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Karen Stokes

Really nice presentation, Amber. What kind of things are you thinking of doing in your next iteration, given all the associated challenges?

Amber McKenna

Thank you Dr. Stokes!

We have brainstormed quite a few options.

Virtual doesn’t seem like a great option as the crucial aspect of these experience is the interactive, hands-on nature of it. But given COVID, virtual may be our best bet to reach the largest audience. The silver lining of that could be if we created effective, interesting demos that translated well virtually, we could reach a much larger audience. We have also been hesitant to commit to this option simply due to lack of experience with virtual event planning. As more events and conferences like these are happening successfully, we will feel more confident in this option. (I am in fact taking notes on the logistics of today in case we choose this option!)

Other options we are considering include creating an IDEAS-on-the-go experience that our medical and graduate students could bring to local elementary schools or after-school programs. We have could create a science fair style set-up where classes rotate through the stations one at a time, limiting the number of people in the space. Our main concern with that is if our demo materials will become vectors of COVID. Two proposed solutions to that are to either create specific demonstrations that are visually exciting and interactive but do not involve physical touch or to potentially go to one classroom at a time with two weeks of ‘quarantine’ time for supplies, making this a yearlong volunteer opportunity. This would realistically limit the number of children who would get to participate, but it would expand the number of people who could volunteer.

As of now, the brainstorming continues! Our event is usually in the spring, so we still have some time! Our efforts recently have been focused on ensuring the succession of leadership, given than an entire year of medical and graduate students have not witnessed this event due to the March 2020 event being COVID-canceled.

Sandra Roerig

Amber, you’re looking at an important issue in this state
Do you have a hypothesis for your study?
SCR

Amber McKenna

Thank you Dr. Roerig!

We do have a hypothesis, a two-fold one actually, based on populations.

As our event is thought to be a pipeline program, we hypothesized children would be more interested in science and science-related careers after our event.
However, our event is also a pipeline program for educators, which our state needs desperately. We hypothesized volunteers would be more interested in teaching science in their careers after their experience teaching at this event.

Based on IDEAS Day 2019 survey results, both of these hypotheses were accepted. As such, our event can be considered to be a pipeline program. Limitations include the short-term nature of the intervention and the need for longitudinal data regarding participants’ and volunteers’ eventual career choices to confirm this as a pipeline program.

Sandra Roerig

thanks – you have put a lot of thought and energy into this project
unfortunately, I cannot read the small print on your poster, so I can’t determine what statistical analyses you have performed on your data – can you tell me what statistical tests you have used to analyze your data?
thanks
SCR

Sandra Roerig

Hi Amber
I think you sent me the reply to an earlier question – or there is some malfunction in the response process – can you tell me what statistical tests you used to analyze your data?
thanks

Amber McKenna

I think there may be a delay in responses becoming visible? I’ve copy/pasted my response below:

Thank you! Unfortunately, this is more legible when printed. I incorrectly thought viewers would be able to zoom on the poster, so I didn’t change the font size. My apologies.
For statistical analysis, we used a paired t-test as the survey responses were from the same population of participants and volunteers. Due to our relatively small sample size and skewed data from the participating populations, we did not achieve statistically significant results. We had planned for our 2020 event to include children from Caddo Parish attending as a field trip, and we anticipated this data would have statistical significance due to larger sample size and diminished sampling bias.

Sandra Roerig

got it this time – thanks
I hope you continue this important project

Amber McKenna

Great! Thank you!
Yes ma’am! We are currently in the revision stages of an article for Academic Medicine to share this concept with other medical schools to hopefully get more of these events established around the country. It is a fun event that is enjoyable to plan and teaches children and adults alike science and health concepts! Most of our demonstrations are linked to a medical concept (vaccines, healthy eating, cancer, brain injuries, etc) and this event allows these topics to be approachable for novel learners!

Amber McKenna

Thank you! Unfortunately, this is more legible when printed. I incorrectly thought viewers would be able to zoom on the poster, so I didn’t change the font size. My apologies.
For statistical analysis, we used a paired t-test as the survey responses were from the same population of participants and volunteers. Due to our relatively small sample size and skewed data from the participating populations, we did not achieve statistically significant results. We had planned for our 2020 event to include children from Caddo Parish attending as a field trip, and we anticipated this data would have statistical significance due to larger sample size and diminished sampling bias.

Amber McKenna

Thank you Dr. Stokes!
We have brainstormed quite a few options.

Virtual doesn’t seem like a great option as the crucial aspect of these experience is the interactive, hands-on nature of it. But given COVID, virtual may be our best bet to reach the largest audience. The silver lining of that could be if we created effective, interesting demos that translated well virtually, we could reach a much larger audience. We have also been hesitant to commit to this option simply due to lack of experience with virtual event planning. As more events and conferences like these are happening successfully, we will feel more confident in this option. (I am in fact taking notes on the logistics of today in case we choose this option!)

Other options we are considering include creating an IDEAS-on-the-go experience that our medical and graduate students could bring to local elementary schools or after-school programs. We have could create a science fair style set-up where classes rotate through the stations one at a time, limiting the number of people in the space. Our main concern with that is if our demo materials will become vectors of COVID. Two proposed solutions to that are to either create specific demonstrations that are visually exciting and interactive but do not involve physical touch or to potentially go to one classroom at a time with two weeks of ‘quarantine’ time for supplies, making this a yearlong volunteer opportunity. This would realistically limit the number of children who would get to participate, but it would expand the number of people who could volunteer.

As of now, the brainstorming continues! Our event is usually in the spring, so we still have some time! Our efforts recently have been focused on ensuring the succession of leadership, given than an entire year of medical and graduate students have not witnessed this event due to the March 2020 event being COVID-canceled.

Elizabeth Disbrow

Hi Amber,

What time of year do you do your event? We also have an educational event for kids called “Brain Awareness Week” that is funded through the society for neuroscience. I spoke a little to Megan Tinsley about teaming up, if our events are offset in time we could help man both programs and share ideas for hands on educational stations.

Amber McKenna

Hi Dr. Disbrow!
Typically our event is in the spring. We have experimented with timing (April 2017, February 2018, and March 2019) and March was seemingly going to be best and will likely be the month we continue to use. Of course, everything is in flux now, so we shall see what happens.

That would be wonderful!! Absolutely! One of our most popular demonstrations is our “Brain Tank,” which I believe stemmed from your event! We teach the importance of wearing helmets by having a raw egg in a tupperware container and getting the kids to shake the container. At this same table, we have brain and skull models as well as brain specimens. It is always a crowd favorite! I would love to hear more about SFN’s event and stations! If it is okay with you, I will let this year’s event directors know about this and have them email you?

Cassidy Blackburn

Hi Amber,

HAve you thought about creating small videos that you could provide to the classrooms (along with some supplies for certain activities) that way everyone could still see some cool science and maybe do some things at their desk?

Amber McKenna

I have not thought of that! I had thought of those ideas separately, but combining them makes so much sense!! Maybe even a video for the project, supplies for the classrooms, and a zoom session for any questions that students have afterwards? One important aspect of this event that we are struggling to translate to a virtual event is getting kids to see scientists who look like them. This would be a great solution to that! Thank you!