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2014 IPSEC Program

Contributors: Science Festival Alliance

The 2014 International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC)

IPSEC 2014 met in Chicago on February 12 – 13, and was organized as an official preconference to the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Over 175 participants from countries around the world, as well as most US states, joined the third iteration of this conference. The energy that attendees brought to the meeting can’t be captured in a program, but below is a schedule of events and sessions:


Tuesday evening, February 11

Nerd Nite Chicago
(Independently organized: conference attendees will receive instructions about purchasing tickets for this event separately)


Wednesday, February 12

8:00 – 9:00 Conference Check In
Session location: Grand B

9:00 – 10:00 Science Events and the Evolving Culture of Science Engagement
The lines between science and popular culture are blurring, changing the practice of science outreach nationally and internationally. Peter Linett and John Durant discuss how these changes are reflected in public science events today and debate the wider implications of this changing landscape.
Session leaders: Peter Linett, Founder, Culture Kettle; John Durant, Director, MIT Museum
Session location: Grand B

10:00 – 10:25 coffee break and Partner Pod meetups

10:25 – 11:10 concurrent sessions

  • First Steps to a Science Festival
    Leap over the learning curve with advice from the founding directors of two very different science festivals.
    Session leaders: Gerri Trooskin, Strategic Initiatives Director, The Franklin Institute; Howard Rutherford, Director of Development, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida
    Session location: Columbus IJ
  • Creating High-Energy K-12 Outreach Teams with University Students
    Learn how the DEEP (Discover, Explore, and Enjoy Physics & Engineering) and Mind Trekkers programs recruit and train students to execute exciting and engaging science and engineering festivals. Discuss the best practices for creating undergrad/graduate teams of outreach specialists that serve as near-peer mentors and role models to the K-12 students they engage at these informal STEM education events.
    Session leaders: Tatiana Erukhimova, Senior Lecturer and Outreach Coordinator, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Texas A&M University; Steve Patchin, Director, Center for Pre-College Outreach, Michigan Technological University
    Session location: Columbus AB
  • Events in Smaller Population Centers and Rural Settings
    Public science events in smaller population centers and rural settings present their own challenges, but there are also remarkably robust resources to draw on in such areas…if you know where to look.
    Session leader: Cynthia Kramer, Founder, Scientists and Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration (SCOPE); Gina Schatteman, Co-Director, iExploreSTEM
    Session location: Grand D North

11:15 – 12:00 concurrent sessions

  • Fundraising Keys
    Development is a well-established field, but there are unique fundraising opportunities inherent to events. Share tricks of the trade, from simple table placement to ways of keeping donors engaged throughout the year.
    Session leaders: Adam Erdmann, Development Officer, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival
    Session location: Columbus IJ
  • Statewide Science Festivals and Initiatives
    The North Carolina Science Festival and Arizona SciTech Festivals are both several years into their audacious efforts to blanket a large state with science events. For all of their similarities, these two festivals are organized in different ways. Hear about two different approaches that are working for these states.
    Session leaders: Jonathan Frederick, Director, North Carolina Science Festival; Charlotte Hodel, Assistant Director, Arizona SciTech Festival
    Session location: Columbus AB
  • Building on Success: Expanding Your Outreach Programming
    Regardless of the resources available to you, or the size of your program, expending an existing outreach program can be a daunting task. After two brief presentations sharing lessons learned and offering practical tips, join a discussion about the challenges faced by all and the potential solutions for them.
    Session Leaders: Melissa Beattie Moss, Manager of Research Communications, Penn State University; Theresa Yu Huan Liao, Communications Coordinator, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia
    Session location: Grand D North

12:00 – 1:15 lunch

1:15 – 2:45 Event Organizing is Community Organizing, Part 1
Learn invaluable lessons from the field of community organizing in this interactive workshop designed for IPSEC by the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA). Topics will include: the community organizing philosophy and approach, seven reasons for community participation, assessing and mapping community resources, and creating and maintaining partnerships.
Session leaders: Dorlisa Minnick, Assistant Professor, Social Work & Gerentology, Shippensburg University; Lee Staples, Clinical Professor, Boston University School of Social Work
Session location: Columbus IJ

