Growing up, I was raised to believe in a young-earth creation story according to a literal interpretation of the Genesis story in the Bible. I didn’t have my first exposure to the concept of evolution until I was a sophomore in high school. Being particularly bad at science, I had to get extra tutoring from my teacher. Once we reached the chapter on evolution, which I was rather excited to learn about, he skipped it. My teacher told me that he had the legal right to teach it, but that parents complain too much so it was easier to avoid it. He explained the basics of evolution to me, but it sounded crazy and scary compared to what I believed and was used to hearing.
Evolution in my life
NCSE Graduate Student Outreach Fellow Laurie Luckritz writes that her goal in science outreach is "to make access to evolution both easier and more comfortable."
My goal in my outreach activities and in my life as a science student is to make access to evolution both easier and more comfortable for people who are wanting to learn about it.
Fast forward to college. I had a very encouraging professor who helped me achieve an A in his biology course. He encouraged me to pursue the sciences even though it was controversial to do so within my circle of friends and family. It wasn’t until I was a junior in college, majoring in anthropology and determined to get to the truth, that I finally understood the beauty of evolution and how it impacts everything around us. The "Aha!" moment I felt when the concept finally clicked is something I’ll never forget. I will always strive to help others have the same experience when I expose them to science through outreach activities.
My goal in my outreach activities and in my life as a science student is to make access to evolution both easier and more comfortable for people who are wanting to learn about it. I have always felt since my "Aha!" moment that it shouldn’t have been so difficult for me to understand evolution or learn about it. Even as a science major, I've found that concepts like evolution can be glossed over or taught in a way that alienates students who question the validity of the concept. Engaging others in an empathetic and friendly way is my hope for the future of evolution in science education and outreach.