Never is Rockefeller University as aglow with excitement and curiosity as during Science Saturday, an annual festival now in its third year. Last month, the event drew close to 1,000 students and their families to campus, where scientists engaged them in hands-on experiments and interactive demonstrations.
Hosted jointly by the Parents & Science and Science Outreach programs, Science Saturday was attended by school-age children and their parents, grandparents, and teachers. In visiting over 35 interactive stations, children were able to learn how fruit flies navigate, what a brain looks like from within, what cells are made of, and a lot more.
Part of the day’s events included talks by Shai Shaham, head of the Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, and Rockefeller alumna Mandë Holford of Hunter College. More than 170 volunteers—including Rockefeller heads of laboratories, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers, as well as scientists from neighboring institutions—also contributed to the event’s success.
Throughout the five-hour program, the participants’ enthusiasm made it clear that New York City families are hungry for this kind of exposure to science, says Jeanne Garbarino, director of science outreach at Rockefeller.
“Science Saturday connects young, curious minds to the authentic process of science in a real research institution,” Dr. Garbarino adds, “and it allows many of our scientists, who come from all sorts of backgrounds, to showcase their research areas in ways that can inspire the local community. It’s a dynamic and fun event for all!”
As part of Rockefeller’s ongoing commitment to community outreach, several hundred free tickets were offered to under-resourced schools and organizations in New York. The tickets were mainly distributed to middle school students, as this is a critical age for fostering an enduring interest in science.