This month, Next Wave profiles an unconventional science career: educational outreach. What is educational outreach? Good question. And the exact answer depends on who you ask. Generally, people in educational outreach work to improve the general population's scientific knowledge. They may work in museums, at science centers, with children, or in the media.
Despite nearly universal complaints about low pay, virtually everyone working in outreach tells Next Wave that educational outreach is an extremely gratifying job. But "real" (read: paying) jobs in outreach are few and far between. Most people start out volunteering and then create their own positions once they have demonstrated their value to their employers.
So here's what we've got lined up for this special issue devoted to scientists in educational outreach. Anita Shaw, head of education at Techniquest, a science center in the United Kingdom, discusses her circuitous transition from the bench to outreach.
Catherine Aldridge, also from a science center in the United Kingdom called at-Bristol, discusses her daily routine as the development officer for the center. Angelica Workman, the regional director for Western Canada for Let's Talk Science, a Canada-wide science promotion and outreach association, reveals the secret to opening doors in outreach: volunteering. Andrew Post-Zwicker of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab explains why there's nothing as rewarding as changing someone else's life for the better. And we've got three other articles for our German readers, written in German with English summaries, discussing science outreach and communication issues specific to Germany.
Intrigued? Looking for more information? Or have you already decided to take the plunge into outreach? Then check out Melissa Mertl's helpful list of Web resources.