Introducing the 2020 Public Interest Technology Community Innovation Fellows
Five teams from across the national joined the initial cohort of fellows.
The Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) network and the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) are pleased to announce the 2020 Public Interest Technology Community Innovation Fellowship (PITCIF) recipients thanks to support from New America’s Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN). PITCIF is an immersive training program for engaging communities in science and technology issues. It is open to staff at eligible science and technology centers or museums interested in working with a government, nonprofit, or university partner. Fellowship teams will work to design, develop, and convene an inclusive, informed, and diverse public forum on a relevant PIT issue.
The open application process in January yielded five teams:
- Ann Arbor, MI: Jade Marks (Museum of Natural History) and Justin Schell (Shapiro Design Lab) are interested in community owned data.
- Los Angeles, CA: Sacha Van Voorhis (Discovery Cube) and Rebecca Ferdman (LA County Chief Sustainability Office) are interested in environmental sustainability.
- San Jose, CA: Anja Scholze (Tech Interactive) and Corinne Okada Takara (Xinampa) are interested in biotechnology.
- Waco, TX: Cindee Millard (Mayborn Museum Complex) and Melissa Mullins (Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research) are interested in water equity and access.
- Worcester, MA: Rachel Quimby (EcoTarium) and Stefanie Covino (City of Worcester) are interested in heat resilience.
Each team will create their own public forums that are grounded in community needs and equity. Each team will initially engage a small group of community members in the planning phase to co-create their forums, and ensure that their approach will benefit the community they are aiming to reach.
After two introductory webinars, fellows convened at the Museum of Science, Boston on March 3-4 for a training workshop. They gained hands-on experience by facilitating the “Wicked High Tides” forum attended by over 150 Boston-area residents, then learned about stakeholder engagement, topic development and forum design. Using this knowledge, they developed a preliminary project outline. In the coming weeks, they will attend topical webinars while developing and reporting on their progress towards convening their forums in summer and fall.
Photos courtesy of Eric Workman, Museum of Science.