I propose that there be a group targeting to promoting community outreach and public engagement in undergraduates. The idea being that if you promote it early enough in professional education that it will be more encouraged.
Sanjoy and I discussed an idea of a group called "for undergraduates, by undergraduates" where there would be such things. My main idea would be that undergraduates beginning to give their senior seminars would have a place to put up a pre-recorded video of their presentation and scientist around the world could give critiques and recommendations to not only make it a better presentation not only for the grade on the seminar, but to increase their presentation skills for future presentations. Of course there could be other things but that is where my mind went first, being an undergraduate.
I like this idea, thank you Haley! I especially liked the part "by undergrads", such outline would also increase and contribute to the leadership skills of undergrads! One question: what strategy would you follow to make this setup more appealing for undergrads to get involved, how would you recruit them?
That is an excellent question. I can spread the idea throughout the university that I attend, but I don't know how SAGANet could target other undergraduates.
I think we don't currently have targeted recruitment of undergrads for the site and I am not sure that we have accurate statistics of who is current in the community. But that can all be remedied! When the group is setup or even before, advertisements could be sent out to all community members and our FB and twitter feeds. You could also try to target other undergrad institutions through SAGANet and BMS's network of scientists and through the NASA Astrobiology Institute. I think it is great if you can also get a group at your university involved - typically with the online format it is best if there is at least a core of really active members so if you can foster this at your university that would be amazing!
Hi Haley! I really like this idea! Its very exciting to see undergrads taking a leadership role on SAGANet!
A question for you - do you think career advice would also be helpful to this group? When contacted by undergrads on the network the questions I get most are about where to find graduate schools in astrobiology. If there is a list of such questions, it might be useful to have "FAQ for undergrads" as resource in the group. You could also think about inviting grads from the network or folks more advanced in their careers to come in and talk to the group about their own experiences. The skies the limit! It all depends on what you think will be useful to you all.
Being an biology undergrad currently, I didn't even hear about the field of Astrobiology till it was mentioned in my microbiology course in a breif comment this senior year. As I just joined SAGANet this month, I am unsure of all of the resources available on this forum to learn about the field, opportunities, and answer career based questions. So more than just a "where can I study Astrobiology?" because that can be just googled easily. I think providing undergrads a place in this community would be a great idea!
I help if you have some questions about the field? I do astrobiology for a living - cheers