I-Sci Explorers integrates social and behavioral science into STEAM outreach

Illinois Science Explorers (I-Sci Explorers) is a community outreach group that works with researchers to transform research ideas and findings into educational activities, materials, and curriculum for general audiences, including young children. A collaboration between several university research centers and institutes, including Beckman Institute, Cancer Center at Illinois, Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS), Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), and National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), our goal is to reach the community with the science research being done on campus. We work to not only reach those in the community that would not normally have access to innovative STEAM education, but also to break down barriers and improve campus-community collaboration. 

I-Sci Explorers specifically includes social and behavioral science in our curricula, an integral component not often thought of when constructing STEAM programming. We strive to include innovative topics and illustrate a broad variety of science to our community.

Our partnership with the Champaign Park District’s Martens Center provides a unique opportunity to deliver transformative science experiences within our community. With this partnership, we offer programming to families and create after-school programming for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club in the Martens Center. 

For the Spring 2024 semester, I-Sci Explorers will offer “Explore UIUC Science” open programming on Wednesdays from noon – 1 p.m. for a variety of ages (specifically geared towards middle school), and programming with the Boys & Girls Club (ages 6 to 9) will be every Monday and Wednesday, 4 – 5:30 p.m. 

If you are interested in working together to develop modules and contribute to the broader impacts of your research, please reach out to Paige Duncan, Community Engagement Specialist, at paigef2@illinois.edu.