Page 72 - Winter2018
P. 72

“Listen Up! And Get Involved!”
 Figure 1. Acoustical Society of America (ASA) member Bonnie Schnitta discussing noise cancellation with Girl Scouts at the 173rd meeting in Boston, MA.
tact Keeta Jones if you have a demonstration you would like to bring to one or more of the upcoming meetings.)
The format for these outreach sessions has evolved over the years. For many years, Uwe Hansen, as part of the Education in Acoustics Committee, organized acoustics outreach at the national meetings, in which a middle-school class would at- tend his hands-on session. The initial Girl Scout outreach sessions (started in 2010) built on Uwe’s work. Around 2012, the WIAC joined forces with the Education in Acoustics Committee to revamp both of the outreach sessions (see Bradley, 2015 for more Education in Acoustics outreach ef- forts). Steps were taken to strengthen the pedagogical ap- proach, update the equipment, and increase the efficiency of both outreach sessions (see Vongsawad, 2014 for details). Since 2013, the two outreach sessions have had the same for- mat, discussed below. Currently, ASA Outreach and Educa- tion Coordinator Keeta Jones (2017) works with the WIAC to organize the “Listen Up! And Get Involved!” session, held one evening during the national meeting, and with the Edu- cation in Acoustics Committee to organize the daytime ses- sion for middle-school students.
As with any outreach event, publicity is required to find at- tendees. As “Listen Up! and Get Involved!” is primarily mar- keted toward Girl Scouts between the ages of 12 and 15, the local Girl Scout council is contacted at least 6 months before an upcoming ASA meeting to obtain approval and enlist their aid in spreading the word to local troops. When pos- sible, ASA members who have local Girl Scout connections
also help out. At the past two meetings, after the local Girl Scout chapters have registered for the session, additional invitations have been sent to home-school networks, after- school programs, and family event calendars to extend the reach of the event to more families in the area. The goal is to have 50 attendees. Once we have contacted these various groups, ASA member volunteers are recruited to run the demonstrations.
The “Listen Up! And Get Involved!” session involves more than interactive demonstrations. As the guests arrive, we play an entertaining, but homemade, video to get everyone excited and thinking about the sounds in their lives. After the video, our volunteers briefly introduce themselves by saying what area of acoustics they work in before the attend- ees visit each station in groups of 3 or 4 to spend about 5-7 minutes with each demonstrator. The session closes with an informal Q&A panel about education and careers in acous- tics. Participants also have a pizza lunch or dinner for the daytime and evening sessions, respectively. The overall re- sponse to the workshops has been very enthusiastic.
Over time, the “Listen Up! And Get Involved!” outreach ses- sion will continue to evolve. The Girl Scout local council will still be contacted and Girl Scouts encouraged to come, but the session will no longer be marketed only toward girls. Al- though it is true that women continue to be underrepresent- ed in the sciences, it doesn’t mean that we should deny the opportunity to learn for other underrepresented groups and interested parties. As an example of things that will likely be modified in the spirit of inclusion is the Girl Scout patch (see Figure 2), a kind of reward for participating because Girl Scouts tend to collect patches for all their activities. Howev- er, the presentation of a “Girl Scout” patch at the end of the outreach session can make other participants feel like they perhaps should not have attended. As such, the WIAC will consider replacing the patch with something more univer- sally collected, such as enamel pins.
Beyond reaching out to other specific underrepresented groups, it is also critical that we continue to maintain the quality of the stations. The stations have remained largely unchanged for seven years. Some equipment has been re- placed, but ideas for upgrading the stations should be ex- plored. For example, the voice and hearing stations could in- clude anatomical modals instead of laminated prints of the speech and hearing mechanisms. Another way to improve the educational component of the demonstrations is to add topics and align them to current educational system stan-
 70 | Acoustics Today | Winter 2018

   70   71   72   73   74