Dayton Martindale, 2015, Astrophysical Sciences

The Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs, formed through Mpala Research Centre’s ties with local schools, are experiential after-school sessions that teach children basic biology and Earth science. For six weeks I stayed at Mpala and helped teach these classes, engaging in interactive lessons that included games, artistic projects, and experiments. Once I had returned to Princeton, I took what I learned to help develop a modified Conservation Club curriculum for U.S. classrooms. We had to adapt to America’s science standards, as well as make the lesson plans accessible to an audience that sees more deer than zebras. While I am majoring in astrophysics, I’m interested in science communication more broadly. This was a beautiful opportunity for me to explore a science I haven’t focused on as much at Princeton, and share it with others in a fun and accessible way. The focus on pressing environmental issues gave the work special social significance, making it particularly meaningful. I am more committed than ever to spreading science to people all over the world, and in so doing perhaps aid the creation of a just and sustainable society.