iastate.edu) for more information on how to partner or participate.

Fellowships are typically offered twice per year- the first starts in January with monthly professional development and one-on-one mentorship, followed by a public showcase event in the spring, culminating with at least 2 more public events in the calendar year. The second fellowship may be offered in the fall, with professional development running a shorter, more intensive course, depending on scheduling and other Reiman Gardens' programming.

For each program, much of the work occurs during the first few months, when fellows are asked to create a hands-on activity to present their work to the public. This requires work outside of the scheduled professional development workshops, but Reiman Gardens provides activity guidane, moderate material and financial support, and individual mentorship to every fellow.

Fellows must attend each of the workshops scheduled, and participate in the showcase event as well as two others to be accepted into the program, but our goals for partnership extend beyond to include future projects and collaborations as well.

Opportunities for Partnering: 

We have worked with former fellows to teach programs, present lectures, conduct research at Reiman Gardens, and to create supplemental activities for specific audiences. Fellows can become faculy of the programs as well, assisting with professional development and future program design.

Contacts: 
Name: 
Sara Merritt
Phone: 
515-294-1318