Outreach at Hopkins Neuroscience

The students in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are involved in a variety of outreach initiatives and programs. Through these programs, our students foster relationships within Johns Hopkins, Baltimore and the broader community. This webpage provides a centralized site where interested prospective and current students and postdoctoral fellows can find information about some of the ongoing outreach efforts and the ways students and postdoctoral fellows become involved with their communities outside the laboratory. The variety of organizations allow students and postdoctoral fellows to become involved with organizations that fit their interests and their schedules.


Neuroscience Department Outreach Initiatives:

Project Bridge  Biomedical Scholars Association  Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group  Baltimore Underground Science Space ○ Biomedical Odyssey Blog ○ Reading Partners ○ Science in the Sticks  Thread ○ MERIT Health Leadership Academy ○  Biotechnical Institute of Maryland and The Maryland Tech Connection       

●      Project Bridge

○      Project Bridge is an umbrella organization whose main mission is to encourage public interest and engagement in science. Project Bridge was established at Johns Hopkins in 2013 by Daniel Pham (JHU Neuroscience, 2017), Naoko Kozuki (Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2015) and Molly Needelman (MICA/JHU Carey Business School, 2014). In March 2017, Project Bridge founded a chapter at the University of Colorado, Denver. Project Bridge is currently seeking additional partnerships with other institutions to help them begin their own chapters.

○      At Johns Hopkins, Project Bridge is made up of nine committees which train scientists to efficiently and effectively explain their science to the general public, inspire the next generation of scientists, and foster personal interactions between scientists and non-scientist members of our communities.

○      In 2019, Project Bridge was awarded the Next Generation Award from the Society for Neuroscience. The Next Generation Award recognizes SfN chapter members who have made outstanding contributions to public communication, outreach, and education about neuroscience.

○      Current Committees of Project Bridge at Johns Hopkins:

      Science Outside the Lines (SOTL)

  • SOTL visits 3rd and 4th grade students at Henderson-Hopkins elementary school each week to explore the inherent similarities between the arts and sciences. By working with SOTL’s community partner, Art with a Heart (https://artwithaheart.net/), volunteers supplement both the students’ art and science curriculums in a stress-free, after-school environment.

■      Science Communication Committee

  • The Science Communication Committee aims: 1) to train scientists to explain their work to a general audience, and 2) to find new and better ways to present scientific information to the public. The Science Communication Committee does this in a variety of ways, including holding communication workshops with established science authors and policy-makers in a community lab space run by the Baltimore Underground Science Space. The committee also organizes Science Slams, where a series of participants each has 5 minutes to explain their research to an audience of non-scientists.

■      Science at the Market

  • Science at the Market is a monthly event held at the 32nd Street Farmer’s Market on the last Saturday of the month. Volunteers host engaging and fun experiments centered around a theme for both kids and adults to enjoy and learn together.

■      Brain Connect

  • Brain Connect began as an effort to educate and engage the Baltimore Community during Brain Awareness week. Each year in March, Project Bridge volunteers visit Baltimore city schools and teach a short lesson about the structure and function of the brain and how we (with our brains) can control our emotions and reduce feelings of stress.

■      Baltimore Brain Fest

  • Baltimore Brain Fest is the culminating event for Brain Awareness Week. Community partners, Johns Hopkins affiliates, and Project Bridge volunteers come together to host a free-to-the-public, all-day event filled with fun experiments, games, crafts, and other activities to learn about the brain.

○      www.brainfest.org

■      Science Gong Show

  • The Science Gong Show is a science communication event held at Charm City Meadworks where scientists give brief explanations of their research without using any jargon. Each time a scientist uses jargon, audience members “gong” the speaker with provided cowbells which forces the scientist to re-describe their research in more understandable terms.

■      Science Café

  • The Baltimore Science Café brings local scientists to venues all across the Baltimore community for casual conversations about their research. Researchers briefly present their work using only a whiteboard followed by a Q&A with the audience.

■      MD DNA Day

  • MD DNA Day is an annual program when graduate students and scientists travel to Baltimore and Maryland high school science classrooms to present engaging, hands-on modules covering topics related to genetics and genomics. MD DNA Day operates in collaboration with the NIH DNA Day initiative that commemorates the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA and the completion of the human genome project every year in late April.

■      Girl’s Coding Club

  • Girls' Coding Club provides coding activities to middle school girls at the Midtown Academy to excite them about computer science and STEM careers. Every other Monday, volunteers teach an hour-long project focusing on the basics of programming, computer science, and engineering.


●      Biomedical Scholars Association

○      The Biomedical Scholars Association (BSA) is a tri-institutional student organization that supports underrepresented minority (URM) students at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, School of Public Health, and School of Nursing. The BSA helps the Hopkins community strive towards diverse and inclusive excellence as well as demonstrates to the larger scientific community the existence and importance of URM success. The BSA engages graduate students and develops a network of support among its members through our four key programming events: professional development, community service, social activities and recruitment of URM students to Hopkins.

