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Present Your PhD Summer BLAST

Present Your PhD Summer BLAST is a winner of a 2020 Cross-Pollination Grant

What is "Present Your PhD Summer BLAST" and how will it fill important gaps in opportunities and services being provided within STEM?

Similar to The STEM Squad, Present Your PhD serves the people in our community through inclusive support to encourage people as they pursue careers in STEM at any level: K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and early career. The Summer BLAST workshop combines the K-12 and graduate communities to achieve the following goals:

  1. Engage and empower students through STEM, the scientific method, and diversity in STEM.
  2. Offer accessible STEM experiences to underserved communities.
  3. Improve graduate leadership and ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, as well as mentor burgeoning scientific ideas in young learners.
  4. Promote collaboration between STEM and non-STEM majors, as well as public officials, community leaders, and education experts.
  5. Demonstrate a clear need in the community for sustainable support of projects like this workshop.

This event pioneers an opportunity to learn about and combat summer learning loss in our local districts, especially in underserved communities. This will fill important gaps in opportunities and services being provided within STEM by improving retention in STEM and preventing “fallout” from STEM-interested students.

Present Your PhD action photos

How have the members of the community that will be served by "Present Your PhD Summer BLAST" been involved in building this proposal?

Present Your PhD is the premiere science outreach organization in the greater Waco area and keeps their community at the center of all their efforts. They have served and supported over 3,000 students in their two years of operation and have connections with leaders that are passionate about K-12 STEM education and success. They have consistently met their goals to encourage student engagement and early-career science communication, build community networks, link research to curriculum and learning standards, and empower graduate leadership. Until now, Present Your PhD has only been able to combat the loss of interest in STEM and un-teach STEM stereotypes during the traditional school year. Their resources have not allowed them to provide support to learners during one of the most crucial times of the year for students – the summer. Studies demonstrate that intermediate educational experiences can combat summer learning loss. 

What progress has already been made?

To ensure success with the summer BLAST workshop, the project has been broken down into four manageable phases that build upon one another. Phase 1: Planning and Marketing, Phase 2: The Event - Graduate student leaders (Present Your PhD members) give rapid pitches to students to try to “win” them to their research team. Once assigned to a research group, the grad student leader gives more background on their work / helps students understand the premise. Students then create a creative way to present on this research, what research question they’d like to answer and how they’d approach that problem. Later, they give presentations to their peers, family, and potential other judges.  Judges will be comprised of Baylor University, McLennan Community College, and Mayborn Museum researchers, graduate students, and staff, and elected officials. Phase 3: Longevity study. Phase 4: Dissemination of ideas, in addition to writing for academic journals, they will use their findings as a foundation for a meeting with elected officials to discuss the importance of access to scientific research, innovation and public health in their community.

Present Your PhD members

Where can we find more about your community efforts online?

You can find Present Your PhD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the username, @presentyourphd, and by visiting their website: http://blogs.baylor.edu/presentyourphd/