...to unite the citizen’s desire to be heard and valued, the scientist’s growing interest in the public’s involvement, and government’s need to garner public support. The Science Cheerleader serves to get the conversation going, rally the troops, solicit views from all sides and change the tone of science and science policy in this country.The site's name plays on her former role as a cheerleader for the Philadelphia 76ers and her advocacy for scientists and science generally. She's working to break down stereotypes of all kinds - things like "science is for nerds" or "pretty girls are stupid."
I met Darlene at ScienceOnline 2010 where she launched Science For Citizens, a website designed to connect researchers with non-researchers to collaborate on engaging and important scientific projects. Science For Citizens was accepted the Good Company Ventures business incubator program just a few months ago, and I'm confident you'll be hearing a lot more about this project. Darlene is also the motivating force behind ECAST, Expert & Citizen Assessment of Science & Technology. In a way, ECAST is an attempt to resurrect and modernize the government's Office of Technology Assessment, something my old boss wanted to do very much.
Darlene and I have talked a bit about advocating for science in communities where it isn't necessarily front and center. I think my role on Science Cheerleader is my first step. I read a lot of science writing daily (it's actually part of my job), and I'll be sharing links to things that are engaging and don't require a PhD in some multi-syllabic discipline to understand. I also plan to engage some of my friends in spreading the word in other communities about this great science writing. Darlene and I have been working with some other people on somewhat more ambitious projects with similar goals, and we'll be rolling them out soon, but I think we agree it makes sense to take it one step at a time.
So I hope you'll take a look at Science Cheerleader - some very smart and engaging people have been contributing there long before I came around - and I hope you take a look at the links. They'll be published on Wednesdays.