Skip directly to content

Classes & Workshops

The Pitt Science Outreach program offers formal training to prospective volunteers in two ways:

Pitt Undergraduate Classes

Three classes offered through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences provide in-depth training to prepare students for any kind of science outreach challenge:

Speaking of Science (NROSCI 2014)

Students learn strategies for giving presentations about science to both a scientific audience and a public audience. Topics covered include (1) how to engage your audience, (2) the art of breaking down your message, (3) tips for how to make clear, interesting slides, and (4) pointers on presentation style. Students learn to emphasize their message, stay focused, and convey the importance of their message while being interesting, maintaining the attention of the audience, and making the learning process enjoyable.

Translating Science (NROSCI 2410)

This course is designed to teach students how to create outreach tools for communication of science to the public (new lectures, laboratories, videos, films, activities).The course is designed to have students work in creative teams of 2-3 students/team to develop two versions of a lecture on a specific topic for junior high and high school students. At the beginning of the semester, students will receive didactic lectures that provide background information about how to effectively communicate scientific information, how to break down a message, production of effective, engaging slides, animations and videos, and the use of hands-on activities to engage the audience. Students will then work with a scientific advisor in the topic area they wish to create the lecture in.

Translating Science Independent Study

Translating Science is a new course that will be offered every semester for variable credits (0-3 credits/semester). This advanced level independent study has 'Speaking of Science' or 'Translating Science' as a prerequisite. Students will apply the knowledge they have learned in the prerequisite courses to teach other students the topic matter needed to effectively teach lectures, labs, museum activities that have been developed in 'Translating Science'. They will meet independently with scientific advisors with expertise in the topic matter of each lecture they are teaching, and will read background scientific papers in appropriate areas. They will be responsible for teaching students interested in teaching lectures, labs and activities the background material for the lecture and speaking skills. They will attend lectures given by students in junior high and high school courses. The course director will oversee student training.

Outreach Workshops

Pitt Science Outreach personnel run regular outreach workshops on campus, which seek to endow attendees with the basic skills and knowledge needed to pursue their outreach aspirations.

Previous workshops:

  • CMIST teacher workshop sponsered by CMU.
  • "Investigations Using Animal Models" run by CTSI and the Pittsburgh Regional Center for Science Teachers  (PRCST). Act 48 credits avaible for teachers.
  • Teacher workshop for Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh sponsored by PRCST at Beechwood Farms.