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Outreach Activities

The INP undertakes a variety of outreach activities to try to engage the community beyond Yale in Neuroscience. Please note that many of these activities will be somewhat different this academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

INP Outreach

The INP Outreach Program welcomes middle and high school student groups for school field trips to Yale. Students explore neuroscience on campus through lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and a tour of the Cushing center, all led by current graduate students. At interactive demo stations, students can use their muscles to power a robotic claw, record electrical changes in neurons from a cockroach leg, and learn how common brain teasers work. In the Cushing Center, volunteers partner with a talented librarian to lead students on a scavenger hunt to learn about the history of neuroscience at Yale and see a variety of brain specimens collected by Harvey Cushing.

INP Students: Sarah Mohr, Gustavo Madeira Santana, Alec Sheffield, James Bonanno, Mary Alice Allnutt, and many more.

Brain Education Day

Brain Education Day is an annual (nationwide), all-day event in March that, in partnership with Yale Pathways to Science and the Dana Foundation Brain Awareness week, welcomes 80 – 100 middle and high school students from local New Haven Public Schools to Yale to learn about an array of neuroscience subjects. Students explore the brain with Yale’s top neuroscientists and students and hear about a faculty member's journey to science in a keynote lecture. Throughout the day, students rotate through stations to learn about brain anatomy through sheep brain dissection, learn how the brain uses electricity to send signals, learn about modern neuroimaging techniques by visiting a mock fMRI scanner, and learn how scientists have built robotic prosthetics and have the chance control a robotic claw using electrical activity produced by their own muscles. Parents can also attend an information session about how to prepare their child for higher education hosted by Yale University deans.

INP Students: Kathy Zhang, Ankita Gumaste, Heather Ortega, Kathy Ayala, Efrat Abramson, Violet Kimble

INP Faculty: Elena Gracheva, Slav Bagriantsev, Anthony Koleske, Will Cafferty, Michael Crair, Phil Corlett, Marcelo Dietrich, Nii Addy, Dana Small

Yale Science Diplomats

Yale Science Diplomats are a group of graduate students and postdocs at Yale University dedicated to science communication, outreach, and advocacy. We are involved in a variety of events and initiatives. We produce two public lecture series: Science in the News and Science@BAR. The Flipped Science Fair enables graduate students and postdocs to present their research to middle schooler students who serve as judges in a science fair setting. Our Science Policy Committee provides graduate students with training and opportunities to practice science advocacy. YSD also plans a regular career trek to learn about careers in policy and communication in DC. Through a collaboration with Open Labs, we partner with community leaders to bring hands-on science demonstrations to neighborhood events.

Science in the News

One of our oldest initiatives, Science in the News, brings science to the general public in the form of an annual lecture series held at public libraries in the New Haven area. Graduate students and postdocs deliver talks on current topics in science, ranging from the microbiome to the feasibility of a real-life Jurassic Park. Reading materials and a vibrant Q&A session further engage attendees in discussion. Our goal is to make science fun and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. We want to provide people with a better understanding of the science underpinning many of the complex issues we hear about in the news every day.

INP Students: Clara Liao, Jhah Cook

Flipped Science Fair

The Flipped Science Fair, flips the traditional science fair format on its head: middle school student judges evaluate graduate students and postdocs presenting their current research. Middle school students learn about cutting-edge research from real Yale scientists in a small group setting, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and participate in hands-on demonstrations. The presenters learn how to tailor their research pitch to a general audience, with emphasis on keeping things exciting, understandable, and relevant.

INP Students: Rick, Heather, Sharif, Erica, Shannon, Noa, Angela, Hannah, Alexa, Danielle, Daniel, Mitchell, Aneysis, Joon, Katina

Science @ BAR

Science @ BAR, brings together pizza, beer, and science talks by grad students and postdocs to allow for public engagement with science in an informal setting. Come for the drinks – stay for the science... and prizes! Past events, attracting hundreds of attendees, featured themes centered around the science of beer, dogs, and love.

INP Students: Clara Liao, Jhah Cook

Science Policy Committee

Yale Science Diplomats are committed to teaching scientists advocacy skills. Our summer bootcamp focuses on skill development, so we can tackle the issues during the academic year, by writing op-eds and white papers. YSD also organizes a career trek for graduate students and postdocs at Yale to learn about science policy and communication jobs in DC. We visit Yale alumni and other PhD scientists in and around the federal government to learn about what they do and how they got to their current position.

