Haven’t given too many work updates, so here’s one from the past week.
This week, I have been working further on old projects as well as continuing my usual work of producing small updates for the website.
Also, with a new design for the boardgame, we had another meeting to play and give it a test run. Unfortunately, the new board, while it’s very cool-looking, is actually a bit confusing in design. We never got around to playing, but instead made a list of suggestions for the designer. Hopefully, he’ll get back to us with an improved design next week, and we can attempt to play again. While we didn’t get to play, it did give opportunity for a good photo:
One for the CPGC booklet!
(Note to self: TAKE MORE PICTURES AT WORK! I know that part of my CPGC agreement was to have pictures of myself at my internship, but unfortunately, most of the time, I’m just sitting at a desk.)
Besides these smaller things, I’ve mostly been working on editing a proposal we’re writing to start a UNAWE program in the US. The program would begin with a bus that would travel from school to school, or community to community, bringing with it activities, teacher training workshops, and the UNAWE global network. Think of it like the Johnny Appleseed of astronomy education. Once we visit the schools, we hope to not only inspire the children we interact with, but also develop lasting connections with the educators.
The grant itslef is through Changemakers, which offers grants for all kinds of innovative social justice projects. We submit an application, and then starting on September 28, people can vote for our project. With funding from Changemakers, the UNAWE bus could be up and running as early as Stephanie’s January term! As it would be staffed by volunteer college students, (or unemployed college grads??), I would definitely be up for taking this bus on a tour someday!
In other news, I’ve been working pretty actively on my Watson Application. That’s right. I said it out loud, (OK, or in text). I usually refrain from admitting that I’m applying for the Watson because, well, I really really want to do it. I’ve been planning my Watson for the past year, and researching for my project is actually how I found UNAWE in the first place…
But first, let’s take a few steps back. If you don’t know what The Watson is, I urge you to look it up. Now. It’s a $25,000 grant to travel for one calendar year outside the US and explore any one question of your choice. It’s essentially the coolest fellowship in the entire world. Specifically, my project would entail going to Chile, India, New Zealand and Nepal to investigate how children perceive the Universe, and how their perceptions reflect the local cultural norms on education and science.
I’d always wondered about this children + astronomy + culture = ??? question, and when the one and only Maddie Kreider-Carlson was applying for her Watson two years ago, I started considering the project for myself. Last August, I was researching ideas of places to go for my project by googling “[insert-country-here]+children+astronomy” when I found UNAWE. Several months later, when I was feeling ambivalent about spending my summer doing astronomy research, I emailed the contact person on the UNAWE website and asked for a job, (any job, anywhere). 8 months later, and here I sit.
So, in the Netherlands, in the bits of free time I have, I work on my application. Tomorrow, I’ll meet with Pedro about it over coffee, and ask for his advice about how to connect with children in places where I don’t know anyone. He seems pretty interested in it, and I’m excited to talk with someone about the logistical details of my project…
And for my final update:
Gotta love that Dutch Weather! There is also no sunshine in the weather for apprx 2 weeks. I might cave and buy boots soon… Or a one-way ticket to southern Portugal…