Outreach & Education
Sharing Our Science
Carnegie has a long history of efforts to advance STEM literacy, through Institution-wide outreach and educational programs, as well as more targeted initiatives in the communities where our campuses are located and regular participation in science fairs and festivals whenever possible.
Advancing science literacy among members of the general public, raising awareness of science's importance to society, and training the next generation of STEM professionals are all crucial to our Institutional mission.
Carnegie Academy for Science Education
Since its founding by Carnegie President Emerita Maxine Singer in 1989, CASE programs have served more than 1,600 students and 1,200 teachers in the nation's capital.
CASE’s First Light Saturday Science School, a free program for DC’s middle school students, gives local students an opportunity to explore STEM skills and careers through direct work with STEM practitioners. The Summer Stars program provides hands-on laboratory research experience to high school and undergraduate students.
To enhance student preparation, CASE also provides multiple professional learning opportunities for teachers, including teaching materials and research-grade lab equipment through the Amgen Biotech Experience.Learn More
Math for America D.C.
The impressive thinkers that should be in front of kids in the classroom have their pick of places to work. MfA D.C. wants them to choose teaching. So they do everything they can to make teaching professionally and financially rewarding, by creating a valuable learning community and offering significant stipends.
MƒA D.C. was launched in 2008 with the goal to ensure excellence in mathematics teaching in D.C. public and public charter secondary schools by recruiting, training and retaining talented mathematics teachers over a five-year period.
In partnership with Carnegie, MƒA D.C. has offered the MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship since 2011. In addition to the Master Teacher Corps, MfA D.C supports a cohort of Teaching Fellows during their first four years of teaching.
Other Outreach Initiatives
The Carnegie Observatories partners with schools in Pasadena and Los Angeles to bring our astronomers to dozens of science nights, stargazing evenings, science festivals, and science fairs each year. Carnegie astronomers participate in a variety of ways, bringing interactive activities, telescopes, and a portable planetarium to get kids excited about the night sky.
Pasadena hosts a number of world-class astronomy departments, institutes, and facilities that together have formed an outreach network called City of Astronomy. In 2016 and 2018, as part of this group, the Carnegie Observatories worked with nine other local institutions to provide city-wide outreach programming and continue to collaborate and plan future events.
We live in a society that, despite its everyday reliance on technological advancements, is highly skeptical about science. Early career scientists working in the Department of Plant Biology recognized the necessity of developing science communication skills that can engage the public about the impacts of plant research on their daily lives—including agriculture, nutrition, and medicine. To hone these skills, the young plant scientists initiated a new outreach program, Science and Society on the Screen, which was designed to engage our wider community with discussions about science-related documentaries. With a goal of opening a dialog about science and building trust, particularly with artists, creators, and members of groups that are historically underrepresented in STEM fields, as well as of correcting common stereotypes about professional scientists, the team launched the series in the summer of 2021.
Since 2016 the Carnegie Observatories have partnered with Mt. Wilson to develop a series of science lessons for students visiting Mt. Wilson Observatory. Students experience the historic facilities and beautiful mountain landscape while learning how the telescopes connect with modern scientific research directly from scientists themselves.
Our lives have been shaped by events and discoveries that were made possible by the often underrecognized work of Black plant scientists. In 2021, Carnegie plant biologists partnered with professors form Historically Black Colleges and Universities to promote the historic contributions of Black plant scientists through a traveling science and art exhibit and accompanying classroom curriculum. At its launch, the project highlighted Edmond Albius, whose discoveries on vanilla pollination changed culinary history, Marie Clark Taylor who revolutionized science education with tireless advocacy for hands-on use of microscopes in classrooms, George Washington Carver, whose promotion of crop rotation restored soil quality across the American South, and Percy Lavon Julian, who isolated a compound in the African Calabar bean that was used in the synthesis of progesterone.
Every year, Carnegie astronomers from the Earth and Planets Laboratory have a table at the Astronomy Festival on the National Mall organized by Hofstra University in association with the Smithsonian Institution. The program provides an opportunity for local families to look through telescopes and engage in various hands-on activities with astronomers and other experts from some of the nation's foremost scientific institutions, organizations, and universities. At Carnegie's booth, attendees can learn about how astronomers use spectra to understand the chemical makeup of stars and other celestial object and build their own handheld spectrograph from household items to study the qualities of different nearby light sources.