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Creating a model for learning to engage diverse audiences: Early lessons learned from the Planetary ReaCH effort

Presentation #508.01 in the session Education and Outreach.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Creating a model for learning to engage diverse audiences: Early lessons learned from the Planetary ReaCH effort

The Planetary Resources and Content Heroes (ReaCH) project is taking deliberate steps to enhance the planetary science community’s ability to engage with diverse audiences. ReaCH is one of 29 projects funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s Science Activation program. Throughout the lifetime of the project, ReaCH will develop and continuously refine a model of effective practices for training planetary scientists to better engage Black and Latinx youth and families based on principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). To test and refine this model, the ReaCH team is designing and implementing professional development workshops across the U.S., co-developing strategies with planetary scientists and informal educators who serve diverse youth.

ReaCH team members are diverse in both professional and cultural backgrounds. This is a strength for a team working to develop a model of professional development for enhancing planetary scientists’ efforts to conduct more inclusive outreach. However, as with any new endeavor, this team of educators, scientists, and evaluation professionals consistently finds itself reconciling the differences in their backgrounds. As a first step to developing a shared approach, the team agreed to develop a common vocabulary for the ReaCH model.

Current definitions for DEIA, including those recently developed by NASA, are broad in their language. These definitions, while useful for understanding DEIA in general, are not particularly useful for operationalizing–or evaluating–the integration of DEIA in specific public outreach contexts. The ReaCH team has spent a great amount of time thinking about this and has developed draft definitions of how DEIA is manifested in its efforts.

This presentation will highlight the development of this model, the need for partnerships between scientists and informal educators in conducting planetary outreach for diverse communities, and ways to begin addressing some of the challenges inherent in these partnerships.

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