AGU Education Section News

AGU OSPA-winning "Scientists Are Superheroes" program combines science and communication through art

By Stacie Bender posted 02-24-2020 20:28


Jeremy Stock, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Geology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is one of two 2018 Outstanding Student Paper Award Winners in the Education Section, for a presentation titled ‘Wonder Woman is a Climate Modeler: The “Scientists are Superheroes” program for empowering youth.”  Jeremy's project focuses on educating young people about his team’s research and climate change and aims to lower barriers between scientists and the general public, including students.  By presenting and framing climate scientists as superheroes, Jeremy and collaborators on the project are able to provide an avenue into climate science for the general public, including students, through connections to today’s popular culture.  Students actively learn by envisioning themselves as superhero scientists. The students select unique powers related to modern scientific skill sets, such as collecting data. The project goals include making scientists and science itself exciting and cool!  The presentation's abstract is here.

Jeremy worked as an artist for over fifteen years and began teaching an after-school art education program five years ago.  He added science to the curriculum of an art education program, which the students responded to and very much enjoyed. The science and art combination was also enjoyable and satisfying to Jeremy, so much that he decided to earn a degree in geology.  The 2018 AGU Fall Meeting provided Jeremy with a valuable opportunity to present the "Scientists are Superheroes" project and learn from the work of others. Jeremy also loved the ways in which the Fall Meeting allowed attendees to inspire each other to engage in education efforts, especially efforts involving young people.

Jeremy emphasizes that connection is an important and recurring theme in successful science sharing and communication work.  Connections among people from different backgrounds (art, science, education) and of different ages (adults, young people) are critical.  Connecting people with their passions, creativity, and curiosity empowers people and helps to make science fun, exciting, and approachable.

Examples of Jeremy's "Scientists Are Superheroes" artwork are available through the collaborative Snow On Ice program's web site.