“I was skeptical about the Science Cheerleaders.”

And now a word from a scientist we worked with at the World’s Maker Faire this past weekend. SciCheers Rachel (recent Redskins cheerleader and Navy officer currently earning her nurse anesthetist degree), Amanda (recent St. Louis Rams cheerleader in her fourth year of medical school at Columbia University) and Christine (former LA Rams cheerleader, Ph.D., Geologist, post-doc research scientist) volunteered to help get thousands of people engaged in citizen science activities and they taught people how to extract DNA from strawberries at the BioBus! Read more about them, and the event, here.

The scientists we worked with, like many people, raised their eyebrows at the mere thought of Science Cheerleaders. We’re used to that. We’ve also grown accustomed to the evolution in opinions once people see the SciCheers in action. We thought we’d share one recent testimonial with you:

“I do admit to to being a bit skeptical about former NFL and NBA cheerleaders promoting science, but WOW, they were fantastic. They were wonderful with the crowd, able to discuss my project with ease, and were altogether engaging in a very positive way. It’s brilliant!

Rachel helping Maker Faire guests get involved in citizen science

Rachel, in particular, was very engaging with the adolescent girls [at the Maker Faire], and as they smiled at her I could just see the wheels turning in their heads, “Wow! I can have my sequined-pink-sweat-jacket AND like science!!

That really did happen, by the way. While I was taking a breather, there was a mom watching her teenage daughter (with pink-sequin-sweat-shirt and sequin jeans on) sift through the dirt, and Rachel was keeping her rapt with little facts and encouragement – all while still wearing go-go boots and tights! HA!

Amanda and Christine (in lab coat) teach Maker Faire guests what DNA is and how to extract it from strawberries

Her mother said something to her as they were walking away – the daughter was smiling and mom said, “See? You CAN have your sequins and be good at science, too!”

But I could also see it in the daughter’s face when she was looking at Rachel and listening to her talk about how we know what the environment was like 14,000 years ago, just from this dirt. She was digging in the dirt, she was smiling at Rachel – that girl was enthralled.

Rachel, and all the cheerleaders, are amazing.”

(See pix of the SciCheers at the Maker Faire here.)

Carlyn S. Buckler, Ph.D.
Education and Outreach Associate
Paleontological Research Institution
and its Museum of the Earth
Adj. Asst. Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
State University New York, Oneonta
1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
www.MuseumoftheEarth.org

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