Hey everyone, my name is Rachel Enggasser and I’m the girl behind the screen, creator of Upstate Citizen Science! I am currently a high school junior in Greenville, South Carolina, who leads a double life full of environmental conservation, citizen science, and education reform. Through all my work, I hope to spark a change in the way education, specifically concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are approached. I personally believe the best learning happens outside the classroom, where students have every opportunity to question the world around them, make observations, and search for answers that may not even exist yet. Citizen science is a great avenue for this, especially as something to get involved in as a family (rather than being driven by a teacher). It opens the channels for exploration (while maintaining some sense of purpose and structure), and plugs citizens in with the scientific community. Nothing else holds these kinds of implications- citizen science is truly unique!
Now, as I step off my soap box, I want to take a moment and explain how Upstate Citizen Science will be organized! You are going to notice four general classifications which are given to each post: Spotlight, Rachel’s Take, Workshop, and Student Profile. Here is a bit more to expect from each type:
Spotlight: Spotlight posts will mainly be used as a shout-out for different citizen science initiatives, specifically in the upstate. General information, such as the mission behind the initiative, cost, and what it takes to get connected can be expected, along with specific contact information for project leaders.
Rachel’s Take: Rachel’s Take posts encompass my thoughts on more general subjects pertaining to citizen science. Expect information that focusses less on the physical side of citizen science, but rather on the long term benefits of taking part, such as how the things you learn while participating can translate into other aspects of life, and the environmental impact you can have.
Workshop: Workshop posts will be the least common type on Upstate Citizen Science, since most of the ‘teaching’ moments will take place as a subtheme of other posts. That being said, workshops will be aimed at providing a crash course in a certain aspect of citizen science, such as how to obtain funding for independent projects or supplies, that will be useful as you expand your interests.
Student Profile: Student profile posts will be just that, a profile on environmentally conscious students and student-led groups from around the upstate. As a student myself, I can confidently say that recognition, especially for STEM-related accomplishments, is hard to come by. I strive to provide that kind of support for my peers.
Being ambitious, I have set a tough goal for myself regarding post frequency. I aim to post Monday/Friday and Wednesday on alternating weeks (for example, week one might have a Wednesday post and the following week will have Monday/Friday posts). If you have something you think might be interesting to Upstate Citizen Science’s readers please do not hesitate to go to the “contact” page and shoot me an email/give me a ring- I would love to interact as much as possible with those getting involved in citizen science around the upstate! With all that being said, I hope you enjoy reading and learn much!