1:15 – 2:00 Serving Adult Audiences
For too long innovative science education was only for the kids. Against that backdrop it now seems we are enjoying a renaissance for science events designed specifically for the 21+ crowd. How do we make the most of this wonderful new-found enthusiasm for adult science programming?
Session leaders: Erin Dragotto, Executive Director, Chicago Council on Science and Technology; Gerri Trooskin, Strategic Initiatives Director, The Franklin Institute
Session location: Columbus AB

1:15 – 2:00 Surprise! You’re Organizing an Event
All live events involve too many variables to control, but what about when that variable is lead-time? Events built around a surprise appearance by a celebrity and the discovery of a king under a parking lot provide two case studies for a conversation about seizing the moment.
Session leaders: Cas Kramer, Director, Genetics Outreach and Public Engagement, University of Leicester; Patrick “Tod” Colegrove, Director, DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library, University of Nevada, Reno
Session location: Grand D North

2:05 – 2:45 Serving Student Audiences
Discuss how to design extra-ordinary experiences that capture the full force of a school groups’ attention, with examples that shake up normal, ranging from workplace-authentic experiences to live links with the International Space Station.
Session leaders: Graeme Lawrie, Head of Science and Technology, Sevenoaks School; Bryan Rebar, Associate Director, STEM CORE, University of Oregon
Session location: Columbus AB

2:05 – 2:45 Events as Interventions: What to do when the audience doesn’t expect you
Rather than trying to draw people to science events and museums, how do you bring science content into the spaces people already visit in their everyday lives? Do such efforts lead new people to seek out science events and museums? What other measures of success make sense for pop-up science outreach?
Session leaders: Jesse Billingham, Science on the Street Coordinator, MIT Museum; Mark SubbaRao, Director of Visualization, Adler Planetarium
Session location: Grand D North

2:45 – 3:10 coffee break

3:10 – 4:40 Event Organizing is Community Organizing, Part 2
Continue to this workshop presented by leaders in the field of community organizing. Topics will include: engaging and recruiting participants, creating participatory structures and processes, developing partnership commitment, and building leadership capacity among your collaborators.
Session leaders: Dorlisa Minnick, Assistant Professor, Social Work & Gerentology, Shippensburg University; Lee Staples, Clinical Professor, Boston University School of Social Work
Session location: Columbus IJ

3:10 – 3:55 The Network Effect: Finding inspiration from other event organizers
In recent years, networks of science events have sprung up across the world. Hear from three such groups as they discuss points of entry for participants in their networks, how networks foster innovation across multiple sites, and what it might take for networks to stay vibrant over time.
Session leaders: Jaime Bell, Project Director, Center for the Advancement of Informal Science; Lee Bishop, Boss, Nerd Nite Madison; Julie Fooshee, Coordinator, Science Festival Alliance; Matt Wasowski, Big Boss, Nerd Nite
Session location: Grand D North

3:10 – 3:55 Working with Scientific Societies
Ever wish that the scientists in your region were already identified and organized by discipline no matter where they work? You’re in luck: scientific societies have been doing this for decades. Join this session to consider how to navigate scientific societies, and what they can and can’t do as event partners.
Session leaders: Sheri Potter, Director of Membership and Public Programs, American Institute of Biological Sciences; Susan Chapman, Director of Member Services, Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies
Session location: Columbus AB

4:00 – 4:40 Tapping into ScienceOnline
Curious about building professional relationships online? We’ll share stories from ScienceOnline and its satellite groups (found in many US cities and overseas), and you’ll find out how to get involved in an existing group, how to start up your own satellite group, and how to connect with the broader ScienceOnline community. Bring your questions. We’d love to try to answer them!
Session leaders: Karyn Traphagen, Executive Director, ScienceOnline; William Gunn, Co-Organizer, ScienceOnline Bay Area
Session location: Grand D North

4:45 – 5:15 “And Then That Happened…”: Stories from the Event Organizer Experience
Session location: Grand B

6:30 – 9:00 Evening Dinner Reception (open to all conference registrants: food included, cash bar)


