The truth is ScienceOnline is one of the most inclusive science communities I have ever encountered. I think it's because the people who attend this unconference - where everyone fully participates - are science communicators in every sense of the word. Whether they tweet or blog or write for mainstream media or author popular science books or textbooks or present formal talks to other scientists/engineers or crack jokes at a bar or stand on a soapbox or teach K-12, undergrad or grad students or work in a museum or moonlight as after-school tutors, every #scio12 attendee has one thing in common: we enthusiastically share science with a world of people who are too often under-exposed to it.
I moderated a panel Broadening the Participation of Underrepresented Populations in Online Science Communication & Communities and Minority Postdoc was co-piloting the panel. Not only did he quickly post an aggregate of links, the notes, and summary of suggested Action Items at ScienceOnline2012; he's actually the reason why the discussion was treated to the sage words of Dr. Cynthia Coleman. She definitely was the highlight of the session, as I share in my summary of the discussion, #scio12: The Big Takeaway from the Broadening Participation Panel. North Carolina A&T University Aggie Research Blog wrote up a very nice summary of the session in Broadening participation in the STEM disciplines: Insights from a diverse group at Science Online.
Dr. Coleman shared her own thoughts and feelings as a first time ScienceOnline attendee at The Science Conversation Bu bble at Musings on Native Science. She mesmerized everyone, but more than anything her presence, her voice really awakened in everyone that there ways of knowing and understanding and sharing and relating to science beyond the 'traditional' academic or western tradition. She introduced many of us to the fact that American Indian Ways-of-Knowing are Broader than Science at Minority Postdoc.org and offers recommendations to question: Can We Engage Indians in Science? at her blog.
Madhu Katti of Reconciliation Ecology lead a new panel, Science Writing in & for Developing Nations. It was a discussion of the whys and hows of writing, blogging, texting, and tweeting in developing nations. One of the most important points from this discussion was to be aware of what science outreach and online science communication colleagues in developing nations may already be doing. Plus, it serves as a good way to get an idea of what the technology capabilities and challengers are in different nations. Tim Skellet recorded video of the panel.
This year, we were all treated to something new and dynamic: a hands-on lesson in sketchnoting Science Storyteller and Illustrator, Perrin Ireland. Science Scribe 2.0 at taught a room of doodlers how to become artists-on-the-fly and take our science communication to new depths. I gave it a try, but wasn't nearly as impressive as Katie PhD, I sketched #scio12. Her graphic summary of the Blogging Science While Female was right on.
And speaking of Blogging Science While Female...
There were a few sessions that tackled science and science communicating from the female perspective. First there was the session proper, moderated by Christie Wilcox and Janet Stemwedel. I didn't get a chance to attend this session, but Blogging Science While Female – the Storify at Science Sushi has all of the details of the discussion, prior, during, and post. Kate Clancy of Context & Variation explains that being the voice for others can give you the blues and why the community/network function of blogging is so very important to women in Blogging While Female, and Why We Need a Posse. I couldn't agree more.
Next there was session on Sex, Gender and Controversy that had everyone giggling and thinking -- which is exactly what the moderators Scicurious and Kate Clancy had in mind. Risky topics are a perfect way to attract and engage people into deeper science (education) conversations. Marissa Fessenden serves up one awesome Storify summary in Duck sex: blogging risky topics. Plus Scicurious and Kate hand in some awesome summary blog posts as well.
Then, there was a session on Writing for Women's & Men's Magazines . It seems these magazines are an ideal outlet for science outreach (and earning pretty nice freelance money) because they boast large, loyal readerships. The Mother Geek at Science 3.0 gives very good Notes on the #Scio12 women’s magazine session presented by Maryn McKenna and Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn.
Zuska really came through and bared her entire soul - her complex fight-for-what's-right soul and kicked some inner demons in the rear end. At Thus Spake Zuska, she gives two summaries of her internal battles. At Things I Found Ponderable: #scio12 Report the First she tackles her sexist inner demon, named Sexist Z-Brain; and Things I Found Ponderable: #scio12 Report the Second she comes to face-to-face with the blind-spot of privilege.
It is such a lovely privilege not to have to think about being white. (Or straight. Or completely able. Or of the dominant religion or ethnicity. Or upper class.) I try to remind myself about this periodically but I forget it over and over again.
In Musings on #Diversity at #Scio12, Guest Post by Daniela Hernandez, Daniela shares personal reflections from a few of the above-mentioned sessions, noting how "the conversation about diversity’s role in science and science communication spilled beyond the 60-minute discussion. It permeated the entire unconference." It was true and she really articulates how many people really felt.
Diversity means having an open mind and understanding that other people may have a different–but just as valid–worldview.
And no one embodied Daniela's words more than Kevin Zelnio at Deep Sea News. I've got to call what it is, He brings it home, big time!! In #IamScience: Embracing Personal Experience on Our Rise Through Science, Kevin created a hashtag, a meme, and movement inspiring scientists across the Twitterverse to share their personal stories of overcoming whatever obstacles to stake claim to science, demonstrating the importance of inclusiveness in the science (and academic) experience.
The next edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival will be our third anniversary of the carnival and celebration of Black History Month hosted at PhD for Life. Throughout the month of February, write your post, host a guest post of students/colleagues about an African-American Innovator, Educator, and Mentor in any of the STEM fields. This carnival is open to all: science bloggers, education bloggers, history/political science bloggers, and personal blogs. This carnival is one of many ways to celebrate science and the people who do science. Submission deadline is February 25th. And to help us spread the word, simply snag the Diversity in Science badge and include it in your post as well.