By Curt Collier
A major challenge to preparing the next generation for climate change and diversifying the workforce is that in many areas, youth come from under-resourced schools and are often woefully unprepared for the rigors of college-level science.
Research shows that “informal science education” opportunities—science-based programs outside traditional classrooms—are especially effective with young adults. When youth speak to other youth about science, they stay engaged longer, are more interactive with the subject matter, and young women often shine as peer educators.
Teaching science cabaret-style
The purpose of the “Great NJ Science Show,” which our Society will debut shortly, is to recruit and train youth in sketch comedy. Using a monthly cabaret-style show, they will present science to their peers using formats that are less intimidating and more engaging than other formats.
By making the topics of science more relatable to their lives, and by presenting information using light-hearted comedy routines, we can help ensure youth are more receptive to the issues of their ever-changing world and the science behind it. Luckily, others agree. The Society has been fortunate to receive two grants to advance this program. Blue Foundry Charitable Foundation has provided $4,500 to launch it, and the Puffin Foundation has offered another $2,500. With these funds, the Society will be able to recruit young adults, pay them for their time, and have money for five public events.
Curt Collier is leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.