- Data Science & Software Development
- E-Learning & Instructional Design
- K-12 Education
- Patent Law
- Research Administration
- Science and Medical Writing
- Science Outreach
- Science Policy
- Technology Commercialization
- University Administration
What it is
Science outreach is all about creating programs that make science accessible, authentic, and engaging to non-scientific audiences. Science is everywhere, so science outreach is everywhere too, in many formats, carried out by many organizations. Often framed as “science education,” science outreach happens in science centers, museums, youth camps, and many other program-based settings. While outreach curricula commonly align with state or national educational standards, science outreach tends to be more informal than formal.
Much science outreach is done by nonprofits, but an increasing variety of government agencies and for-profit organizations are doing science outreach as well. Even academic research institutes sometimes have an outreach arm. A STEM PhD can begin in any of these settings. AAAS has a Mass Media Fellowship that would also be a great starting point.
You can change sectors or organizations fairly easily once you have started your career and gained a little experience, ultimately moving up to the Director level in outreach organizations. You can also become a freelancer, developing science outreach programs and offerings for various clients.
All STEM disciplines can do science outreach because the need for greater public understanding is immense in all areas of science.
Personality & outlook
A friendly, upbeat, outgoing personality is extremely helpful here, as are teaching skills and creativity. Also important are a strong desire to share the wonders of science, and an enjoyment of informal settings. Generalists have a significant advantage too. If you love science itself more than your specific sub-discipline, and if you enjoy talking science with lay people, this might be a good career for you.
Seek out opportunities to raise public awareness of science. Blog. Participate in science education programs on and off campus. Learn about the major local and national science outreach organizations and scour their websites to learn the details of what they do. Identify science outreach professionals and conduct informational interviews with them.