○      https://www.bsajhmi.org/

●      Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group

○      Since 2016, the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group (JHSPG) has led the effort to advocate for evidence-based policies that advance science and safeguard public health. JHSPG is comprised of members of the Johns Hopkins University research and medical communities, which includes graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, healthcare professionals, and faculty at the School of Medicine, School of Public Health, and School of Nursing. JHSPG develops science policy coverage and commentary that promotes civic engagement and policy literacy in scientists, creates training modules, tool-kits and science communications resources for our research advocates, coordinates advocacy events around the STEM legislative agenda at both the local and federal level, engages with science policy, advocacy, and communication professionals via an invited speaker series, and provides career development opportunities for trainees interested in science policy and advocacy.

○      www.jhscipolgroup.org

●      Baltimore Underground Science Space

○      Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS) is a non-profit public laboratory offering classes, seminars, and lab access so that anyone can safely and affordably investigate the living world. BUGSS consists of a community of amateurs, professionals, citizen scientists, activists, and artists exploring biotechnology through scientific and artistic investigations that hope to serve as a space for open dialogue, and “learning through doing.” BUGSS hopes to facilitate more nuanced dialogue and exploration of the incredible potential of new technologies as well as their limitations and related ethical issues.

○      www.bugssonline.org

●      Biomedical Odyssey Blog

○      The Biomedical Odyssey blog is an award-winning blog dedicated to showcasing the perspectives of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine trainees that is written and edited by Hopkins medical students, graduate students, residents, postdocs and fellows. Biomedical Odyssey contributors share stories about daily life in the classroom, experiences with residency, research they are working on, tips for future medical students and researchers, and the best parts about living in Baltimore and being part of the Johns Hopkins family.

○      https://biomedicalodyssey.blogs.hopkinsmedicine.org/

●      Reading Partners

○      Since 2012, Reading Partners has worked with Baltimore community members to create a driving force in uniting the community to improve students’ academic achievement. Reading Partners places community volunteers in low-income schools to help kids build strong literacy skills, gain confidence and discover a new passion for reading.

○      No formal teaching experience is required! Reading Partners provides each volunteer with a highly effective, easy-to-follow curriculum, in-person training, on-site support, and, best of all, the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life!

○      www.readingpartners.org/location/baltimore/

●      Science in the Sticks

○      Science in the Sticks (SitS) aims to enrich public high school education in rural Maryland high schools through real, hands-on exposure to the scientific method, experimental design, and scientific discussion while exposing students to successful scientists of different backgrounds and experiences. Developed in early 2019 by postdoctoral fellows Eastman Lewis and Kacey Rajkovich, currently SitS has been implemented in biology classrooms at Winters Mills High School in Westminster, MD. Volunteer scientist from JHU and the University of Maryland, Baltimore inspire 10th-grade biology students to think critically and logically, apply the scientific method, identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and collaborate while doing real experiments. In addition to facilitating lab activities and discussions, volunteers facilitate the end-of-semester Lab Olympics and Mouse Genotyping Lab. Furthermore, volunteers have opportunities to give chalk talks about their research, to develop classroom lectures about scientific concepts and to help with the preparation of classroom lab exercises.

○      SitS needs volunteer scientists to help facilitate classroom lab activities and discussions and to attend informal discussions about career development with the students. Importantly, SitS needs as many volunteers as possible for the end-of-semester Lab Olympics and Mouse Genotyping Lab.

○      Contact:

■      Kacey Rajkovich (kacey.rajkovich@jhmi.edu)

■      Eastman Lewis (eastman.lewis@jhu.edu)

■      Helia Seifikar (hseifik1@jhmi.edu)

●      Thread

○      Thread harnesses the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with young people facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps. The Thread community is committed to ending social isolation and building a more equitable culture in which everyone thrives. Thread achieves these goals by connecting at-risk high school students with groups of university and community-based volunteers and collaborators to provide customized support to help the student thrive. Thread gives volunteers the opportunity to longitudinally support a student through their entire high school experience.

○      https://www.thread.org/

●      MERIT Health Leadership Academy

○      The MERIT Health Leadership Academy is a nonprofit academic and career mentorship program supporting Baltimore City high school students who aspire to careers in health care. MERIT scholars take advanced academic classes on Saturdays; work in hospitals, labs, and community organizations during paid internships; and receive long-term college and career mentorship.

○      As rising juniors, MERIT scholars participate in clinical internships, giving them the opportunity to experience health care in the real world. MERIT scholars shadow up to 20 different health care providers in a variety of settings including intensive care, pediatrics, outpatient clinics, surgery, and more.

○      As rising seniors, scholars conduct independent research based on their interests under the guidance of a mentor. Scholars participate directly in the research process, engaging in projects that drive scientific discovery and medical advancement

○      https://www.meritbaltimore.org/

●      Biotechnical Institute of Maryland and The Maryland Tech Connection

○      The Biotechnical Institute (BTI) was founded to fill a need for specialty training of entry-level biotechnicians for employment in Maryland’s rapidly expanding biotechnology industry. BTI provides tuition-free, basic laboratory training to ambitious, unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents.

○      The Maryland Tech Connection (MTC) is an innovative industry-driven initiative with a coalition of 59 companies focused on workforce, educational and economic development. MTC also partners with other non-profit organizations working to grow the IT, Cybersecurity and Bioscience industries throughout the state and to encourage more Maryland residents to secure and retain middle and high skilled positions in those sectors.

○     http://biotechmd.org/

○     http://www.mdtechconnection.org/   

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