Engaging Diverse Communities in Planetary Science

Engaging Diverse Communities in Planetary Science

A 2021 survey of planetary scientists revealed a desire to engage more effectively with diverse communities and a need for help in learning where and how to begin.

In April 2022, the Planetary Resources and Content Heroes (ReaCH) team held a three-day pilot workshop at Arizona State University (ASU) to begin to address this need. Workshop participants – planetary scientists and informal educators – explored strategies and resources for engaging diverse audiences in the excitement of NASA's planetary science and exploration. Following the workshop, participants conducted a public engagement event at Riverside Elementary School with students and their families, many of whom identify as Latinx. This event enabled participants to practice activities and engagement strategies from the workshop.

Participants described the workshop experience positively, indicating it greatly helped them prepare to engage diverse audiences, noting that the post-workshop public event was also an extremely useful exercise. Lessons learned from evaluation data and the experience itself will inform the next ReaCH pilot workshop scheduled for the summer of 2022.

The ReaCH team thanks NASA Science Activation's SCoPE (Science Mission Directorate Community of Practice for Education) team for assistance in arranging for the workshop meeting space at ASU and lab tours for participants; The team also thanks Riverside Elementary School in Phoenix for hosting the public engagement event.

"It’s definitely good to pair [scientists] with an informal educator – I learned so much!"
-workshop participant, scientist

"Much needed, and enjoyed the presentations [activities]!"
-parent at public event

"Can I have a new card [passport]? I did everything and now I want to do it all again!"
-4th grade boy at public event

Planetary ReaCH is supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number 80NSSC21M0003 and is part of NASA’s Science Activation Portfolio. Please visit www.lpi.usra.edu/planetary-reach to learn more.

Ms. Corinne Rojas of Arizona State University, planetary science subject matter expert and Mastcam-Z Operations Engineer on the Perseverance rover, speaks with children about exploring Mars with rovers.