This post has been updated.
Kindergarten through 12th grade educators can still register for the 10th annual SciREN Networking Fair scheduled for 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.
Organized by SciREN Coast, the free event at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores gives the opportunity for researchers to share with educators lesson plans as well as coordinate classroom visits, career talks and other collaboration plans.
SciREN, which stands for Scientific Research and Education Network, works to connect science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, researchers and educators to share current research and enhance science literacy, according to the website.
Educators can register online before the event. Organizers will email details such as schedules, a list of research attendees, and what to bring and expect before the fair.
Mollie R. Yacano is working on her doctorate at University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences. She told Coastal Review that SciREN is a graduate student-led organization that brings together researchers and educators.
“The goal of SciREN is to facilitate the creation and exchange of lesson plans developed by researchers that meet state grade standards and to foster future collaborations,” Yacano said.
Nontraditional educators with after school programs, home school educators are welcome to attend the networking fair, she added.
Yacano said that SciREN was started by graduate students at UNC-IMS in 2013 and Duke Marine Lab students joined the following year. It has now grown to include chapters in the Triangle, Georgia, San Diego and Virginia.
“I have been involved with SciREN since my first year at UNC in 2017, first as a researcher presenting a lesson plan and then as a member of the admin team,” Yacano said. “I was the lead logistics coordinator for our most recent in-person event held in February 2020, and I am so excited to get to see educators and researchers back in person this year.”
There is a team of around 10 graduate students from UNC-IMS and Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, as well as partners with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, who have hosted and supported the event since its inception.
“We hope this event will not only allow for the exchange of lesson plans, but to also foster relationships that will facilitate future collaboration,” Yacano said.
She added that there is plenty of space for more educators to attend the networking fair.
“We hope that this event will be a part of fostering meaningful relationships between educators and researchers beyond just the night of the event,” Yacano said.