Outreach with Natural History Collections
Natural history museums are a great venue for the public and especially the next generation of young scientists to experience the world’s biodiversity. Museum collections are more than just ‘postage stamps’ of the world’s biota, but when properly tapped into, they can unleash a wealth of information about the evolutionary forces and ecological processes that have generated biological diversity. Our lab is a part of the tetrapods division at the Museum of Biological Diversity at The Ohio State University. Although the museum does not have a public interface, we are committed to showcasing our collections and research to the public through special outreach events, like our annual open house.
We recognize that there is an enormous need to improve human diversity in scholarly endeavors, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Factors that contribute to low diversity in STEM are multi-faceted and that is why it is important to fix these problems with a multitude of approaches. We strongly believe that diverse groups are better problem solvers than homogenous groups and are committed to accelerating the process of improving diversity in the STEM fields. For example, we are working on developing outreach efforts at OSU to assist minority students in taking ownership over the scientific process and gain recognition from meaningful peers and faculty mentors. The OSU SACNAS chapter is another great avenue for us to engage in diversity outreach and community building.