JEI Introduces New Outreach Initiatives to Engage Young Scientists in Boston Area and Beyond JEI Introduces New Outreach Initiatives

Contributor: Liza Litvina

JEI provides young science enthusiasts the opportunity to receive feedback from PhD-level scientists and experience the process of peer review. A complementary goal of our organization is to make students, teachers, and mentors aware that this opportunity exists and is free, and to give them the means to turn student projects into publishable work. To achieve this, JEI organizes several outreach activities in the Boston area and beyond.

New this semester is a collaborative program with Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) High School, composed of workshops and one-on-one mentoring by Harvard PhD students. It will introduce students to professional scientific writing and help them apply this newly acquired knowledge to their own research, conducted in local university labs through the CRLS Marine Science Internship program. Writing mentors from JEI will help students prepare their research for submission, working on each section of the manuscript as the semester goes on. At a recent introductory workshop on March 6th, Co-director of Outreach Mark Springel and Katherine Bercovitz, both PhD students at Harvard, discussed the basics of scientific writing at CRLS. Students learned to distinguish professional scientific communication from popular science writing and to understand the composition of a scientific article. They also became acquainted with scientific publication, the editorial process, and peer review—procedures that their own completed projects will hopefully undergo at JEI this summer.

Also new this year is the Science Writing Mentors (SWM) program, designed to assist student authors through the rigorous editing and review processes at JEI.  Led by Kyle Koleoglou and operated in collaboration with the Program for Research Assistant Development and Achievement (PRADA) at Boston Childrens’ Hospital, this new initiative has already helped six student authors continue with their submissions to be published in our journal.

As in the past, we continue to spread awareness by reaching out at science fairs and teacher’s conferences, both locally and around the country. Recently, the JEI representatives engaged with high school students at the 69th Annual Boston Public School Citywide Science Fair held at Northeastern on March 7. Next, we will be participating remotely in the Delaware Valley Science Fair (March 31-April 2), a competitive showcase whose winners go on to the Intel International Fair. Finally, we look forward to spreading the word about the opportunity for students to publish with JEI at the upcoming Cambridge Science Festival (April 17-26) and The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair on May 1-2.