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LifeLab

Meet the Scientist

What is Meet the Scientist

Meet the Scientist is a component activity of LifeLab, an innovative educational intervention being piloted in Southampton, aiming to improve young people's health and inspire an interest in science.

A Meet the Scientist session provides secondary-level students with opportunities to talk with research scientists on an informal basis, and in so doing to explore or challenge their views of science and scientists. This session takes place during a LifeLab day, which also includes hands-on practical activities to embed messages about maternal and childhood nutritional influences and provides opportunities for students to experience modern science and to inspire and excite them about research and future career possibilities.

These sessions have proved successful for students, in both changing their minds about what scientists are like and also what scientists do. Teachers also value these sessions, reflecting that these sessions show students the wide variety of careers available to them.

As part of the Public Engagement with Research Project, we put together a case study looking at the motivations to be involved and the benefits of these sessions on the researchers involved.
All researchers involved commented on the exercise to communicate aspects of their research to the audience. However, what was also apparent was the pure enjoyment of these sessions, and the surprise at how engaged and enthusiastic the school students were in hearing about current research.

Meet the Scientist training sessions

In order to maximise the value of these sessions to the researchers involved, the LifeLab team run Meet the Scientist training sessions.
The training sessions cover a range of aspects from the Meet the Scientist sessions, from the “elevator pitch” – learn how to tell your research story in just 30 seconds! Through how to make sure the school students are confident in asking you questions – and are asking the kinds of questions you want to answer! Ending with a session, delivered by a local Head of Science to thinking about what year 9 students are like these days!

Call for researchers

LifeLab is looking for enthusiastic researchers who are interested to share their research experience with secondary-level students. If you are interested, please contact Kathryn Woods-Townsend.

I thought they would be in lab coats like you see on the films, but they spoke to us, like they were a child wanting to find stuff out as well.

The most enjoyable part of the session was just talking to the children and getting their reactions and some of the different questions they asked.

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