What exactly does “Scientific Citizens” even mean?

I was recently asked in a job interview, what would my STEM legacy be? I confess, this question surprised me, as I tend to be a very practical thinker rather than a visionary.

I fumbled an answer, and only hours later did I come up with what I now consider my vision.

I want to support more and more people, adults and children (it’s never too late!), to consider themselves Scientific Citizens. Science becomes an integral part of our self-concept, our identity. We can’t even imagine ourselves without thinking “Scientist.”

But, I don’t measure my success in the number of students I help that go on to become professional engineers or scientists (although, that would be wonderful. See my blog for stats about the dire need for more of these professionals). I’m satisfied if I’ve helped someone find a new or deeper interest in and appreciation for science in their every day lives.

Instead, if one of my trainees says, “I didn’t think I was a science person, but now I want to know more!” that’s my ultimate compliment. If one of my students says, “I didn’t realize this (hands-on experiment/theory/whathaveyou) is just like something else I know,” my day is made.

My vision is that each of us grows in our connectedness to the world around us, and that we find ourselves not only asking “I wonder why?” but also accompanying that curiosity with action to pursue new understanding.

My mission is to help that curiosity married with action get on its merry way, to build a citizenry of engaged thinkers and do-ers for whom science is a way of life.

Are you ready? Let’s go.