Every participating scientist fills out a profile describing their research and supplying a bit of personal background and an interesting piece of media related to their work. Examples of media used include a video tour of a cell culture room and a movie of neurons firing in the brain of a running mouse. This profile is posted right here on the SciChats website. The students view the profile to prepare for the chat. The profile thus serves as a teaser to get the students interested. Past participants have taken the challenge to be creative and engaging in their profiles, and we hope you will do the same!
Because the profile will be in posted on the website, it will be easy to embed photos, movies, or hyperlinks into the profile. We encourage you to do this. The best way to use the profile is to prime the students for what you will be discussing with them in the chat session. For instance, one participant used Education Outreach’s GoPro camera to record a short video of herself preparing cells and the microscope for a live imaging session, then spoke to the students about live imaging in her chat. If you would like assistance shooting or editing a video for this purpose, contact us at email@example.com. If you do include any additional media, please include a short description of what the students are looking at.
Here’s a rundown of the questions we would like you to answer in your profile:
Picture of you We ask for a picture so that the students can put a name to a face. A professional headshot, your Salk Directory picture, a photo of you working in the lab or a fun one that shows your personality would all be great options. It’s up to you. We just ask that you be conscious of your audience – students may range in age from 5-18 years old. That means that if there happens to be anything not PG-rated at your workspace, please keep those things out of your picture.
What do you study? (3-4 sentences)
Why is it important? (3-4 sentences)
What piqued your interest in science? (1-2 sentences)
What do you like about being a scientist? (3-4 sentences)
What are 5 general vocabulary terms someone should know going into your field of science? (examples: nervous system, protein, gene, catalyst, microscopy, synapse etc.)
What are 5 specific vocabulary terms someone should know about your research? (examples: oncogene, inflammasome, pluripotency, signaling cascade, transgenic mice)
OPTIONAL: “Teaser”: any media you want to include (please provide a link for videos)– movie, image, video of scientist doing something in the lab
Try to remember your audience here, and limit jargon. In our experience, it is best to step back a bit from the specifics of your research and speak more generally about the questions that your laboratory or your field are focused on. This is fine! None of the students or teachers will think that you are “taking credit” for the work of an entire field by taking a broader view.