Students in the Upward Bound summer session will also receive instruction in science communication and collaborative leadership, with an eye toward enabling engagement with their communities and with the public in general, and helping to mold them into future leaders.
The training will mesh with UAV training to reinforce the cognitive development of the spatial and temporal awareness needed to look at a complex problem, and the critical thinking and communication skills needed for strong and effective leadership.
Leadership training will be delivered through Educating for Leadership (E4L), an Alaska-based nonprofit that teaches student leadership through contextual learning. Instructors will teach students how to lead in a science context, including how to work with researchers from multiple labs, disciplines and campuses.
Students will be introduced to the range of different-sized research projects from single investigator to team-based programs, support required for large projects, and historical and future trends of research programs both at UAF and nationally. Instructors will engage students through interactive activities and lectures and provide them basic information and tools needed to understand the possible routes available to them in STEM fields, including college, graduate school and careers.
E4L instructors will lead four summer leadership training modules and will also organize leadership components to be taught by senior research investigators at the university with support from faculty in the Northern Leadership Center at the UAF School of Management.
Leadership modules will focus on
1) research basics;
2) science careers,
3) interdisciplinary science, and
4) working in large research teams.
Students will gain confidence in leading science investigations, learn to put basic communication skills to practice in research settings, and increase their awareness of the various roles and responsibilities of people involved in modern science programs.
Training will also include “team cabinet” exercises, in which students select a problem, brainstorm solutions and assign tasks. One major goal of the program will be teaching students to be cognizant of differences between traditional decision-making methods of villages and the Western model of making decisions.
Leadership curriculum will be closely intertwined with communication training, which will be delivered by a pair of experienced instructors in the field. Brett Dillingham is a Juneau-based consultant who has taught performance literacy and storytelling at schools across the globe. Dillingham has experience teaching for UAF Upward Bound and is also co-author of the textbook Performance Literacy Through Storytelling.
While Dillingham will instruct students on methods and skills for making presentations to the public, Fairbanks videographer Bud Kuenzli will teach them the basics of cinematography and video editing using iMovie. These skills will later be used by students to produce a series of videos about the Modern Blanket Toss projectwhich will be shared with the other schools in the project (through technology supplied by the GCI SchoolAccess Network and CILC) and with the broader community.
Students will also have multiple opportunities to present their research in person, including at Alaska EPSCoR annual meetings and at the final project workshop