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From Hashtag to High School: How Viral Tweets Are Inspiring Young Scientists To Embrace STEM

    Authors: Jocelyn E. Swift1, Brian Lovett2, Christine E. Koltermann1, Chelsey L. Beck1, Matt T. Kasson2,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA 95112; 2: Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 06 April 2020 Accepted 09 August 2020 Published 12 November 2020
    • ©2020 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: G103 South Agricultural Sciences Building, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506. Phone: 304-293-8837. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. November 2020 vol. 21 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i3.2133
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    Abstract:

    Social media is an increasingly important professional tool for scientists. In particular, scientists use their social media profiles to communicate science and build communities with like-minded scientists and nonscientists. These networks include journalists who can amplify social media science communication, disseminating it to new audiences on- and offline. Our experience with an outreach project where Peeps marshmallows were inoculated with diverse fungi, which we called #FungalPeeps, has demonstrated that these networks can be an effective conduit between researchers and high school students. Following popular science journalism, #FungalPeeps, a project initiated at West Virginia University, inspired a mycology research project in Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California. Herein, we describe how this connection between academia, journalists, and the high school classroom happened, and how everyone involved benefited from this educational collaboration. We further suggest ways that modern social media networks could be leveraged to incorporate more such practical learning experiences into progressive science curricula to better cultivate young STEM scientists.

References & Citations

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2. Klein J 2019 Drugged, castrated, eager to mate: the lives of fungi-infected cicadas New York Times June 28 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/28/science/cicadas-fungus-butts.html
3. Klein J 2019 Injecting marshmallow Peeps with fungi, for science New York Times March 29 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/science/marshmallow-peeps-fungus.html
4. Carpenter S 2019 Peep Ye, Peep Ye! Announcing the winners of the world’s finest science-themed peeps diorama contest! The Open Notebook April 17 https://www.theopennotebook.com/2019/04/17/peep-ye-peep-ye-announcing-the-winners-of-the-worlds-finest-science-themed-peeps-diorama-contest/
5. Dahl JL, Gatlin W 2018 A microbiology teaching lab: using Koch’s postulates to determine the cause of “peep pox” in marshmallow Peeps Am Biol Teach 80 676 679 10.1525/abt.2018.80.9.676 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/abt.2018.80.9.676
6. Perez R, Luccioni M, Kamakaka R, Clamons S, Gaut N, Stirling F, Adamala KP, Silver PA, Endy D 2020 Enabling community-based metrology for wood-degrading fungi Fungal Biol Biotechnol 7 2 10.1186/s40694-020-00092-2 32206323 7081594 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40694-020-00092-2
7. Spaceweather.com 2014 Peep-o-nauts take risky trip to the edge of space Time Machine April 23 https://spaceweather.com/archive.php?day=23&month=04&year=2014&view=view
8. Ciric L 2019 Candida auris: the new superbug on the block BBC News August 17 https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49170866
9. Greshko M 2019 Amphibian “apocalypse” caused by most destructive pathogen ever National Geographic Magazine March 28 https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/03/amphibian-apocalypse-frogs-salamanders-worst-chytrid-fungus/
10. Rust S 2017 Teaching science with the “Trilobites” column New York Times May 24 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/learning/lesson-plans/teaching-science-with-the-trilobites-column.html
11. Fisher N 2020 Have questions about science? Skype a scientist – It’s now that easy Forbes Sept. 30 https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2020/09/30/have-questions-about-science-skype-a-scientistits-now-that-easy/#1de0bcff3ccd
12. Darr M, Hulcr J, Eickwort J, Smith J, Hubbard W, Coyle D 2020 Meet them where they are: Facebook as a natural resource extension tool J Ext in press
13. Emken T 2020 #RedbirdProud Social Media Award winners announced News Illinois State University April 14 https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2020/04/redbirdproud-social-media-award-winners-announced/

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2020-11-12
2020-12-03

Abstract:

Social media is an increasingly important professional tool for scientists. In particular, scientists use their social media profiles to communicate science and build communities with like-minded scientists and nonscientists. These networks include journalists who can amplify social media science communication, disseminating it to new audiences on- and offline. Our experience with an outreach project where Peeps marshmallows were inoculated with diverse fungi, which we called #FungalPeeps, has demonstrated that these networks can be an effective conduit between researchers and high school students. Following popular science journalism, #FungalPeeps, a project initiated at West Virginia University, inspired a mycology research project in Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California. Herein, we describe how this connection between academia, journalists, and the high school classroom happened, and how everyone involved benefited from this educational collaboration. We further suggest ways that modern social media networks could be leveraged to incorporate more such practical learning experiences into progressive science curricula to better cultivate young STEM scientists.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Initial #FungalPeeps viral thread (A), including the Peeps brand engagement (B) and final updates (C).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. November 2020 vol. 21 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i3.2133
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Data and images generated from the investigation of . (A) Aaverage colony width measurements on PDA supplemented with 1 to 10% potassium sorbate, with no potassium sorbate as a control. Error bars indicate standard errors. Lettering indicates groups with significant differences (<0.05; Student’s -test), comparing individuals (=3), and the pink dashed line indicates the maximum width of the plate (6.25 cm). (B) Final observation of an sample grown with a 1% potassium sorbate treatment for 2 weeks. (C) Representative photograph of microscopic features (sporangia and sporangiospores) applicable for identifying .

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. November 2020 vol. 21 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i3.2133
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