Briante Najev, a 2019 National Center for Science Education Graduate Student Outreach Fellow supported by the Roy J. Carver Foundation, has been awarded a British Ecological Society (BES) Outreach Fund grant. The BES funds outreach initiatives worldwide that promote equitable access to science education. Najev will use this award to share the NCSE activity EcoStax with populations across rural Eastern Iowa, particularly Muscatine and Davenport. In this activity, people of all science backgrounds build an ecosystem, then try to keep it stable under the duress of climate change, helping to make climate issues local and personal.
Najev’s passion for climate education stems from her own Ph.D. work at the University of Iowa, where she studies snail ecology with Maurine Neiman, professor of biology. “I am honored to receive this grant to do meaningful work,” says Najev, “and I hope to engage with communities of Iowa through informal teaching.” Through the NCSE Fellowship, she is able to hone her science outreach skills while also developing acumen in informal science research. As part of the grant, she will conduct research on how different opening activity speeches lead to different total times of engagement. As a result, Najev’s work through the BES Outreach Fund will not only increase science affinity in Eastern Iowa but also inform best practices for outreach practitioners across the world.