INP Students: Harrison, Rick

Science Haven

Science Haven is a collaboration between Open Labs, Yale Science Diplomats, and New Haven neighborhood leaders, designed to embed researchers more deeply in their neighborhoods through hands-on science demos at community gatherings, farmers markets, and similar events. At the beginning of the pandemic, we transitioned to offer virtual science demos and talks geared towards middle and high school students through Exploring Science. Through attending neighborhood leadership meetings and connecting with families where they are, we aim to inspire students to pursue a career in science, allow adults to see scientists as approachable, and facilitate relationships on a personal level to begin breaking down systemic barriers between academia and the public. By putting a face to the lab coat, we hope to foster a sense of trust between residents and their neighborhood scientific community.

INP Students: Alexa Soares, Heather Ortega, Lester Rodriguez

Open Labs

Open Labs is a group of scientists at Yale focused on outreach to K-12 students in the New Haven Area. We have three main branches of outreach: 1) A talk series called Science Café in which scientists from Yale present their research in 10min TED-style talks targeted at a middle school audience. The talks encompass the scientist’s pathway into science, passion for their field, and ongoing research endeavors. 2) A group of hands-on interactive science demonstrations designed to give students hands-on engagement with scientific topics. We present these at our Science Café but focus this branch on presentations at community events like farmers’ markets and seasonal festivals around New Haven. 3) On-line digital content including videos of our talk series and demonstrations as well as a new imitative to make educational science videos on exciting topics in STEM. Open Labs collaborates with the Science Haven initiative for many of our community events and is one of the organizations leading Exploring Science. Yale Open labs has been directed by two INP students for the past 4years and many INP students have volunteered and held positions of leadership.

Exploring Science

Exploring Science is a weekly virtual event for middle school students that was developed in response to suspended in-person events. The weekly event features two talks: 1) A Flipped Science Fair presentation in which a scientist from Yale presents their research to the event participants in a science fair poster format that is made for a middle school audience. 2) A Science Café presentation which is a short talk by Yale scientists about their pathway into science and research topic. The event is facilitated by a network of graduate students who help lead interactive activities including take home discussion topics and small group discussions of the presentations. This event is hosted by Yale Open Labs and Flipped Science Fair, two initiatives currently directed by INP students. The leadership of this event includes three INP students and is facilitated by many INP speakers and volunteers.

Sensory Physiology Club

The mission of Sensory Physiology Club is to promote scientific education in human and animal physiology among schoolchildren from middle- and high schools. Most of our trainees are from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts schools. To invite the students, we contact the schools directly or via an established collaboration with the Yale Pathways to Science and SCHOLAR programs, who also help us to monitor long-term impact of our program. Our activities are year-around and are subdivided in intramural and extramural teaching and educational sessions (currently, ~30-40 academic hours per year). During each session, we undertake a multicomponent approach, which includes several lectures weaved around engaging experimental activities. We focus on basic aspects of physiology, with an emphasis on sensory physiology: the sense of temperature, the sense of mechanical touch, taste, vision, audition and olfaction. We also cover captivating experimental approaches: electrophysiology, infrared imaging, sensory perception paradigms, EEG and others. Our sessions aim to spark interest in biological science through lectures and interactive experimental activities, which go beyond the standard science curricula of most schools. Lectures from our sessions are recorded and made available over the Internet.

For examples, see the lectures

INP Participants: Elena Gracheva, Slav Bagriantsev, Sarah Mohr, Maddy Junkins, Ke Tan, Luke Ziolkowski, Rebecca Greenberg, Haoran Cao

STEM Mentors at Yale

STEM Mentors at Yale is a graduate student organization that designs programming and mentorship to support high-school students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Our mission is to motivate local high school students, especially underrepresented groups like women and minorities (in partnership with Yale’s Pathways to Science program) to feel that pursuing a career related to STEM is within their reach. We think the best way to achieve our goal is to provide high school students with opportunities to interact directly with our graduate student mentors who wish to share their unique experiences and advice on how to navigate career planning decisions related to STEM fields. We aim to both inspire and assist students from grades 6-12 through our annual Events:

  • 2-part College Essay Writing Workshops (Fall)
  • Career Panel: STEM Careers You Haven't Heard Much About (Spring)

INP Students: Gretchen Long (co-president), Clara Liao (Director of Logistics), Lester Rodriguez, Rebecca Greenberg