Citizen Science provides students with opportunities to develop personal science literacy through hands-on, real-world coursework and projects.
Students attending the Citizen Science program can participate in projects throughout the January term that promote such critical civic skills as active listening, collaboration, leadership, creative problem solving, ethical decision making, and information literacy. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Engagement, in which students volunteer at dozens of sites across the Hudson Valley, is a mainstay of the Citizen Science engagement program.
Citizen Science students volunteer at the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary during the MLK Day of Engagement. Photo by Vikramaditya Joshi.
Citizen Science Engagement by the Numbers
Through two weeks of intensive study during January intersession, students develop a core understanding of both the conduct and the content of science. This foundation allows them as citizens to grapple with the ever-increasing number of national and global issues influenced by science. We ask: What does it mean to be scientifically literate? What is the role of citizens when it comes to weighing in on important scientific issues? How can citizens find the scientific information they need in order to respond to the scientific issues of their day?
Citizen Science Engagement Fellows
The Citizen Science Engagement Fellows program is a collaborative academic–student affairs initiative focused on identifying and organizing a civic engagement cocurricular experience for first-years during their January term. Instrumental in designing opportunities to explore concepts of community service, civic engagement, and science education, Engagement Fellows can explore their own ideas about engagement in the community.
Inspired by stories from places like Flint, Michigan, and Hoosick Falls, New York, Citizen Science tackles urgent, present-day questions related to water. Students explore the properties of water, as well as how these properties influence the contamination (and decontamination) of drinking water. They also consider the extent to which problems of contamination are not purely scientific in nature: Where and how does politics enter the picture? In what ways are social, historical, and political factors at work even when we think we’re engaged in “objective” science?
Four Paths to Engaged Science
The program consists of a common core of coursework and one of four lab strands, described below. Students are assigned to a strand during the fall semester based on interest.
Science Communication Strand
Making a Difference
MLK Day of Engagement
The annual MLK Day of Engagement is a mainstay of the Citizen Science Program.