A small group of graduate students in the sciences at Yale were feeling a disconnect between the resources at their disposal while on campus, and the experience of living in the surrounding neighborhoods of New Haven, Connecticut. Their plan to address this? Show up at community meetings in their neighborhoods, and listen to the priorities of their neighbors. Over time this led to invitations to participate in neighborhood gatherings, from backyard barbeques to block parties. In the fall of 2019, the team joined in the fun at the Dwight Fall Festival and had the chance to share their science with the neighbors they had met along the way. This site was part of a set of Science In Vivo awards emphasizing process over product.
Neighborhood connections and memories can span decades and generations. These deep ties forged by shared experiences over time shape a neighborhood’s identity. This is what gives neighborhood-level outreach such strong potential. It is also why neighborhood-level outreach ought to emphasize process over product. In many cases, integrating science experiences into neighborhood gatherings simply cannot be done without first taking the time to forge strong relationships and adjust to neighborhood priorities. And it is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in two Science In Vivo sites: SciCycle, and Science Haven. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.