Arizona Science Center launches 'Young Science Correspondents' program

Arizona Science Center is exploring new opportunities for science learning and inspiration with the creation of a new and innovative program – Young Science Correspondents -- that is training eight Valley students to be science correspondents with the help of local journalists and science experts. These eight students, four from the Bioscience High School and four from Carl Hayden High School, are making the My Digital World Gallery and the CyberLab at Arizona Science Center their home this summer.

The Young Science Correspondents program introduces youth to science journalism through organized experiences and mentorship in science, journalism and media. Program goals are to inspire teenage youth – including the participating correspondents and those that they reach – and to introduce science into teen awareness throughout Arizona.

Supported by a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Arizona Science Center’s Young Science Correspondents program begins with a month long summer program this July plus monthly 3-hour workshops during the 10-month school year. Students are learning and using multi-media journalism to report the sciences and are responsible for researching, interviewing and producing at least one project per week during the month of July.

An impressive interview schedule has been set for this program that includes individuals from Wired magazine, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and ASU Biodesign Institute just to name a few. The students will also be taking trips to some of the top media and science locations throughout the valley such as The Arizona Republic, Know99 TV and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Now more than ever, Arizona’s young people need opportunities in which they can become actively engaged in the science around them, explore new ways that scientific discovery affects their world and discover new career opportunities. To create interest in young people, they need non-school environments where they can have authentic experiences and see real-world applications.

Arizona Science Center developed the Young Science Correspondents program to address concerns of leaders in Arizona who are committed to preparing a strong workforce. It addresses the need for a new generation of scientifically literate residents by experimenting with a new kind of science learning environment for English- and Spanish-speaking adolescents and young adults in our community.

Other youth journalism projects targeting teens in Arizona do exist but the Young Science Correspondents project is the first journalism program for teens that focuses on science topics and is led by a science center. This pilot project will create an innovative pedagogical, collaborative approach utilizing scientists, journalists, and informal educators teaching together that may be replicated at other informal learning centers.