A Prelude to “Putting Science into Service"
Diversity Committee Co-Chair
The theme for this year’s annual meeting is "putting science into service." We have seen the NWA grow in leaps and bounds since its inception, with a renewed focus every year on how to better the communities we serve with our knowledge and expertise, whether its better forecasting for significant weather events, helping in the aftermath, learning best practices of communication from others across the country, or teaching weather awareness to the general public.
However, there is much more that each of us in this organization can do to improve our service to the public with respect to science. Think about early learning STEM outreach programs in your home community. How often are you asked to talk to a class about your career? Meteorologists in broadcasting, computer science, emergency management, private industry, and research have really cool jobs—why not share your gifts, talents, and experiences with our youth? What about advocating for STEM courses in your local school or volunteering for programs that expose children and young adults to STEM fields? You can also write/call/contact your federal, state and local representatives to voice concerns about any budget cuts for education or environmental impacts.
The majority of us know educators and could easily lend a hand when it comes to helping those individuals on research for and writing grants (especially urban/low income or poorly funded public schools), or simply lend support to integrate interactive learning their classroom. The NWA Education Committee has hosted some very successful teacher workshops at past annual meetings, showing teachers of all grades how to incorporate hands-on activities that help stimulate interest in STEM fields. These educators would gladly accept help to enhance their curriculum.
The time commitment to be a mentor, whether at a local school or within a professional organization is normally small, but the reward is large when you have helped guide a young high school or college student into a STEM career path. There are many creative ways to help put science into service that are not mentioned here. The challenge for us will be to have the perseverance to continue the momentum well after the 2017 NWA Annual Meeting concludes.