Thursday, February 13

9:00 – 10:00 The State of Science Events: Reports from across the world and across sectors
Session leaders: Simon France, Program Manager, Inspiring Australia; Imran Khan, Chief Executive, British Science Association; Arata Manuela, President, Associazione Festival della Scienza; Jan Riise, Director, European Science Events Association; Ben Wiehe, Manager, Science Festival Alliance; Yang Lijun, Director, Division of Public Science Events, China Association of Science and Technology
Session location: Grand B

10:00 – 10:30 Innovative Events Showcase
Session location: Grand B

10:45 – 11:45 concurrent sessions

  • Corporate Perspectives on Science Festivals
    In the past few years, a wide array of STEM corporations have become significantly involved in science festivals across the country. In this session, we’ll explore the diverse motivations for corporate involvement, examples of meaningful activity, and discuss the future of science festivals – all from a corporate perspective.
    Session leaders: Janet Auer, Specialist, Global Social Investment, Chevron; Kathy Schulting, Product Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific; Justin Land, Public Affairs Manager, Dow Chemical; Marci Pelzer, Senior Director, Communications, Midwest & Texas, Time Warner Cable
    Session location: Grand B
  • Science Cafes for (and by) Teenagers
    Science cafe programs for adults engage scientists and the public in conversation on interesting science topics in a highly social setting. Adapted for teens, the program has proven highly popular for the same reason as adult programs: the blend of engaging with scientists informally on interesting science topics and a high degree of social interaction. Join this session to consider methods proven to engage teenagers in meaningful science conversations around the US.
    Session leaders: Michelle Hall, Executive Director, Institute for Science Education New Mexico; Michael Mayhew, Senior Research Scientist, Science Education Solutions; Howard Rutherford, Director of Development, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida; Carolyn Noe, Community Science Programs Outreach & Evaluation Coordinator, St. Louis Academy of Science
    Session location: Columbus IJ

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 1:50 concurrent sessions

  • Creating Cities of Science Culture
    What does a “City of Scientific Culture” look like? News from the 70 cities participating in the PLACES project will kick off conversation about how science events, museums, and research institutions can work together to make science a part of the cultural fabric of a region.
    Session leaders: Herbert Munder, General Manager, Universum Managementgesellschaft; Jan Riise, Director, European Science Events Association
    Session location: Grand B
  • Expanding Your Toolkit
    Resources currently in development will soon help science event organizers try new approaches to their work, and save time doing it. From a database of “festival approved” hands-on activities to event production strategies that help organizers reach new audiences, learn about available resources and help shape future event organizing tools.
    Session leaders: Ellen Trappey, Festival Community Programming Specialist, The Franklin Institute; Tara Finnegan, SMILE Editor, Lawrence Hall of Science
    Session location: Columbus IJ

2:00 – 3:30 concurrent sessions

  • Engaging Scientists in Public Events
    Join this special joint session with the AAAS Communicating Science workshop to how to find and collaborate with scientists while reaching audiences not typically interested in science.
    Session leaders: Ben Lillie, Director, The Story Collider; Rabiah Mayas, Director of Science and Integrated Strategies, Museum of Science Industry; Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival; Amy Rowat, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, UCLA
    Session location: Grand Ballroom EF
  • Festival Evaluation
    How do you capture the impact of a festival’s scores of diverse events? This session will share specific tools and methodologies, while taking time to consider the big picture of where events are—and are going—in terms of evaluation.
    Session leaders: Katherine Nielsen, Co-Director, Science & Health Education Partnership, UCSF; Karen Peterman, Karen Peterman Consulting, Co.; Denise Young, Director of Education and Planning, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
    Session location: Columbus IJ

3:45 – 5:00 Working Together: Addressing issues of importance for public science events
(All conference registrants will have the opportunity to nominate topics and/or lead working groups. There will be time for participating in up to two working groups during this session.)
Session location: Columbus IJ

5:00 – 5:15 IPSEC 2014 Closing

6:00 AAAS Annual Meeting opens with President’s Address

8:00 AAAS Associated Public Events begin


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2014 IPSEC Program
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