Student Outreach

Graduate students in OEB know that active outreach efforts are a vital component of any scientific career. OEB graduate students are committed to science outreach and to making science more accessible to non-scientists. These activities enrich our community, provide mentorship, and improve our own scientific communication skills, research, and grant competitiveness.

OEB Outreach Committee

The OEB Outreach Committee is made up of student representatives that compile outreach opportunities and make them available to grad students, track outreach participation and interest among students, and help match students with outreach opportunities.

Outreach Opportunities - How to Get Involved!

The current list of outreach opportunities and organizations can be found here.

2017 OEB Outreach

The majority of OEB graduate students participate in outreach activities. Of the students that engage in outreach, most participated in events one or more times per month, and many students volunteered for multiple organizations.

Past Events & Student Highlights

More information on the projects listed below can be found here.

OEB Student Hannah Broadley: UMass Insect Zoo

  • As part of the course "Insects and Society” taught by Roy Van Driesche and in collaboration with the UMass Fernald Club, we put on ‘Insect Zoo’ annually. During this event, we showcase live insects collected from the local area and Fernald Club’s live insect collection to undergraduate students. Through this event, the students are given the opportunity to interact with the insects, hold them, and look at them under the microscope to gain first-hand knowledge of the diversity, complexity, and wonder of arthropod biodiversity.

OEB Student Aaron Grade: Springfield Public Schools

  • ‘STEM Outreach Workshops in Springfield Public Schools’ are ad hoc graduate-student-organized yearly visits to one or more Springfield Public Middle Schools to showcase the kinds of research that OEB graduate students undertake, and to emphasize the career opportunities in STEM. The content and format changes yearly based on the volunteer participants, but typically includes interactive activities and a short presentation for science classrooms.

OEB Student Derrick Alcott: Ocean Bites

  • is an online outreach blog created and operated by graduate students studying in the marine sciences. Contributing authors summarize interesting new publications in marine science for a general public audience each month. Check it out for fun articles about marine science, or go to for more information on how to apply to become a new contributing author.

OEB Students Matt Boyer & Alison Fowler: Insects in the Hallway

  • The UMass Fernald Entomology Club brings ‘Insects in the Hallway’ to local schools and retirement communities. The goal of Insects in the Hallway is to get the public excited about insects. The program features live insects, highlights from the insect natural history collection, a slideshow presentation and interactions with graduate students working in insect science.

OEB Student Amy Strauss: Sound Bites Café at Amherst Middle School

  • Want to inspire the next generation of scientists with the cool research you do? Present for a Sound Bites Cafe at the Amherst Regional Middle School! Volunteers present about their research and their experience as a scientist for 15 minutes to 7th and 8th graders during two student lunch periods at 11:00am and 11:30am. I had a lot of fun talking science with the students – they had a ton of creative, thoughtful questions.

OEB Student Grace Pold: Science Fair Judging

  • Judging science fairs is a great way to share your enthusiasm for the way the world works one on one with bright budding young scientists who have designed and executed an experiment. Depending on the fair type (school, regional, or state) and age of student, your role may shift from primarily encouraging students to keep at it to challenging cocksure students to uncover flaws in their design or interpretation.

OEB Student Dina Navon: OEB Science Café

  • OEB Science Café is an outreach program designed to make the world of science more accessible to the wider Amherst community.  We put on a series of events each semester with a local scientist (or, occasionally, a panel of scientists) being interviewed by one of our organizing members in front of a live audience.  We often talk about how the researcher(s) got involved in science, what their topic of interest is, and why it’s important to study that topic.  We encourage public participation and engagement by inviting our audience members to ask the speaker questions several times throughout each café.  All our events are free, and we provide food and drinks for our attendees.  Cafés are hosted on the second Thursday of each month at the Nacul Center in Amherst. 

OEB Student Lian Guo: That’s Life [Science]

  • That’s Life [Science] is a life science blog created by University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate students and written for the general public. There are three main purposes of our organization. First is to create and foster a community of life science graduate students from different programs/departments by collaborating on a project of common interest. Through inter-program peer-editing, committees, and group meetings, students have many avenues to interact with one another on a frequent basis. Second is to provide opportunities for graduate students to practice science communication in a collaborative atmosphere. All contributors will write and edit blog posts geared toward a general adult audience (high school age and up), allowing us to practice effectively communicating with non-scientists. Third is to introduce a broad range of scientific concepts to the general public through a popular medium: the internet. We believe everyone should have access to science and we want to provide a bridge between academia and the general public. We hope to couple our online work with reaching out to science teachers and help them educate their students in a new way using our blog as a teaching tool.

OEB Student Laura Hancock: STEM Ambassadors Program

  • The UMass STEM Ambassadors program allows graduate students to mentor and teach UMass undergraduates about science, research, and discussion skills. For freshman mentoring, two graduate students team up and lead a “research group” of about 6 undergraduate students throughout the school year. The graduate mentors help undergraduates to research and design a science-themed activity or game. The freshman can then use this activity to help excite local middle schoolers about scientific ideas and research! Research groups can focus on whatever specific topic they would like, ranging from climate change to GMOs. Graduate students can also work with sophomore undergraduates as research assistants, providing valuable research mentorship on an independent research projects project. I’ve been involved with both the freshman and sophomore mentoring and couldn’t have had a better experience working with everyone!